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COVID-19 has been a curate’s egg for financial services. Occasionally buoyant markets and strong results in some sectors, balanced with significant shifts in operating models and sharply accelerated client expectations.
Many FS firms are grappling with what the best way to reinvent themselves is in order to stand out from their competitors. The move to digital communication as a result of the pandemic is making it more difficult for advisors and relationship managers to meet clients where they are and to stay relevant with their audiences.
In addition, more challenger brands are beginning to reach the point of breaking even, further increasing the level of competition in the industry and making it harder for firms to cut through the noise.
If that wasn’t enough, client expectations are also shifting in line with the accelerated level of digitisation across the industry and beyond. Clients are expecting firms to personalise and tailor every interaction to their needs.
As a result, advisors and relationship managers are having to rapidly pivot to a different way of working. Those that want to truly make an impact must embrace a new approach and the right technologies that enable them to effectively engage with clients virtually in this new era.
Schwab’s latest RIA benchmarking survey illustrates the digital shift that is continuing to accelerate across an industry that has traditionally been slower to adopt new technologies. More than three-quarters (77%) of top performing advisors now use virtual client meetings, while 75% use screen sharing or co-browsing capabilities and 41% communicate with clients via text.
As well as the impact of Covid-19, this shift has largely been driven by clients – who are more demanding than ever and have higher expectations. Clients are expecting to receive tailored and personalised insights at every step of their buying journey. They are simply not interested in receiving content and emails that don’t address their specific needs.
Generic content is no longer good enough. Firms must show that they understand what is keeping their clients up at night and what matters to them. Advisors and relationship managers must deliver content that resonates at a more personal level than ever before.
The good news is that there is a solution. Delivering personalised experiences enabled by digital platforms and data-driven processes allows advisors and relationship managers to stand out in times of heightened competition. By driving more meaningful interactions with clients and prospects, firms can become more productive and effective.
In order to provide the level of detailed financial counsel clients now expect, advisors and relationship managers must find ways to consistently provide highly-tailored engagements at scale. This will promote deeper connections and quicker transactions.
For example, intelligent content management platforms can provide advisors and relationship managers with messages that are proven effective at the given buying stage and customer profile. Powered by data analytics, these platforms can deliver proactive, just-in-time recommendations for specific sales situations. This might include surfacing competitive information based on the competitors the prospect has been evaluating, or providing specific content recommendations to handle the most likely objections.
Such insights will empower advisors to tailor outreach to a clients’ specific challenges and concerns, and prioritise the relevant information at the right time – all while protecting the brand and maintaining compliance. The result? More relevant and meaningful interactions that foster a superior client experience.
These platforms can also remove a lot of the pressure that relationship managers and advisors are under. They can automate the personalisation process by pulling together customised content for meetings and pitches, removing hours of unnecessary manual work. Advisors will be able to access the exact content they need when they need it, in turn increasing their productivity and effectiveness.
Ultimately, tailoring client interactions at scale is the holy grail for financial services firms – from asset and wealth management through to banking and insurance. Indeed, success now comes down to how effectively and consistently firms are able to connect with clients through personalised content and experiences.
By enhancing their ability to build deeper and more meaningful client relationships, underpinned by personalised content and content engagement data, advisors and relationship managers will be able to continue delivering a white glove service in the world of virtual selling.