As digital becomes the new ‘normal’, the primary challenge for businesses in the financial services industry will be around personalisation. A financial adviser can no longer take a trip down the M1 and sit in someone's living room with a cup of tea and biscuits all afternoon. Equally, the prospect of lengthy Zoom calls - which may yield no sales - is off-putting for prospects and your team, alike.
Technology has the potential to bring people together, and indeed it has, especially over the past year. The internet is all about the connection of experiences, information and people. But at times, it can have the reverse effect, the deluge of content and information can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing.
We believe that the advice businesses which most intelligently embrace technology are those that will provide the most 'human' experience. And new market entrants have a once in a decade opportunity to leapfrog the competition by designing a personalised customer journey for the 'new digital normal'.
There are many options out there for digital businesses to maintain their human touch and they all centre around the idea of personalisation.
It is still a work in progress; anyone who has had to explain their problem to a voice recognition bot, on a customer services call, to an internet provider, can tell you that there is still a long way to go!
All the same, the industry is moving forward in many ways. Deploying a conversational platform on your website is a compelling way that you can improve your customer journeys. Such an interface can be used as the first point of a contact with a customer or prospect, to determine their needs and suggest the most appropriate service.
For advice customers, an on-screen conversational platform can help to expand an advice firm's offering, helping you understand your prospects' primary pain points, capture customer data and triage them down the most appropriate guidance or advice route - human or digital. This in turn can reduce the cost to serve, and make financial advice available to new customer groups who are lower down the wealth chain.
To the customer, by mimicking and having the flexibility of a conversation, it can help to solve the simplest (and some complex) needs, at a time to suit the individual, and without having to wait in a queue to speak to a real human being.
For more complex advice cases, automated technologies can help to save hours of needless fact finding and administration, by gathering key information on your prospects and clients, before they speak with an adviser, as well as huge time savings through automation in gaining quotations and preparing suitability reports.
By 'powering-up' an adviser with relevant technology, you are enabling them to save time on key parts of the advice process, better suited to technology, and thus freeing up this time to spend better understanding customer needs. As a result, technology provides the opportunity for advisers to spend MORE time with the customer by automating these key areas of financial planning.
To create a human touch requires careful consideration of the customer journey, and building the right technology stack around those needs. Now is the time to seize this opportunity to address customer service in this new digital ‘normal’.