What Financial Firms Can Learn From the Geek Squad

Advisors are generally satisfied with the digital and web support available from partners and product providers, but the most technologically savvy advisors find support services lacking. A report by Practical Perspectives found younger and more sophisticated advisors would like their providers to follow the lead of firms outside the financial services industry, who they say do a better job of providing technical support.

Over half of advisors said they make frequent use of digital support from financial industry-specific providers and partners, but over 30% (and independent advisors in particular) said they frequently use providers that are designed for retail investors — Best Buy's Geek Squad support service, for example.

(Related: Advisors’ Use of Digital Technology Needs Overhaul: Global Wealth Report)

Most advisors agree that the web support they receive from firms in the financial services industry is as good as the support available from companies outside the industry, and 30% say it’s better. Younger and tech-savvy advisors said firms could do more to improve the usability and design of their web support. Advisors were most impressed with the security and content of providers’ support.

“Advisors find benefit in connecting to digital support from product providers and other sources to access up-to-date product information and research, perform client service, and use tools such as calculators or illustration software,” Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives and author of the report, said in a statement.

Advisors said it takes too long to find the information or capabilities they’re looking for when they visit a provider’s website. Over half said they have to visit multiple websites to get support.

The report found web and digital support that focuses too much on advertising, or is difficult to use or log into, also turns off advisors looking for help.

On the other hand, websites that are too simple or generic are another turn off.

Overall, web support isn’t something advisors are spending a lot of time on. Most advisors spend less than five hours a week with a provider’s support team, and a third spend less than two hours a week. However, the survey found that advisors are spending more time on support than past reports have found. Almost one in five spend more than 10 hours a week with a provider’s support team, up from 12%.

“This increase suggests some advisors are more fully integrating digital and web support within their business processes,” according to the report.

Over half of advisors suggested more access to research and analytics as a way to improve the usefulness of a provider’s web support, including the ability to store inputs. Over 40% are looking for more integration with their current platform.

“Many advisors still encounter websites and other digital capabilities that are difficult to navigate, have content that is not updated frequently enough, or which provide information that is too generic or promotional. We find that most advisors tend to limit their web use to a few trusted providers they are familiar with and which offer broad capabilities, are simple or intuitive to use, and are designed specifically for financial professionals,” Schneider said.

--- Read 4 Ways Robo-Advisors Improve Client Onboarding on ThinkAdvisor. 

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