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The impact of COVID-19 in the wealth industry: mistakes, lessons and opportunities


The impact of COVID-19 brought on new realities that demanded new solutions. In the wealth management industry, the requirement to adapt was particularly pronounced, as companies were asked to replace in-branch interactions with remote services that were just as client-centric and secure. Now that digital channels form the backbone of engagement, it’s time for banks to ask whether their current strategies are truly optimized for the post-pandemic era of client expectations.

In particular, financial service providers should evaluate their solutions for convenience—and do so from the perspective of the client. Are video meetings really what clients want, or could they sometimes be better served by a flexible messenger service? Banks must seek to answer this thoughtfully, considering how digital channels can be leveraged efficiently for each stage of the client journey.

The obsession with face-to-face meetings

During the chaos of the early pandemic months, video conferencing became a quick-fix for client communications in financial services. As a clear digital alternative, companies were highly focused on using platforms like Zoom, MS Teams, and Webex to emulate one key touchpoint of the client journey: the face-to-face-meeting.

On one hand, these applications have prevailed as reasonably efficient solutions for conducting remote meetings. However, the present-day mainstream of video conferencing still has its issues, with the most-used applications stopping short on issues of privacy and security for meeting-to-meeting continuity.

Video conferencing has certainly become the “new normal” for client-advisor interactions in wealth management—but is it enough to create trust and loyalty?

As long as clients prefer services that are secure, accessible and seamless, video conferencing is unlikely to cut it as a catch-all solution. In fact, video meetings only represent one of many possible touchpoints for client engagement. The possibilities of digital gives banks the chance to deliver uninterrupted, omnichannel experiences by incorporating functions such as live chat, asynchronous messaging, and co-browsing.

What’s more, the rise of digital doesn’t mean that clients won’t still value a human relationship in matters of wealth management. In fact, most research findings show that hybrid advice will be the preferred method of wealth management going forward. Digital channels should be seen as a complement to human competencies and, with an omnichannel solution, advisors have a varied repertoire through which they can converse with clients and earn their trust.

Client trust starts with convenience

Wealth management clientele are people with multiple daily engagements and busy lives. For that reason, a client offering that is centered on convenience is a smart way to build a reputation for reliability. In particular, ease of doing business and respecting clients’ time are two attributes that have been shown to contribute to trust-building, according to Forrester.

Convenience, however, doesn’t necessarily mean automating any task that can be. The advantage of multiple channels is that they make advisors more available to deliver personalized consultations and services. On the client side, a low-effort way to contact their advisors is sure to make them feel at ease, where every client will require a unique mix of interaction.

With a digital strategy in place that is optimized for the end-user, client-advisor interactions are guaranteed to be productive and personalized. Nonetheless, true customer-centricity involves going a step further than the service itself. The client perspective must also be considered when it comes to strategy—and leveraging digital data can help banks do just that.

Rather than using Key Performance Indicators, companies should gather insights on a different success metric: CPIs, or Customer Performance Indicators. These metrics focus exclusively on customer experience, which go hand-in-hand with the performance indicators for companies as a whole. It’s this method of thinking that brings client-centricity into the very fabric of decision-making, inevitably having a greater impact on cultivating trust and loyalty.

Trust as your truest asset

If there’s an enduring lesson that banks and advisors should implement from the experience of the pandemic, it’s that trust matters in client-manager relationships. Customer-centricity and convenience are ways to prove that each client’s unique needs, schedule and desires are important—and this is especially effective when executed through an omnichannel digital platform. Only by securing this trust can financial services providers begin to move from trust to loyalty, an asset which is just as vital as the ability to attract new customers.

The impact of COVID-19 showed us that client preferences are incredibly fast-changing, and acutely connected to the world around us. The only constant has been that trust is valuable—and in order to gain it, financial service providers must think beyond video meetings and implement multiple digital touchpoints. Convenience, client-centricity, and personalization are the markers of client-advisor communication strategies designed for a new era of personal banking.

Digital Advice and Unblu

Unblu’s conversational platform is tailored for financial services, comprising a range of digital features that facilitate true customer-centricity. Envision how it might work for your organization by booking a demo today.