With all of the talk about the future of tech in the financial services industry, I wanted to share my opinions as a bit of an outsider. I am not a financial advisor, I have never worked directly in financial services or insurance, and I am not a technologist. But, I am a designer at a technology company called AdvisorConnect that builds software for financial advisors. So, my quasi-outsider prediction for the future: it’s going to be beautiful, and it’s going to be all about you…and your clients.
The role of the financial advisor is evolving as technology plays a more active role in the day to day lives of their clients. Not only have consumers come to expect an entirely digital experience when it comes to the boring stuff, but additionally, they want a white-glove, personalized interaction with their financial advisor. Why not have your cake and eat it too?
To get to a point where we can provide this kind of empathy and utility at scale through technology, we need to innovate – but not in the traditional meaning of the word. The most significant innovations we will see in the near future will not be the technology itself, but in the design of the user experience with advisors and their clients in mind. The innovations will borrow from trends that we already see underway in other industries that marry powerful backend technologies with simple and intuitive interfaces and human intuition.
Thanks to the omnipresence of simple interfaces, chatbots, and artificial intelligence, consumers’ expectations may very well not come as a surprise to many of today’s advisors. Advisees will partially base their opinions of, and affinity for, an advisor on their available digital solutions. Consumers will evaluate a digital user experience just as they judge their experiences with a human – think of a well designed website and app as a digital brand ambassador that operates as an extension of yourself. Consumers have come to expect the combination of an easy digital interface and high touch service. These preferences will increasingly use those digital and face-to-face user experiences as a barometer when measuring their overall satisfaction with service providers.
By focusing on the human and machine together, we will better meet evolving consumer expectations while advisors confidently play the role of a trusted resource rather than a salesperson. And, if done correctly, the benefits gained are immense: the ability to scale personalization, deliver superior service and increase recognition among your existing and potential client base.
So, how do we get there? Hire a great designer.
A talented designer can take massive amounts of information and turn it into a story that is both empowering and actionable for the user. We only have to look to well known brands like Amazon, Airbnb, Spotify, and Instagram as proof of this. You have to ask yourself, why use Spotify and not Pandora? Is a Mac a better machine than a PC? They were not the first to do what they do, but they were the most memorable and created experiences that were intuitive, simple, and empowering.
For AdvisorConnect, that meant building out a platform that leverages technology so advisors can be more human, not less. We have designed a platform that provides superior service, informative customer intelligence, and is easy to use. We believe that our digital platform will inspire authenticity, trust, and transparency in order to foster meaningful and lasting relationships between advisors and their network of prospects and existing clients.
It won’t be long until advisors can offer an Amazon-like shopping experience that is personalized, high-touch, and simple for both advisor and client. So go ahead, have your cake and eat it too!
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