Comment: Tech-savvy customers look for high-tech solutions
Technological innovations are now available that can be used to improve communication between investment professionals and their clients. The intelligent use of customer data is just one development that can deliver relevant messages and ultimately enhance the customer journey. Stephen Lester, propositions director at Paragon Customer Communications (pictured below), discusses the cutting-edge technologies that are transforming customer communication.
Technology has revolutionised customer communication hardware and software throughout the financial services sector. Fintech is now firmly established within the industry, with an array of ever-evolving solutions being brought to market. The latest technological advances have upped the stakes; organisations without the right cloud-based or mobile technology are in danger of becoming also-rans as tech-savvy customers search for digital-first providers.
Slicker and frictionless processes that improve the flow of information are raising customers’ expectations of what can be achieved in terms of how organisations communicate with their clients.
The opportunity exists for investment professionals to revolutionise the entire customer journey, through the introduction of mobile and cloud technology, digital channels and artificial intelligence. Similarly, the smart use of data allows services and experiences to be tailored to the individual, regardless of their demographic.
For many in the wealth management sector, it is not a case of if they should adopt the latest technology but when. However, with such a broad, diverse range of offerings available, the dilemma surrounds pinpointing which solution will deliver the best results for the customer.
Putting the right solution in place
Financial organisations may have a burning desire to innovate; however, in-house digital efforts may not achieve the desired effect. Delivering a better client experience across a range of customer communications, simplifying potentially complex processes while ensuring full legislative compliance can be a long and complicated undertaking.
There are various dilemmas which must be addressed, not least how to provide engaging, multi-channel, accessible communications while ensuring client details are safe and secure.
The use of innovative technologies can help automate certain repetitive processes, simplifying and speeding them up to improve customer service, freeing up employees to perform more complex, valuable assignments. These ‘low value’ tasks may include scanning and analysing documents, using algorithms to pinpoint which should be passed to a human decision-maker and, in some cases, making decisions based on knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations.
Software can also be used to identify patterns within customer data, from the best times to speak to specific audiences to what messages to incorporate to maximise campaign effectiveness. This allows organisations to better understand the possible outcomes of different campaigns, improving budgeting and forecasting based on predictive models.
Another pertinent use for analysing patterns within data is to identify potentially fraudulent activity, highlighting transactions that may indicate fraud, while data could be analysed to find unusual trading patterns that could indicate a risk.
An element of experimentation still exists, as advisors seek to pinpoint which is the best solution for their business and where the best value will lie. Some will use it to automate tasks, for others it may be in risk management or for responding to messages on Facebook.
Data mining and storage
The smart use of data is another area where software, together with technological innovations, can be used to successfully improve communications management. Data can be collected and analysed to gain a better understanding of customers and what matters most to them, increasing effective engagement and proactive interaction.
Gone are the days when the best way of reaching out to all your clients was to pop a ‘round robin’ letter in the post. Technology exists to not only pinpoint what form of communication customers prefer – SMS, email, print – but also to identify the optimum time to receive the message.
When RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said that the bank’s busiest ‘branch’ was the 7.01am train service from Reading to Paddington, he recognised that the 167,000 customers logging on to the RBS mobile app between 7am and 8am were likely to be technology-savvy, and consequently receptive to an email message from their financial services provider. They may be less likely to spend their valuable time reading printed literature posted to them, however attractively designed it may be.
Ask the experts
The introduction of the GDPR in May has intensified the focus on storing data safely. It has never been more pertinent for organisations to ensure that the information they hold is accurate and secure.
To comply with the new legislation, advisors should review their own data landscape and ensure that the correct permissions and preferences have been secured from clients and steps taken to ensure that data is held securely.
With this in mind, a growing number of organisations are choosing to outsource their digital communications to make the most of new marketing technologies while remaining legislatively compliant. Paragon Customer Communications, for example, currently provides effective, secure solutions to more than half the UK’s top wealth and asset managers connect with their customers.
An experienced communications provider will be able to assist with linking various themes and technologies to create a simplified yet smart, ‘joined up’ communications process that meets businesses needs while, crucially, without falling foul of the new regulation.
Experts such as Paragon Customer Communications have invested millions of pounds to support investment companies and the wider financial services sector integrate offline and digital communications into one customer journey. This can enable them to meet digitalisation targets while ensuring messages remain relevant to individual customers and GDPR compliant.
Innovative email coding with interactive formats, features and image animation can be used to formulate engaging, personalised messages delivered to individuals at a time when customers are at their most responsive.
The result is that organisations glean a better understanding of their customers, which in turn allows them to achieve more effective engagement, the appropriate customer experience and the increased prospect of delivering the required outcomes.
The latest technological advancements can be used to ‘listen’ to data, analyse customer behaviour then deliver the most relevant, engaging messages with the aim of cementing longer and better relationships with customers.
Investment companies can adopt these innovations to redefine their entire customer relationship experience, maximising data capture, analysing customer behaviour and delivering the most relevant, engaging messages.
Only through analysing various touchpoints can investment companies gain a better understanding of their customers’ expectations and requirements, allowing them to respond proactively and in a relevant manner.
Experts such as Paragon Customer Communications have made significant investments in these advancements in order to provide clients with a complete communications solution, which not only maximises the latest innovations but remains firmly within data protection legislation.