power your advice

Clients Take Centre Stage in the Digital Debate

With clients' wants and needs driving the agenda how do you take a client-centric view of digital investment priorities?

PAM Insight in conjunction with WDX published a survey last week in which UK wealth managers conceded the primary driver in wealth managers adopting a digital strategy was client satisfaction and that clients would be the main beneficiary. Nearly half of the firms questioned admitted they didn’t think they were doing enough to keep up with developments in technology and digital.

Their findings were echoed by the 8th annual Temenos survey "Shifting Sands: Banking in the Digital Era" which highlighted some big shifts but in particular the fact that banks’ focus appears to be moving away from implementing new regulations to putting in place the right capabilities and talent to retain customers in the face of tougher, multiform competition.

This is perhaps understandable in the context of Tremenos' finding that for the third consecutive year banks cited "satisfying more demanding customers and retaining their loyalty" as their biggest issue with the highest reading for private banks (25% vs 22% for all banks). This was coupled with 74% of respondents from across the globe seeing the biggest threat as coming from players not in their market today, including non-banks. The report noted that banks are “increasingly aware that technology investment is critical to developing new sources of competitive advantage” and “banks are investing in capabilities such analytics and channels that will help deliver a more intimate customer experience”.

Faced with a snowstorm of options and opportunities, and a fintech landscape made more complex by the day, for wealth managers looking for a route map they could do worse than putting a greater focus on prioritising investment digitising processes against what clients will most value. Wealth managers, for whom client ownership and ownership of the client experience can be quite fraught issues, often find this sort of client centric decision making quite problematic.

Three key ways to support the development of a more client-centric viewpoint are:

  • Client journey mapping can help firms better understand the client experience and provide an insight into the key areas of focus that will drive client satisfaction upwards.
  • Bringing the voice of the client in to your firm (see " What client and introducer insight can do for your firm ") may uncover ways to make relatively simple, straight-forward enhancements to the client experience that have value for clients both overall and at key touch points.
  • Firms shouldn't be afraid to involve clients directly in prototyping and testing discussions - a great way to engage with the next generation of clients perhaps?
  • Responding to clients’ greater demand requires greater internal connectivity in organisations where marketing – traditionally the champions of the voice of the consumer – have often been silo’d out of IT and operations decision-making. Bringing marketing and the voice of the client into the room will be key.

    "Firms need to view digital as being essential to delivering a seamless and integrated client experience, and prioritise their investments based on how clients want to engage with their wealth managers and the firm.” - 2014 World Wealth Report.