Customer experience can be used to create a sustainable competitive advantage in a rapidly changing industry. In wealth management, customers are more open switching to other wealth management providers in search of better user experience, thus forcing firms to innovate to keep up with demands. The mindset of the firms must shift toward putting client-specific needs at the center of the wealth manager-client relationship. Moreover, customers are looking to engage with clicks and interactions rather than papers and conversation.
To create the advanced client journey, all processes, channels and interaction points must be designed and implemented, largely through the use of digital technology. In this way a superior customer experience can be also delivered. At the same time the use of digital technology in these journeys fosters process efficiency and robustness and reduces operational risk, offering a redefined client experience that is more intuitive, integrated and individualized. This emphasis gives experts additional time to focus on high-impact activities because technology can capture client behavior and identify individualized client offerings. 
Also, the upcoming generation change to digital natives demands digital transformation in daily business. These new generations, the Millennials and Generation X will control $30 trillion of investable assets by 2020. Millennials’ different attitudes to wealth and expectations of customer experience are commanding major changes as well.
Leading wealth management firms are investing in new technologies that enable financial advisors to engage more actively with customers across the entire investment spectrum. By incorporating a client experience perspective where advisors can better anticipate their needs.
But how can we offer a constantly superb digital experience in all the time? We distinguished all the steps of the customer journey and gathered the potential answers for each of them:
- Engagement: First thing first, we need to find new customers and try to then engage with them. Both millennials and ultra HNW clients expect convenience and mobile experience. Many banks have already been using digital tools such as online advertisements and application forms. But to be honest, this is just step zero. We shall continue with the real process of engagement. Due to the „mobile first” trend and the wide spread of chatting, chatbots can be an excellent tool for that. They allow potential customers to get to know more about the specific banking products by just chatting on their phone with a bot. But there is more, customers can even apply for a specific product or open a new account with only interacting with chatbots (e.g. Botboarding). The bot can do the customer profiling while provides all the required information to the customer and even more, can help with the account opening process. What is their secret? Today’s bots are getting smarter and cleverer because of the applied and integrated artificial intelligence and becoming more human by the usage of Natural Language Processing.
- Onboarding and planning: This part of the customer journey can be dedicated to analyzing and developing an investment strategy and structure a plan that ties the characteristics gathered in the assessment process to provide the relevant products, scenarios, and portfolios of your future customers. How does this step happen in many cases? The customers call the banks for an appointment with their dedicated personal advisor and then they meet for the very first time. The meeting starts with a “Chit-Chat Coffee” and with a very long Mifid II test to be filled out before they can start the real discussion about the investment strategy. And how does this conversation look like? We know that it includes a lot of brochures and sheets everywhere on the table. Usually the customer grabs the whole sheaf of paper and take them all home. Maybe he doesn’t call again at all… Not surprisingly there is a better way to handle the onboarding. With interactive tablet native presentation tools (e.g. Client Acquisition Tool), the advisors can show different personalized portfolio scenarios and even customers can fill out the Mifid II test in an interactive way. So, with the usage of this kind of modern and appealing tools, the new customers on the face-to-face meetings could be engaged more easily by the interactivity and the digital involvement, comparing to the old-school only paper-based ways, when the customer just sits and listens to the advisor. Moreover, these tools can be used for educating clients about complex financial products.
- Relationship development: The next step includes a lot of tasks, like managing the clients’ portfolio, trading and risk in conjunction with regulations and compliance requirements. The key problem in this stage is that many of the wealth management firms are using very old and inflexible systems to overview the customer’s portfolio. This results in serving the customers in the most convenient way is unimaginable. For example, they need to wait for ages until their advisors find out what kind of portfolio elements shall they collect from which system of the different ones their company uses. Sometimes even if they find the system, its method of usage isn’t as intuitive as it should be. The new kind of front-to-mid software solutions (e.g. Wealth Platform) allow advisors to be more effective and manage everything through an easy-to-use user interface. This also means that the portfolio overviews which the customers ask for, will be clearer and contain every information in one piece of document. So, clients can be served more quickly and in a more professional way. But this kind of software helps a lot to the management through the integrated MIS and it allows the advisors to focus more on the important personal parts of the advisory process by augmenting their abilities to involve the digital tools and therefore to create the hybrid advisory model.
- Keeping the relationship alive: How to make it? Anticipate client needs, liquidity events and proactively recommend new products to broaden the relationship. Leverage technology to expand networks and built trust and engagement. In other words, re-engage with the customers and offer new and new personalized investment options to them on a daily basis. Or an even better way is to share market news related to their portfolios to keep them engaged. We know that this seems a very time-consuming and not efficient thing to do, but there are tools which uses AI. This solution of course allows advisors to have more time for the customers’ who need personal assistance. And one more additional thing that Wealth Management companies can integrate in their app to keep the customer’s interest, is the gamification elements, which allows the mobile native customers to learn more of how they shall invest their money for example. But any other type of mini-games could be added for the sake of engagement.
To summarize, digitalization is not only a tick in the checklist, but it should be the ground of the wealth management business in order to be closer to offer a superb digital experience and therefore a digital customer journey. With the above detailed approach – the usage of digital tools – wealth managers can ensure that they can acquire the specific potential customer before their competitors would do so and also the existing clients will stay with their current advisors without a doubt.