Since 2020 the ongoing pandemic has been the driver for new technology adoption and innovation in financial advice.
We saw 10 years of digital transformation happening overnight as advice firms shifted to working remotely with clients and colleagues.
As we move into 2022, we’ll see going digital continue to be the norm, but innovation will now be driven by a realisation of the value that great technology can deliver.
It’s time for a Total Experience
Total Experience or TX is something many businesses have been aspiring to achieve and it’s a trend set to continue into 2022. It means delivering an outstanding user experience across all aspects of your business for all your ‘users’ – ie, your clients and employees.
Client-facing technology is a critical part of an advice firm’s tech stack so a great user experience has never been more important. If we’re to expect our clients to adopt technology to work with us, it must be user friendly and deliver an experience that they have come to expect from technologies like WhatsApp or Instagram.
It must work on the devices they are using every day. If an advice firm doesn’t have their own app they are likely to fall behind. But it’s not just clients that need a great experience for technology to be adopted. Technology used by your employees should enable and inspire them to deliver exceptional client service.
Mobile CRM – it’s time for advisers to get techy!
Client Relationship Management for advice firms is changing. In the past this was traditionally driven from the back office, but CRM now very much involves ongoing collaboration with the client, which is causing a shift in how CRM is delivered.
Technology adoption in advice firms has long been the remit of administration staff with advisers reluctant to introduce technology into a process where the human touch is so valued. Even today most advice firms cite that they use just a small part of their back office technology and that’s because it doesn’t really work well for the adviser.
Today’s CRM needs to work across all platforms from desktop to tablet and mobile apps if advisers are to really embrace hybrid ways of working. This blend of online, mobile and face-to-face communication will deliver a service clients and advisers will respond to, trust and value.
We’ll see more advisers using smartphone apps to communicate and work with their clients on a day-to-day basis, giving them a much easier way to do things and access to information from any remote location.
APIs allow advice firms technology choice
For a long time, there was a view that an advice firm should have a single system that did everything from income reconciliation to CRM to cashflow planning. In reality this hasn’t worked because no single tech solution can do everything well.
The innovation shown by fintech companies delivering niche technology to solve a specific problem and the abundance of generic solutions to support digital collaboration means that firms now demand choice in the tools they use for their business.
There’s still more work to be done to ensure APIs are fit for purpose and truly ‘open’.
Some technology firms have ‘public’ and ‘private’ APIs, only opening up certain areas of their system to third parties. This is a barrier to innovation and denies advice firms the choice they are looking for.
The winners will be those technology solutions that allow firms to easily integrate and embed third party tools such as chat bots, appointment booking apps, video messaging, social media or other custom tools. Firms will vote with their feet and choose technology providers that are truly open to integration and partnering to give their customers the best possible solution and experience.
2022 is set to be an exciting evolution in adviser tech. Advice firms will move beyond being forced to adopt new ways of working by an unforeseen global pandemic, to innovating because they have realised the value that digital processes can bring.
A new year will bring a renewed desire improve productivity, support hybrid ways of working and deliver exceptional experiences for everyone involved in financial advice. The possibilities are endless.