A LIMRA study conducted with financial professionals finds that 92 percent agree that consumers expect faster responses to their questions than they did in the past.
That’s not surprising, given the increase in the number of multichannel expectations that consumers have about companies they do business with. Whether they contact a company by phone, online, text, or in-person, today’s consumers want a seamless experience, the study notes. Through increased use of technology, financial-services professionals are becoming “digital advisors” to better meet the demands of today’s consumers who expect their companies and their financial professionals to offer a multichannel experience.
Advisors’ use of technology
Nine in ten advisors said technology allows them to provide better service. For example, emails, personal websites, virtual meetings, texts and social media have become important tools for advisors in finding clients and keeping them satisfied.
Two-thirds of advisors have a personal website for their practice, which can offer basic product information, the ability to check account balances, as well as market updates and retirement calculators. Broken out by channel, 71 percent of affiliated insurance and affiliated investment professionals have a personal website, while 64 percent of independent advisors offer one. Men (71 percent) are more likely than women (54 percent) to have a website.
A majority of advisors encourage the use of online services, allowing clients to obtain service on their terms, while keeping the advisor involved. At 79 percent, affiliated investment advisors are more likely to steer clients online for services — whether to their site or to their company’s site — than independents at 61 percent, or affiliated insurance advisors at 56 percent. Among generations, Gen Y and Gen X advisors are more likely to encourage online services than Boomers.
About half of financial professionals already use virtual meetings with their clients and prospects, and many expect to increase the use of tools like Skype, FaceTime, and WebEx in the future. Virtual meetings help extend market reach, saving advisors time while still giving them the ability to see clients, no matter their location. In the survey, 16 percent of Gen Y advisors used virtual meetings weekly, while 11 percent of Gen X and 8 percent of Boomer advisors also used the platform that often.
By increasing their use of technology, advisors are able to gain efficiency without losing the important relationship-building qualities that make them successful, according to the study.