When was the last time you had a digital experience, either while shopping online or navigating through your favorite app or social media platform, that didn’t display content targeted to you, based on your interests?
You probably can’t remember. This is the standard we’ve grown to expect when presented with an enormous pool of options online — content providers offer tools that streamline our search and tailor offerings to the demographics of the user.
Sites that deliver a generic user experience typically don’t see repeat visitors. The same holds true for financial advisors who don’t leverage technology to provide personalized experiences for their clients — especially with younger generations that face a new set of financial challenges and expect digital experiences.
Many advisors recognize they need to adapt to the dynamic needs of different generations to future-proof their business. What can good user experience (UX) design teach us about the steps they should take to attract clients across generations?
The best place to start is to look at the demographics of your users.
Different Client Demographics
As the addressable market grows increasingly diverse, advisors must look for scalable solutions that address multiple variances across levels of wealth, complexity of financial situations, age, gender, and more. The products and services available must be designed to ensure relevancy and confidence to all audiences.
Traditionally, planners focus the client relationship around building and maintaining a holistic financial plan. This doesn’t align with the approach younger generations prefer. Research shows 84% of millennials are actively seeking financial advice, but only 31% of them are working with a financial advisor.
Millennials are looking for episodic recommendations: advice that’s aligned to their next goal. Why? Because for younger people, goals can change drastically over a short period of time, starting with student loan debt and potentially evolving into marriage and families.
They might want to be aware of issues they will have to address for the long-term, but don’t necessarily expect to plan for them upfront.
We’ve observed that younger generations prefer to be self-led. When choosing to work with a financial advisor, they want experiences or technology that enable them to explore on their own.
Younger generations generally don’t like talking to advisors about topics that they don’t know about because it makes them feel uncomfortable. They want to do their own research, so they feel prepared to have a productive conversation.
Technology preferences are another area where there’s a gap across generations. Younger clients are innately more comfortable with digitally generated advice over personal conversations. This is the opposite for older clientele who are not as comfortable with technology.
Their discomfort is bolstered by security concerns with sharing personal data on applications. They’re more likely to trust the advice of a professional from a phone call or in-person meeting.
Older clientele value the expertise of a planner and trust they’ll be able to deliver on complex issues. They’re willing to let the financial advisor take the lead.