In wealth management, client experience matters.
Do it well and your clients will be more loyal – and more open to the new investment ideas that you present to them. And, of course, they will be more likely to refer you to others.
But this cuts both ways – as when you neglect your client experience you neglect your clients, which will make them feel undervalued and make them more likely to switch to your competition. And you certainly won’t be getting many referrals.
But what does good client experience actually mean in the digital age? What do you have to do to give your clients what they are looking for and make them feel valued?
In this white paper, we’ll look at how digital techniques can help you redefine and improve your client experience.
And our starting point is your website…
Make Your Website Work For Your Clients
What does your website actually do?
Does it tell prospective clients about where you are based, who’s in your team, and how you can help their money to grow?
Very possibly, and quite rightly – as these are the sort of questions that people are asking when they are thinking of trusting you with their money. So, as the first stage in the client acquisition process, your website needs to answer them.
But what about your existing clients – those who already trust you with their money?
They already know the answer to these questions. So – if your website is ‘brochureware’ that’s designed just to interest prospects – then it serves no purpose for them.
But it shouldn’t be this way, as digital allows you to set up a client portal within your website that boosts the client experience by giving people a snapshot of the current state of their holdings.
The days of having to rely on a pack in the post – or a face to face review – for an account update are fast disappearing. Today’s investors want real-time, digital access to their accounts so they can check-in at any point and find information they can easily access and engage with.
The benefit of this is easy to see – as with just a few clicks, it allows your clients to see if their investments are on the right path, or if they need to make a course correction.
But a client portal must be easy and intuitive to use. People are increasingly used to fast, integrated and interactive sites in other sectors – and they are now demanding the same from their wealth managers.
Provide this and you give your clients what they want and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Concentrate On Your Communication
Communication is vital in the wealth management sector. That much is obvious, as your clients need and want to be kept informed about what’s happening with their money.
But the digital age brings with it a new generation of clients who are demanding more and better communication from wealth managers, so you must also be able to communicate with your clients on an individual basis, so they are getting information and support that is specific to their own situation and account.
And it’s easier than ever to do this, as the number of communication channels has exploded. Whereas thirty years ago there was only the option of phone, post and face to face meetings, technical advances mean you can contact clients in any number of ways – both en masse and one to one.
The fact is that events and meetings are increasingly moving online, which has obvious repercussions for how you deliver your client experience. Face to face meetings and events are no longer the necessity they once were – the same things can be done via video calls and webinars. For instance, it’s no longer necessary to expect someone to travel to an office for an account review, as it can be done just as easily via a video chat combined with real-time document sharing. Equally, events and talks can be replicated online via a webinar
This is behavioural change that will soon establish itself as the new normal. And the coronavirus pandemic speeded up this process, as firms have been forced – whether they like it or not – to explore digital communication options.
Learn To Deliver Bad News Better
The theme of communication dovetails neatly with one that wealth managers often get wrong – how to deliver bad news to clients.
How you handle the inevitability of bad news speaks volumes about how you view the client experience.
Too many firms still put the onus on the client to contact them when there has been a market crash or something similar. Or, they simply leave it until the next annual review, which could be weeks or months later, to talk the client through what has happened and what it means for their holdings.
This is not good for client experience. There is no point in hiding or ignoring bad news. Instead, opting to flag it as soon as possible – and explaining context and causes, along with any action you’re taking to help the situation – paints you in a much better light.
Again, digital helps you here. You can keep clients abreast of the situation in a general way, through social, email, web posts etc. But you can also offer more individual support, through video meetings with clients, so you can have a conversation about what the problem means for them specifically and how you are handling it.
Develop Your Thought Leadership Content
Thought leadership is the type of content that provides expert views on pertinent topics. When you introduce it into your marketing mix, you provide help and guidance to your clients, which will strengthen the bond of trust you have with them and improve the client experience.
To do its job properly, this type of content needs to be a considered opinion – rather than anything that is self-promotional. It is not a sales tool, so you shouldn’t refer to your own products or service unless it is particularly relevant to the point you are trying to get across.
Instead, thought leadership is there to help your clients understand a certain situation – e.g. Brexit or trade barriers – and what it means for their money. This isn’t to say you have to portray yourself as having a solution to the problem. In fact, being humble can help, as it is your expert opinion that matters – rather than a blind ‘my way is the right way’ approach to a problem.
You can distribute your thought leadership content through your website. But not everyone will read it there, so it’s a good idea to also link to your articles through social media posts, and send them out to your marketing database through email.
Also, don’t just rely on the written word, as not everybody has the time or inclination to read thought leadership content and would be happier watching or listening to it instead. So, try different formats – such as webinars, podcasts and videos – as this will draw more clients in.
And, with all your thought leadership content, you should try and engage with readers and viewers, by encouraging feedback and comments. The more of a community and following you can build around your thought leadership content, the better as – where your clients are concerned – it makes them feel included and valued.
Invest In Outreach
For your client experience to really expand and prosper, you need to be popping up in places that your clients don’t necessarily expect to find you.
In short, you need to build a strong and persistent digital presence – as your clients and others are increasingly looking for wealth management information online. This means you need to appear on searches – organic and paid – across both search engines and social channels.
But the mistake that’s often made is to have an outreach strategy that’s sporadic, at best. And, at worst, is pursued for a few months and then consigned to the marketing dustbin.
Digital outreach can’t be something you dip in and out of. For it to have any effect, you need to put your brand out there consistently and regularly, so both existing and potential clients can find you easily and are reassured by your presence.
Ask Your Clients What They Want
Before you put any of the above into action, you need to answer an important question:
What sort of experience do your clients actually want?
And to answer that, you need their views.
This may sound like an obvious point, but all too often client experience initiatives are based on what firms think clients will want – or on the evidence of secondary sources. This can be dangerous, especially if you need to make big investments in new technology.
The fact is that clients will tell you what they want – you just have to ask them and listen to them. Sending out a questionnaire, which asks them directly what they are looking for and how your service could be improved, is a good start.
But you can also look at client communications, and listen in to your relationship managers on client calls, to understand the sort of issues that are arising around client experience. What questions are they asking? What vocabulary are they using? Which services matter most to clients? And are there any service failures that are being flagged up, but aren’t currently being dealt with?
All this research will reveal vital observations about what your clients want, which you can then use to redesign and improve your client experience.
In today’s wealth management industry, the client experience is both more important and more multi-faceted than ever before.
But this should be seen as a blessing, rather than a curse – as if you get it right you will differentiate yourself from the competition.
As a wealth manager, by understanding this and acting upon it, you will create a client experience that differentiates you from your competition and helps you both to retain and attract money.
If you want to find out how ProFundCom can help you use digital marketing to raise assets schedule a demo here