A day in the life of your client
I was on the train yesterday, passing the time doing emails, listening to music, swapping a few messages on WhatsApp, and bagging a few bargains in the January sales – all using various apps on my phone. The conductor passed through and asked to see tickets – mine was of course on my phone!
A quick look around the carriage showed that I wasn’t alone in my dependence on technology. At each table at least one person was using their phone, tapping away on their iPad, watching a film on a tablet and so forth. Even those who were reverting to the ‘old school’ books and papers had headphones on... plugged into their phones of course.
The coach was a mixture of ages, occupations and backgrounds, but there was one thing that linked us all - technology.
So, how do we keep up with this increasing trend? And more importantly, if you are in the face to face service business, what should you do to make sure you don't lose out?
For me, it's quite simple. We're not talking a complete overhaul, nor total deviation from what you are already doing, it’s all about mixing it up (much like the people on my train reading their books!).
Advice is still king. Clients need advice, they need reassurance. No one is an expert in multiple fields - if you are not a plumber, you wouldn't replace your own boiler, would you?
Advisers will always advise and clients will always need advice - just not all the time or always in the same way.
With the advances in tech, advisers now have the opportunity to bring in solutions and wrap advice around them to give consumers choice, bring about efficiencies and save time for all. Consider a prospective client with £10,000 to invest in an ISA. Would you give them full, face to face advice? More to the point, will they pay for it?
If you can't say yes to both, here's an alternative.
Let's take an imaginary office where a client comes to visit. The client is given the choice of three doors:
Behind door one – here there is the adviser, offering full advice. For this face to face, holistic service, the cost is £1,500 (for example).
Behind door two – here there is a computer for a client to complete some preliminary information - a fact find, a risk profiler etc. Having completed this, the client has to go through into another room where an adviser picks up where the PC left off. This is advice, but with some of the ground work done- saving the adviser and client both time and cost.
Behind door three – it’s the same computer, but this time the client has to do everything themselves – including sourcing and transacting online. They can, of course, stop at any time and enter door one for advice, with the corresponding charge.
What this imaginary situation does is gives you control and gives the client choice. You can decide which service you offer, or your clients can choose. It's not one size fits all, and clients may choose different doors for different needs. They might opt to invest their cash ISA online, do some of the pre-work before seeing you for a larger investment, always see you for full advice when it comes to retirement planning and so on.
So, moving away from the hypothetical to the here and now.
What if you had a website that could do this for you? A site rich with content to keep clients informed, full of interactive tools to check, to do some pre work, a site where clients can transact?
Well, this is now a reality. Indeed at SimplyBiz, we have just built and launched what we are calling NextGen sites that does all of this and judging by the initial demand, it's exactly what advisers want.
So, simply by changing your website you can tap into changing consumer behaviour, get back a few precious hours, harness would-be clients and most importantly, enhance your relationships with existing clients. There are a lot of new companies coming to market looking to service your clients – most are getting it wrong, but they will disturb, so now is the time to look at how you could enhance what you currently offer, without compromising what’s at the heart of your business- you.
Embrace change and keep doing what you are doing – happy 2017!