A day in the life of... your client
It's just gone 8.00am on a Monday morning and I'm on the train heading to London for a number of meetings.
I'm using my IPhone to listen to some music on Spotify, whilst dealing with an ever growing number of emails.
I’m interrupted by a few messages coming through on WhatsApp and remember I need to get my nephew a birthday present – thank goodness for the Amazon app and Prime!
Ok, back to work and I need to check some modifications to a website have gone through, I can do this on the phone.
The conductor asks to see tickets. I show him mine - on my phone, of course.
Whilst doing this and sipping my Costa (other coffees are available), I look around and consider just how much our day-to-day lives have changed.
No, I've not gone all philosophical, I'm talking changing consumer behaviour.
A quick look around the carriage...
The two people on my table are mixing it up. One reads a journal (headphones on!), the other seems to be studying for an exam - using a book, an actual book! (iPhone, Mac and coffee at the ready!).
Across the way, a man snoozes, a couple texting, no conversations there.
And so it continues.
The coach is a mix of ages, occupations and backgrounds, but there is one thing that links them all - technology.
So, how do we keep up 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 overhaul, we're not talking stopping what you are doing. It's about mixing it up.
Advice is still king. Clients need advice and they need reassurance. No one is an expert in multiple fields - if you are not a qualified plumber, you wouldn't attempt to replace your own boiler - would you?
Advisers will always advise and clients will always need advice - just not all the time.
With the rapid advances in technology, 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.
I keep posing the same question to advisers and I keep getting the same answer. This is the one about the client with £10,000 to invest in an ISA. Would you give them full, face to face advice - will they pay for it?
If you can't say yes in every situation, here's an alternative.
Let's take an imaginary office where a client comes to visit. A member of staff greets the client and offers them the choice of three doors.
Door one - adviser, full advice, this is what you get and the cost is £1500 (for example).
Door two - you go in and use the computer to complete some preliminary information - a fact find, a risk profiler etc. Then you go through into another room where the adviser is there and he/she picks up where you left off. Advice, but with some of the groundwork done and thus save you both time and cost.
Door three - enter and do it yourself - transact online. You can stop at anytime and go into door one of course (and be advised and charged £x etc.).
What this imaginary situation does is gives the adviser control and the client choice. You can decide which service you offer or your client can choose. It's not one size fits all and clients may choose different doors for different needs. Buy their B&C online, do some of the pre work before seeing you for an 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?
Simply by changing your website you can tap into changing consumer behaviour, get back a few precious hours, pre-vet would be clients and more important than anything, enhance your relationships with clients and keep any would be predators at bay. There are many new companies coming to market looking to service your clients, most are getting it wrong, but they will disturb.
Embrace change and keep doing what you are doing.