Friday HighlightDec 11 2020

How tech will improve advice process

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How tech will improve advice process
Credit: ThisIsEngineering/Pexels

Technology can improve every element of the advice process: enhancing client onboarding, speeding up reviews and helping reassure clients when the market moves in the wrong direction.

The holy grail for many businesses is to have a single supplier for all elements of their tech requirements. 

The theory is that if every element of the system is from the same supplier, then each element will talk to the other and provide a more efficient solution than separate systems from best-of-breed suppliers.

In practice, this leads to an inefficient back office and low adoption from your clients.

There are lots of elements an advice company needs to get right from a tech perspective, such as workflow and customer relationship management, income reconciliation and cash flow planning.

Not unsurprisingly, the area that will have the biggest impact on your business is the client experience. They want a great experience and any tech you deliver them needs to be complementary to your service.

Clients are using all kinds of tech to help make their everyday lives easier. 

All companies need two basic building blocks to their tech infrastructure, then they can use other tech to fill in the gaps to create the most efficient process for them. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. 

One building block is an efficient back office to ensure that all work is captured, monitored and measured. 

Correctly configured, it is an efficient to-do list which allows you to monitor that everything that needs doing, is done.

However, your back office efficiency will be seriously hampered if you cannot bring your clients into the loop with an app to access your services.

If you can get your clients using your app, it provides a secure delivery mechanism to instantly deliver your letters, meeting notes and reports.

Better than special delivery

Both you and your client would get a complete record of all correspondence so there is never any doubt what was said.

The secret to adoption is effective communication. Let your clients know why you are moving future correspondence through your app.

Think of it like auto-enrolment. Do not make the mistake of asking your clients if they want your app. Give it to them, complete with their managed investments and paperwork and, if they have a genuine reason not to use it, allow them to opt out.

For the app to get used by your client, it must be the way you always communicate: you cannot sometimes email or post and sometimes deliver stuff via your portal.

If you must use the post for a wet signature, then ensure a notification goes to your client’s app to tell them to expect written paperwork. When they return it, scan a copy for their records back to their app.

Start at the beginning

Introduce your portal right from the start of the client journey. 

Your portal provides the all-important audit trail of what you have said to your client and what instructions they have accepted. The back office ensures you do not miss things that need to be done.

Together they will enable you to take advantage of all the tech available.

For flexibility, data management and the best client experience, the most important consideration is to have a portal that is not tied to your back office.

Remote working has made advisers, providers and platforms focus on better ways to get things done.

There has been a huge increase in the use of virtual meetings and e-signatures, driven by the need for efficient communication both with staff and with clients.

We no longer always work at a desk, so this communication needs to be available as an app for our smartphones and tablets. 

Clients are now used to communicating digitally, so it is a natural step for advisers to implement an app to enable secure messaging and document sharing.

As client use of tech increases, this leads to the demand for tech to better support advisers. 

No other tech change improves a company’s efficiency in the same way as a well-implemented digital strategy.

Responses are quicker as there is no paper to deal with and the efficiency savings for the company should cover the cost within the first year. 

Companies do not need to replace their back office to get these savings.

Sim Sangha is a business development director at Moneyinfo