A personalised email to clients, such as the one from a pension provider below, is no longer a futuristic dream. However, a personalised communication strategy like this does call for a different mindset, an effective strategy, and the right tools.
“Dear Mr. Van Dijk,
Congratulations on your promotion. We wish you every success and enjoyment in your new position.
We would like to point out that as your income will be changing it may be a good idea to re-examine your pension. After all, you will want to enjoy the same standard of living after you retire. Our app shows you at a glance what the financial consequences are, both now and in the future. For the time being, we hope you have a pleasant day tomorrow, your first day in your new department.”
Financial institutions possess mountains of valuable data. Many institutions make smart use of this data through business intelligence by collecting raw, unprocessed data and converting this into valuable information. However, generally speaking, clients are provided with this information through batch processing. Large groups of people who are experiencing similar changes in their personal or financial situation are simultaneously sent mailings containing general information on a particular subject with no real personal touch attached.
Strike while the iron is hot
The disadvantage of batch processing is that you are always one step behind. You want to act as soon as an event in the life of a client takes place, in real-time, not days or even weeks later. If a sum of money is deducted from an account from the United Kingdom and then again from Asia ten minutes later, you want to be able to cancel the second transfer right away and send a warning to the client, preferably even before the second transfer has taken place. In the same sense, if the financial situation of a client changes because he or she is moving, perhaps having purchased a much more expensive house, you may want to take action before the move actually takes place.
Real-Time Business Intelligence (RTBI), as this is so neatly termed, is already part of the daily routine of financial monitoring and fraud detection. It is now time for the financial consultancy world to take steps in this direction too. With a single goal: creating value by being truly relevant to the client. By reacting directly to changes in the financial situation of a client, you create added value, enhancing and truly personalising the customer experience. Online bank Knab, for example, has already come a long way in this. The bank sends you a warning as soon as something changes in your situation. If you have too much money on a current account, or if you are overdrawn, you are sent an email containing tips to rectify the situation. This is target marketing in the form of financial advice.
Now more than ever before, clients are demanding a collaborative and personalised approach to financial planning. Your clients do not want to receive generic emails (or any other communication) and have to try to determine why they are even receiving it. It should be clear to the client that the communication is meant specifically for them. This not only ensures the client understands exactly why they are receiving the communication from you, but it also makes them feel important to you as a client.
For a long time, the incapacity of the infrastructure to cope with huge volumes of data presented an obstacle. However, the arrival of cloud computing has removed that obstacle. It is now possible to scale up quickly and temporarily. Now that large volumes of information no longer present a problem, the greatest challenges probably lie in the strategy and mindset of the financial services providers.
Starting from client acquisition, data gathering is key to understanding the full financial status of each person. Whether the information is collected through face-to-face meetings, aggregation tools, or clients manually entering data through a portal, advisors are there to understand each unique client situation. Once you have collected all this data, you should really be asking yourself every day how your clients are doing and what you can do for them. This also means that organisations must be clear about what their added value is to each and every client.
In order to utilise this added value in real time, organisations need to view their data mountain from a different angle. In this respect, it is important not to focus too strongly on data. It is better to determine in advance what information is important to the organisation and to the client. After all, what is the use of data if it cannot be placed in a context? By creating a link with marketing information and consultancy processes, you can really bring all of your data to life. This creates an opportunity to get closer and closer to the actual situation and give truly personal advice unique to every financial situation of every client.
By Mick Hanswijk, Chief Innovation Officer, Advicent Solutions.
Read more from Advicent Solutions below:
Human advisor and robo-advisors side by side? by Jean-Francois Rodrigues, Senior Account Executive, Advicent Solutions.
Balancing financial robo-technology and personal touch by Tom Burmeister, VP, Enterprise Accounts, Advicent Solutions.
Royal Bank of Scotland leverages FCA-approved digital advice in the UK by Anthony Stich, Director of Global Marketing, Advicent.