Evaluating and improving your online client experience

Evaluating and improving your online client experience

Olivia Tromm & Todd McMullen | March 2, 2018

RIAs might think that only millennial investors want their advisors to have an online presence, but research shows that investors from all age groups want the option to interface with the financial professionals in their lives when and where they need. And while your personal relationship with them is incredibly valuable, today’s investors want their advisors to give them a balanced dose of both digital and traditional interactions.

Note that just because clients expect you to provide a digital experience, it doesn’t mean they don’t value your face-to-face interactions with them or that you have to completely change your service model. Think about your value proposition and determine where you want to fall within the technology spectrum. Do you want to be a low-tech firm or a fully-robo firm? Chances are, you probably want to fall somewhere in the middle—and we’ll help show you how.

Integrating technology at every part of the client journey

In order to ensure that investors have a positive digital experience with your firm, you should create a plan that digitally engages clients throughout their journey with you—as prospective, new, and existing clients. To do this, you’ll want to determine:

The ways you currently interact with people on both a digital and human level
What you want people to feel when they’re interacting with you and your firm
How you could give clients more options to engage with you digitally
How digital options can bring you closer to your value proposition

To help you get started, we’ve identified a few digital options that advisors have added to their client experience. The purpose is to give clients at all stages and with different communication preferences a great personalized experience.

Prospective clients
One way advisor teams are enhancing the client experience for prospective clients is by offering complimentary, online risk assessments, and proposals. Not only do these tools give investors a taste of your services, but they also make an efficient way to collect data and create leads in your CRM tool.

New clients
As you’re bringing a new client into the mix, you can incorporate solutions that give clients the option to sign documents and complete questionnaires from the comfort of their own home. TD Ameritrade offers eSignature options for advisor teams to leverage at no charge if they would like to offer clients the option to sign documents electronically. You can also use video conference and screen sharing technologies to meet with clients virtually and show them how to access their account information online.

Existing clients
Once a client is fully welcomed into your firm, it’s time to deliver on your word. For some, that might mean continuing to use video conferencing and screen sharing to encourage adoption of their client portal, update them on their portfolio status, answer questions, and more.

It’s also crucial to give your existing clients plenty of ways to reach you. There are a number of technologies that can help, including:

Appointment scheduling software. Adding this solution to your website is a fantastic way to let clients schedule face time at your firm without taking the time to call your office.
Questionnaire tools. We all know that gathering client feedback is key to running a successful firm. Make it simple by giving them opportunities to provide their thoughts online and expand on some of the feedback they’ve expressed in face-to-face meetings

Above all, you want to make sure that your existing clients have an easy-to-use client portal. Be sure that the portal you use is clean and direct. More data isn’t necessarily better–you don’t want to overwhelm them. Instead, direct clients to the areas that are most important to their individual goals and interests.

Helping clients fully embrace your firm’s technology options

If you’ve invested money into your online client experience and aren’t seeing much utilization, ask yourself this: Has your staff fully embraced the technology? Is your team trained and able to answer questions that clients have about where to find what information? Share with your team how much easier life can be when clients adopt these technologies and how call volume and requests may drop. Encourage them to seek out additional training if necessary—make it mandatory if you must. Provide use cases when possible and reward those who utilize the tools correctly.

Next, be proactive and talk about technology with clients during face-to-face and phone meetings so that you can keep them up to speed on ways to get in touch with you or access their data when necessary. When new clients come on board, ask them what their favorite method of communication is, and show them how you can accommodate their preferences. This upfront work will go a long way toward increasing adoption down the line.

Meet your clients in the middle

While there are many possibilities out there, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to creating the perfect online client experience. It all depends on the needs of your clients and the goals of your firm. But by exploring your options and supplementing your human touch points with a few digital solutions, you can begin to strike a great balance and provide an even better experience.

1. Capgemini Report