Delivering A Modern Client Experience

The sum of everything we need to do in the world today is at our fingertips.

Need to get somewhere? Call a car from an app.

Want to buy groceries? Throw everything in a virtual cart and never leave your couch.

Need a prescription from a doctor for a cold that won’t go away? Don’t bother heading to urgent care. Get a video chat with a remote doctor and get it done in minutes.

All of this underscores one huge point: If consumers can’t do it from their phones, they’re more likely not to do something than to inconvenience themselves in other ways.

For advisory firms, this is a brave new world to be a part of—and not one that’s entirely comfortable. We’ve been in the industry of gathering around the conference table with snacks and drinks. High touch has always been meant literally—with handshakes and hugs in the office.

Even before COVID-19 transformed relationships, though, wealth management was shifting away from an environment where interactions only happened a few times a year in person.

And now today in an ever-evolving world that changes by the minute, that old world of suites and ties and ballpoint pens isn’t realistic for the average investor.

They can open an account on Wealthfront and Robinhood in 60 seconds—so why should they bother coming to your office to sign paperwork and wait a week for their account, or a month for their financial plan?

Transparency is necessary, but more than that, investors want immediate access to their advisors. And if they’re trusting you with all of their life’s finances, why shouldn’t that be the expectation?

Keep in mind: This isn’t a generational issue. My mom signs up for e-delivery because she doesn’t like the inconvenience of paper mail. My dad spends his days on Twitter. Both of them are well within the target market for the average wealth advisor.

If you’re going to provide a modern client experience within your RIA, you have to do things differently than you’ve done before.

In today’s article, I’m going to show you where to start.

4 Steps to Create a Stand Out Client Experience

In a 24/7 news cycle, your main concern should be accessibility. That doesn’t mean being on the clock at all hours, though; instead, it means that you give clients ways to see their information and remain confident in your recommendations, even when you aren’t around.

To that end, you can use technology to augment your advice and create a client experience that generates loyalty instead of skepticism, even during turbulent times.

Here are the four best ways to get started.

  1. Define Your Brand Story
    What’s your firm’s unique value proposition? In other words, what makes you ultra valuable to the people who work with you? Is it that you’re hyper-focused on the latest in investment trends and build custom portfolios for each person? Or are you focused on risk tolerance and communicating with clients expectations based on those assumptions?Whatever it is, you will set yourself apart from other advisors simply by being able to communicate your value in a clear, simple, and concise way. Knowing your value is the first step to creating a client experience that supports how you want your clients to think about the markets and their portfolios in a way that aligns with your own perspective.
  2. Use a Captivating Client Portal
    Once you have your firm’s value proposition set, the first technology solution you focus on should be focused on your clients (not your internal operations). By focusing on clients first, you’re guaranteeing that you position your firm toward prioritizing their experience and giving them what they need to be successful.I recommend that you begin with a Client Portal. You want something that’s easily accessible, user friendly, and can display the data that’s relevant to your unique value proposition. For example, if your brand story revolves around the importance of risk management, you don’t want to choose a client portal that doesn’t put risk tolerance information front and center.
  3. Choose a multi-purpose solution
    A modern client experience should be easy on investors. Putting three or four different logins in front of them is confusing and unnecessary given the level of integration available among RIA technology solutions today.And for some reason, advisors continue to do it.Don’t be one of those advisors who makes it hard on your clients. If you want to streamline your client reporting, quarterly statements, and client communication, you need to get serious about choosing a solution that can do it all for you in one place.
  4. Understand your technology
    Powerful technology is great to have, but don’t sacrifice power for usability.Here’s the rule of thumb for any technology you choose to support your client experience: If you can’t figure it out, you can bet your clients won’t bother spending their precious time to figure it out either.During your vetting process, be sure to look at your technology with the end user (your client) in mind. It’s going to be up to you to educate your clients on the technology experience you provide, and you’re going to have to know it backwards and forwards before you push your technology solutions out to them.If any of your client technology solutions aren’t enjoyable for you to use, you don’t need to keep them around for clients either.

How Your RIA Improves When You Make These Changes (and What Happens If You Don’t)

As a whole, the wealth management industry is notoriously outdated. For starters, look at how long it took the SEC to update its advertising rules to account for the advent of social media (more than a whole decade after social media began to dominate daily life and consumer communication preferences).

On the outside, it can seem like there are glamorous elements due to the dated ideas of wealth managers residing in offices of mahogany and gold, but that perception is quickly shattered when an investor walks into an office to endure hours of paperwork to transfer their existing retirement accounts.

Putting technology at the center of your client experience, though, helps you bypass those possible negative experiences and gives you an immediate differentiator against the advisors who refuse to update their client management processes.

If a competing advisor across town still relies on paper methods and in-person interactions alone, you can immediately grab both the retiree audience and next-gen investors by offering them a more transparent and cleaner way to work with your firm.

Not enough advisory firms question their technology to make sure it’s up to date with modern consumer expectations. And too often when firms do decide to analyze their technology, they fail to understand how they can maximize its use among clients.

Every business, no matter its industry, is at risk of losing future and current clients if it doesn’t keep up with modern trends.

But that’s especially true for today’s wealth advisors, who are in a precarious position with what’s known as the Great Wealth Transfer.

A total of $68 trillion is expected to transfer from one generation to another over two decades. If your firm’s client experience doesn’t keep up, you could lose assets to children inheriting money and lose staff who want to work with a more forward-thinking business.

Thankfully, those are risks you don’t have to take, because you have the blueprint for how to improve your client experience and keep clients engaged and delighted with your firm’s service.

Looking for a simple way to get started?

The WeatlhPlan TAMP brings best-in-class technology solutions to you. Get much more than access to award-winning portfolios. Get immediately onboarded to technology tools, like Orion Advisor Tech, that will enhance your client experience and offer an enhanced client portal to your clients in just weeks.

Click here to get started.

By Sarah Mclean, Director of Strategic Development

Posted in