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Hybrid planning can transform your business

Ben Goss

Ben Goss

Last year, when I switched to an electric car, I was told: “We prefer you to configure it online, then come in and discuss it with one of our consultants.” 

When I arrived at the dealership we went through the spec I had created using their 3D configurator online with a consultant using an iPad, clarified a few questions, made a few tweaks and the job was done.

I had done much of the thinking from the comfort of my sofa and researched the different options and pricing online. Very transparent – no pressure selling, which is good as I am not an expert – and I felt in control.

Last week I went to the dentist. I checked my health ‘fact find’ online before leaving and when I arrived at the practice the receptionist had all my information. The dentist had it while doing her check-up and so too did the hygienist in the room. The visit was smooth and efficient – and no fillings!

This week I had a GP check-up, the 15-minute appointment was over the phone and during the call she texted me a link to a video to watch based on our discussion to learn more about a particular topic.

The hybrid service experience – digital, over the phone and face-to-face by video or in person – has been catapulted into the mainstream as a result of social distancing and is making service delivery more accessible, more engaging and more efficient for consumers. Chatting to the dealer, the dentist and the GP, they liked it too.

The people they served were more informed, more engaged and they could serve more of them.

So how is the hybrid service experience likely to play out in financial planning and what are the opportunities and challenges? Hybrid servicing is clearly here already, at least in part.

More and more businesses are encouraging online fact-finding and risk-profiling and most are encouraging clients to use a portal to complete at least some of their 'know your client' process.

During lockdown remote client servicing has been widely adopted with video calls and growing amounts of screensharing. But this current use of technology is only in the foothills of what the future holds, I believe.

If you look at hybrid best practice in the UK and around the world now, it increasingly is built around the concept of an ‘always on’ financial plan.

The digital plan, based on the client’s risk profile and goals, is continuously updated with valuations and is enabling dramatic enhancements to company propositions, operating models and client relationships. In leading companies, advisers and clients co-create the plan and engage around it on screen via video or, when needed, in person.

The client may well have completed data collection on their own beforehand. Businesses are providing generic videos to clients to educate them on topics such as drawdown before meeting, and regular short, sharp video check-ins enable ‘what ifs’ and course corrections in pursuit of client objectives during the year.