It seems like advisors have been constantly playing defense over the last couple of years. From the advent and coming-of-age of robo-advisors to preparing for the ever-impending Department of Labor fiduciary rule, you could say it’s been a tough few years for independent advisors.
Looking at the 2016 Barron’s Top Independent Advisors List and comparing it to 2015, we can see that of the 82 repeat firms, about 54% showed year-over-year AUM growth. Only 23.2% of firms reported AUM growing faster than if they had taken their 2015 AUM and invested it in a 60/40 portfolio for the year.
Simply put, advisors are in a bit of an investment J-curve right now, and it’s important to realize that while defense is important in sports, it’s time to play offense again to help ensure the benefits of these investments are realized.
(Related: When Advisors Become Technology Developers)
For the remainder of 2017, and even as we enter 2018, advisors need to work on growing their businesses. A 2014 Fidelity study found that advisors who engaged in more technology activities than their peers had nearly 40% more AUM.
It’s possible for advisors to put their digital infrastructure to use to help them increase referrals, and that happens by creating “wow” experiences for existing clients.
Increase Client Referrals by Improving the Client Experience
Advisors should constantly be asking themselves how they can provide their clients with that “wow” experience, which is anything that creates a memorable and lasting positive impact on a client. Create enough of them, and you’ll turn clients into advocates.
So where do you begin? You can start by examining every interaction and touchpoint you have with a client, then think about how that interaction can be overhauled and improved.
Using Technology to Wow Your Clients — and Boost Your Staff
One surefire way to provide your clients with a “wow” experience is to incorporate digital video statements into your next market update commentary. Digital video statements, especially when compared to mailing printed reports, can help you create a memorable event that clients will talk about with others.
One of the benefits of video is it allows you to create reciprocity with clients. It provides a human element and a connection point, much more than text on a page could achieve.
Second, a digital video statement personalizes the experience because with the right tool, you can overlay client-specific information into the video. You can show clients their values, performance and benchmark comparisons instead of a generic review of market performance.
Another way your firm can use technology to stay top-of-mind with clients is to implement automated communication via text message. Similar to providing client-specific information in a video, you can assist clients in better knowing their financial situation by providing them a simple way to check their balance, activity and even allow them to schedule their next appointment with you.
Through automated messaging solutions, clients can get this information without interacting with your firm, so it alleviates tension on your staff to do more with less time.
Beyond text message communication, giving a client the ability to schedule an appointment with you from text is a certain “wow” factor, especially for younger investors who believe that communication through technology is an expected part of your services, not a luxury.
Technology Extends Your Staff Without Extending Hours
With the right technology integrations, you extend the ability of your staff to serve clients without adding more time to their day. The effective use of technology is not only more efficient for your staff, it simply provides a better client experience.
Happy and impressed clients will become net promoters of your business and it will be natural for them to refer others to do business with you. As a fiduciary, it’s already your responsibility to provide the best investment guidance to your clients. Start thinking of the technology you provide to them with the same perspective, and you’ll be generating “wow” moments in no time at all.
— Read Coders: The Business Partners You Didn’t Know You Had on ThinkAdvisor.