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The best of both worlds: how digital tools can enhance client relationships


It’s no wonder that digital transformations at most financial institutions are daunting – they have a lot to live up to. Investors are comparing and assessing their financial partners to their daily online experiences with Facebook, Apple or Amazon. For starters, clients expect their interactions to be accessible, intuitive, and available 24/7. They want to connect with their advisor and their investments at any time and on any channel – effortlessly and seamlessly. And they are more than willing to find another financial partner who will provide them with these baseline customer experiences.

If relationship managers are going to provide this seamless, immediate experience their customers are accustomed to, it’s essential to have an engaging omni-channel strategy that delivers advice and investment products the way they expect. Now for an industry that has served customers for decades in person and by phone, this can represent a massive overhaul of legacy systems and silos. But it’s important to remember that while customers are demanding these customised, personalised experiences, they are also expecting the trust and depth of expertise that comes from years of personal interaction and know-how.Trust has and always will be the cornerstone of successful client-advisor relationships. But how do we safeguard this human relationship in this digital landscape full of challenges?

A relationship manager now has a number of compliant and secure digital communication tools that enhance their client relationships.  Features like messenger or videoconferencing are really an extension of the face-to-face relationship that you’ve built with your customers over the years. Consider how pervasive messaging is in our lives. It’s the norm in how we communicate and it’s how many clients want to communicate. So instead of picking up the phone to track down a client, a relationship manager can send an alert over messenger that would allow them to react immediately to events affecting their portfolio.

With today’s digital technology, an investor can navigate through an intuitive deep-dive into their financial situation instantly. Couple that with simultaneous guidance from their relationship manager on video chat, and we’ve brought together the best of technology and human interaction, allowing the two to decide on the best course of action in real time. These seamless interactions between relationship managers and their clients through mobile phones or laptops to discuss investment opportunities can become the norm. And in today’s fast-moving markets, the combination of speed, control and trusted advice becomes a serious differentiator.

Here’s another scenario, this time spread over a number of days, at the convenience of the client. On Thursday morning, a relationship manager drops her client a quick note on messenger about an emerging opportunity. The client is tied up but wants to know more so she texts the RM asking for more info. The RM puts together an information package and sends the links and documents that afternoon, using messenger features. Later that night, when the client is home, she takes a look through the links and decides to sleep on it. Friday morning, the client decides she is interested and uses messaging to make a video chat appointment to sign documents – all done online.

It’s well-executed moments such as these that turns an advisor’s omni-channel presence into a major growth platform. The more touch points for clients to access, the more potential for activity. If we get these steps right, and complement our relationships with smart, customised, digitally-enabled service, we will have created new opportunities to make customers happy – and found a competitive advantage.