Apps, platforms, social media channels, desktop portals and smartphone accessibility; there are numerous ways to connect with your clients. But which one is the most effective?
During the ifa Advice Practice of 2020 Roundtable, partnered by financial technology company Iress, leading practice principals and advisers discussed how they drive customer engagement through various channels.
While Finnacle founder and adviser Prashant Nagarajan generates almost all of his business via Facebook marketing, Birling Wealth Management principal partner Mark Malone said he doesn’t use any social media channels to find clients.
“The level of engagement is really important for us. Firstly, we don't want to grow our business too quickly. We're very particular about who we want to work with and we can't control that through social media channels,” he said.
“We've got a digital stack that ensures a lot of the work is done before the client sees us, so we can figure out their level of engagement at that point. We really want to work with people that we know definitely want to work with us and have the right level of engagement. We know if we get those clients from friends or family of clients we already work with, then we almost guarantee that we're going to get the relationship we want and that the client needs.”
David Simon, founder and managing director of Integral Private Wealth, explained that his business has 94 contact points with clients every year through a variety of content housed on the company’s ‘Knowledge Centre’. Integral also launched an app for clients in partnership with MyProsperity.
Iress CEO Andrew Walsh noted that while there had been a rise in the demand and usage of client engagement tools, such as client portals, it took more than just switching them on to generate engagement from clients.
“What we’ve found is that the best way to increase engagement is to ask clients to take action, such as using client portals as a secure way to send and view client information and documentation.”
He also stressed the advantage of an online experience for clients that connected into core advice software.
“The advantage here is that the data can then be pulled into your workflow, as well as captured as part of your regulatory and compliance monitoring.”
Birling Wealth Management’s Mark Malone agreed. He also uses My Prosperity, but said he found the client engagement level was much lower than he anticipated.
“We started the journey thinking this is going to be a resource that customers valued but what we realised was that it’s actually more valuable to our practice than it is to our clients. So we quickly changed our focus to understanding how we could use the information our clients were providing to us in a constructive way to deepen our relationships with them. At the start we probably only had15 per cent of clients logging onto it regularly.
However, after launching an app and moving away from email to deliver documents to clients, Mr Malone says he is now seeing an almost 100 per cent engagement rate with clients.
“Another key reason for the uplift in engagement is that we also use it for digital signatures We also started doing our quarterly updates via the app. And for security reasons over the last 12 months we moved away from delivering documents by email,” the adviser said.
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