Using Technology to Automate Client Service, While Delivering a Customized Experience

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Flow chartSurvey any independent advisor’s website and the words, “personalized,” “customized,” “unique,” and other similar adjectives jump out as key to their value proposition and service delivery.

While this level of service is something that all firms aspire to deliver, the reality is that very few do.  The very nature of providing a high level of personalized service and custom delivery for each and every client has been a goal that many firms are unable to provide. This is typically due to their lack of systems and processes, which prevents them from being able to scale that delivery over their entire client base.

Almost every advisor and their staff would love to be able to work more efficiently and profitably. Yet many shy away from putting standardized systems and processes in place because they believe it would create a service model that would be akin to a factory conveyor belt – providing advice to each client in exactly the same way.

Our experience in working with hundreds of advisors and running our own wealth management practice is that you can systematize, yet still deliver a personalized experience. Better yet, the efficiencies created by well thought out, organized processes actually frees up more time to spend on personal touches.

Documented processes should have many steps set in stone, such as “enter meeting notes into the CRM” or “send thank you note for a client referral,” or “set follow up meeting after financial plan delivery.”

However, some of the steps in a workflow or process need to be flexible so service can be customized to support service pathways that can be modified at various points to be able to bring in additional data, decision trees or implementation steps.

For example, when building a retirement plan for a client, the personalized step to a process would be to choose from a combination of 401K, 403b, Defined Benefit Plan, Pension Plan and/or IRA accounts to perform analysis and provide recommendations. Each of these analyses can be systematized so that all important points are considered, but the recommendations for each client can be customized.

The personalization of standardized procedures can be easily incorporated into a workflow system and can ensure steps don’t fall through the cracks. They ensure there is a systematic process in place to expertly complete a task, enable advisors and staff to work and interact together more efficiently, accurately and provide a higher level of service to clients without working harder.

Advancements in in emerging technologies on enhancing workflow engine capabilities and the multi-directional sharing of processing of data between systems is now available.  This new “middleware” technology has the integration capabilities necessary to enable the flexibilities and dynamic data access needed to automate client services, while at the same time having the ability to personalize and customize for each client.

This new software application is an important development in the evolution of the financial advisory industry.  In fact, it is highlighted in a recent white paper we developed that points out the opportunities for advisors to gain efficiencies, build a scalable platform for growth, all while providing a consistent and personalized client service delivery.

Deborah Fox

About the Author:

Deborah Fox is CEO and Founder of Fox Financial Planning Network (FFPN). Deborah has been a financial advisor running her own firm for over 25 years. She is nationally known for her unique planning processes and for instructing and coaching financial advisors on how to work more efficiently in order to free up time and increase profits, all while delivering a higher level of client services.