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Where Should You Invest First? Start With Your Clients

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What You Need to Know

  • Investing in technology should be a priority for all advisory firms.
  • There are two types of tech: one for internal efficiency and the other for enhancing the client experience.
  • Start by focusing on serving your clients, and then add better internal technology.

All business owners, including advisory firm owners, want a fast track to solving their problems. Advisors want to get operational efficiency and improve their client experience, and they want to address both issues with a single technology solution.

But having all the problems in your firm solved by a single technology isn’t realistic, and it’s risky. What happens when you want to switch tech that is an all-in-one solution? Operationally, it is hugely expensive.

The problem, though, isn’t the technology itself — it’s your expectations of what the technology should do. When looking at how to invest your technology budget, have a clear understanding of what to expect from the technology.

Two Kinds of Advisor Techn

Advisor technology tends to get clumped into a single large category, but actually there are two types. The first is the tech that increases operational efficiency by helping advisors and their staff work smarter and faster. This technology saves time and money and increases capacity.

The second type of advisor technology enhances the client experience. This technology gives clients a way to communicate with their advisor or to interact with their investments and portfolio. While it may save an advisor some time, that is not its core benefit.

Every advisory firm needs to be serious about implementing great technology in its business for one simple reason: It makes people’s lives easier.

If you have bad technology, your employees won’t want to work with you, even if you have a good culture and benefits. When outdated or cumbersome technology makes a job more difficult, it’s not reasonable to ask people to continue using it over the long term.

Which Technology to Invest in First

It’s a given that great technology needs to be included in your firm. The question is really is: which one to invest in first: operationally minded solutions, or client-driven tools?

The answer might surprise you.

Most firms choose to upgrade technology that benefits them operationally first. The reasoning is that they want to add technology that gives them the capacity to serve more clients.

But that’s the wrong place to begin. Instead, start with your clients.

Enhance your client experience first because you can still gain growth for your firm even before you’ve fully optimized your operational efficiency.

A superior client experience gives your clients something to talk about. You’ll likely see client referrals improve as you deliver and improve on the experience you’ve told them to expect.

As you gain growth from providing a better client experience, you can then expand your capital to invest in better operationally efficient technology via that growth.

From a technology perspective, it’s better to first expand growth than to start by expanding your profits.

Enhancing your client experience through technology won’t always enhance the way your team works internally, but it will always result in your client receiving your advice and services in a way that makes them feel prioritized.