There’s a lot to think about when implementing a technology strategy, like your firm’s goals, the end experience you’re trying to create, your budget and how new solutions will integrate with your current infrastructure. Another important consideration is how your clients will react.
Fear of the unknown and comfort with the status quo can sometimes result in resistance to new technology. This can be frustrating for firms who see real value in it, and who may have already invested brainpower, time and budget in new solutions. So what can be done to manage investor apprehension? Here are three misconceptions that the firms we work with hear from their clients, and advice for alleviating concerns around them:
Misconception 1: “My information is more secure on paper than it is in the cloud.”
This challenge — getting clients comfortable with switching from paper to the cloud — was a hot topic at one of our recent Fidelity Inside Track events. Being smart about the cloud, and specifically about the solution your firm uses, goes a long way in helping your clients get comfortable:
- Talk to vendors (or the person at your firm making the tech decisions) about the certifications and security measures of your firm’s cloud solution. Educating yourself on these kinds of details will help you provide peace of mind.
- One thing to consider is whether the vendors you are relying on have industry-compliant measures in place to ensure the security and confidentiality of your data. There are a number of industry-recognized standards, such as an ISO/IEC 27001 certification, which certifies compliance with information security controls published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). You should also be knowledgeable about what type of data encryption is applied by a cloud vendor. For example, AES-256 is an example of one widely used to protect sensitive information and is used by financial institutions, banks and e-commerce websites.
- After your clients better understand the cloud, walk them through their new experience to get them acclimated before fully making the switch. This applies to all new technology — take the time to explain its benefits, and the ins and outs of how it works, to your investors. Gather feedback throughout the process to ensure they are getting what they need.
Misconception 2: “Technology makes my experience less personal.”
When used correctly, technology can actually make the client experience MORE personal by helping you more easily collaborate. Help your clients understand the value by starting small:
- Schedule your next check-in via videoconference. No webcams? One advisor we spoke to eliminated the barrier to videoconferencing by sending his clients webcams. Now, he does 70% of his quarterly reviews by video.
- Give them the option to text. In the Fidelity 2016 eAdvisor Study, we found that 25% of advisors are already texting clients to provide updates, take care of administrative tasks and/or set up meetings. It’s a great way to quickly connect and stay top-of-mind in a client’s busy life.
- Online vaults encourage information-sharing between you and your clients, and with others involved in their finances (such as tax attorneys or estate planners). Highlight to clients that this results in a clearer, full-picture view for all involved, in turn creating a more cohesive, thorough experience for them. Let them know that vaults also provide a go-to destination for loved ones in times of emergencies or a family member’s death.
- Data aggregation tools also help create deeper relationships and are on the rise with tech-savvy advisors, according to our research. Those help you understand a client’s complete circumstances, so you can develop more customized plans to help them manage life events and achieve longer-term goals.
Misconception 3: “Adopting new technology will make my experience more complicated.”
Encourage your clients to think about how tech has simplified other aspects of their life — for example, they can easily automate recurring payments, find restaurant reservations with just a glance at an app and effortlessly circumvent traffic on their commute. Technology is making so many aspects of our lives easier, and finance should be no exception. How can you illustrate this in your practice?
- Paperless is a good place to start. In our 2014 Investor Insights Study, investors said they found paperless tools time-saving and more accessible. Advisors echoed this in recent interviews with us, noting that many tasks can be performed in a fraction of the time when paperless.
- Clearly articulate these benefits to hesitant clients through data and anecdotes from your practice. Consider creating infographics or short videos that illustrate how technology saves time, and walk clients through how it works for them specifically. One firm we spoke with suggested creating videos tracking the different “lives” of paper and electronic documents to illustrate the streamlined paperless experience.
- Start with small changes that bring big value — like presenting updates on a tablet at your next meeting for a more dynamic and engaging conversation.
Whether you’re hearing the above misconceptions or other concerns, it’s important to not just explain, but actually show, the value of technology to clients who are hesitant. That, combined with being able to articulate why you made certain vendor decisions, will go a long way toward alleviating uncertainty.