Wealth and investment managers today are aware that they must create a sustainable competitive advantage by improving their clients’ experiences.
So, why does client experience matter so much? In the current digital marketplace, customers are more demanding than ever before. More and more investors are now hooked on the intuitiveness, personalization, and proactive interactions they have with BigTechs, and they expect the same from their wealth management firms. According to the Capgemini World Wealth Report 2018, more than 80% of HNWIs are willing to begin a relationship with BigTechs within one year (assuming that they offer wealth management services).
Customers dealing with digital experience provided by BigTechs in their everyday lives
In this scenario, Big Techs are already making great strides in payments and have also partnered with other financial institutions. Their presence is now also seen in the investment management space through differentiating client experiences and lower fees. Alibaba’s Ant Financial wealth management arm, for instance, claims assets under management of US$345 billion.
Wealthy clients now want similar intuitive interactions and efficient solutions at their fingertips – as easy as placing an order with Google or Amazon. Taking demography and shifting dynamics into consideration, savvy managers are stepping into their clients’ shoes to analyze satisfaction drivers for new-generation investors. In fact, both advisors and customers are now acting as consumers, expecting the firms to know what their preferences are and respond accordingly. Similar to the way Spotify recommends music based on users’ preferences, customers now want to be presented with new investment options and information at their fingertips, such as how close they are to their goals, even before they ask for it. At this stage, firms that fail to embrace customer experience as strategic element to their growth would be left much behind.
A personalized and guided journey at every touchpoint
In response to their clients’ diverse needs in context of tailored content, recommendations, and advice from their wealth firms, many firms are now prioritizing customer experience by seeking ways towards more innovative approaches. Many of them are adopting a bottom-up approach and innovating to mitigate BigTech threats through a variety of tactics.
Many firms are embracing analytics-based 720-degree customer view that provides a comprehensive understanding of client needs, behavior, life stage, and investment patterns helping them predict their clients’ future actions and deliver relevant offers and experiences. Netflix, for example, uses machine learning and vast pool of their users’ data to recommend personalized and specific content for each user by determining their viewers’ behavioral and demographic taste individually. Facebook is another example on the art of personalization that utilizes its connections and user content to recommend advertisements as per users’ distinct tastes.
Customer experience enhancement levers
Below are some of the levers through which customer experience can be enhanced:
- Adopt big data and analytics to understand (circumstance, needs, and context) and deliver personalized, proactive, and prescriptive interaction.
- Leverage value-based psychographic segmentation to align with human-centered aspects of customer experience.
- Build an empathy-driven design model while grounding business imperatives and customer experience.
- Develop an engagement journey blueprint to define and communicate desired experiences highlighting opportunities for WOW moments throughout the journey.
- Enable self-service by promoting a hybrid advisory model.
- Simplify from the top down – from product to platform – to improve client transparencies and investments.
Customers experience enhancement through 3-P approach model
Tools for success
End-user expectations are now shaping the business practices and solutions provided to them by their primary wealth management firms. The path to better client service experience requires the appropriate tools, which also means a commitment by firms to provide their wealth managers with necessary solutions empowering them through the shift towards a customer-centric approach. Firms can follow a “3-P approach” where they provide ecosystem of tools aimed through proactive, pre-emptive, and prescriptive models for both advisors and investors (see Figure). This ecosystem of new tools, with AI and data analytics as digital foundation, will aim to empower investors as well as wealth managers. Ultimately, the golden key to enhancing customer experience will belong to the firms that integrate the customer expectations by providing relevant, tailored, and future-looking tools and services.
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 BigTechs are large, multinational technology firms such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Alibaba, or Tencent.
 Big data includes extremely large data sets that may be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.
 Moments of extraordinary service at customer touchpoints that make an impression on customers
 Hybrid advice: Clients tap into life-stage and need-based wealth management and financial planning advice in a modular, personalized pay-as-you-go manner.