Wealth Dynamix CEO Gary Linieres recently asked me, what one piece of advice would you give to a wealth manager for 2020 success? The article below is my response, which features in the latest e-book by Wealth Dynamix. Click here to get your copy of the full e-book. Hope you enjoy the article!
Turn Inside Out to Deliver Exceptional Client Servicing. The 2020 Must-Win Battle.
Why would service delivery not be the focus for any wealth manager in 2020? As soon as Capgemini’s 2019 World Wealth Report announced that 91% of HNWIs consider service quality to be an essential wealth management selection criterion, this became a must-win battle for every wealth manager across the globe.
It may sound obvious, but exceptional service is – and always has been – the pinnacle of wealth management success. Your ability to deliver high-quality personalisation and performance, not only at one stage of the process but throughout the entire client lifecycle, is paramount.
Many wealth management firms have embraced digital transformation in an attempt to improve client experience at lower cost to the firm, while others have been slower to respond. Whichever end of the spectrum you lie, the time has come to realign your technology spend with the areas of your business that will have the greatest impact on client service.
Some firms have excelled at digital and mobile onboarding, and are delivering exceptional service in that single part of the process. Unfortunately, their efforts to revolutionise client service across the board are still failing because they are funding improvements in just one aspect of the client lifecycle and failing to address others.
Why? Because wealth managers, like many other firms, are organised around vertical hierarchical structures. Each vertical pillar has a different business owner addressing their own piece of the puzzle in different ways, at different rates, in isolation – from initial engagement through to onboarding and ongoing client relationship management. Unsurprisingly the resulting patchwork of systems and processes has made it harder to adapt and enhance, let alone transform, the client experience.
Instead, wealth managers must adopt a horizontal, end-to-end approach to the lifecycle that is holistic and client centric. A client-centric view can be developed by conducting a collaborative set of client journey mapping workshops, which cover the breadth of the lifecycle. With a clear view of where technology supports these journeys, wealth managers can avoid adding to the siloes.
The need for change is long overdue. But today, according to a WealthBriefing survey, just 25% of firms have fully integrated systems that span the entire client lifecycle. And it is worrying to note that 37% of wealth managers are stalled in the earliest stages of leveraging technology, which can only lead to disenchanted clients and AUM attrition.
Consider this from your clients’ perspective. If your initial engagement with them is sub-standard they may never choose to experience your exceptional onboarding process. If they get that far, and then find that onward client servicing is clunky and inefficient, they may regret their decision and take their business elsewhere.
No one-size-fits-all approach will suffice. The only answer is to turn your firm inside out, adopt a horizontally aligned outlook across the entire client lifecycle and map your clients’ goals and the journeys they must take to reach them onto your business processes and systems. Combine this with an agile technology infrastructure that can accommodate all requirements, and you will have a winning formula.
Of course, it would be unrealistic to digitally transform the entire client lifecycle in one go. So, prioritise areas of the business that have greatest impact on client service and costs, and reduce disparity of client experience across the client lifecycle. Find the sweet spots that reduce friction for both clients and relationship managers, increase internal collaboration, optimise personalized engagements and support omni-channel client communications.
In 2020, horizontal thinking and lifecycle-wide collaboration must become part of your firm’s DNA. Your business depends on it. Thankfully, we are beginning to see new, senior-level job roles emerging with a cross functional focus and the remit to secure business owner buy-in throughout the entire client lifecycle. Progress of this kind is mission-critical to avoid a siloed approach that lacks visibility and fails to deliver results for the client.
Your clients and RMs neither know nor care about the technology that underpins client servicing – their sole focus is on achieving the client’s goals in a manner that is as frictionless and cost-effective as possible. The first step for firms to take in 2020 is to fully understand those goals and client journey mapping is the technique to achieve that… the underpinning technology is the second step. So, get it right and you will prosper.
By Dominic Snell, Director of Consulting, Wealth Dynamix