Why and How to Automate Client Engagement
Client engagement can often be challenging to define and measure for financial advisors. Unlike in other industries, engagement isn’t linked to making a purchase or joining a loyalty program.
Whether or not a client acts on advice, looks at the financial planning or investment process holistically, or even asks questions to their advisor are all indicators of engagement. However, simply fielding inquiries and generating reports isn’t enough to fully engage your clients.
Most clients want a proactive advisor. One report found that 62% of people deem proactive communication from companies important. According to Financial Advisor Magazine, 72% of clients leave their advisor due to poor communication, and 51.1% leave feeling that their advisor doesn’t understand their goals.
The problem for most advisors is that being proactive takes time and resources while limiting growth.
The good news is that automation can change that.
Can You Really Automate Client Engagement?
The short answer is: Yes.
For many advisors, automation and client engagement don’t appear truly connected. After all, how can you automate a relationship? Wealth management is an incredibly personal business, and personalized one-on-one connections are critical.
However, automation makes it easier than ever for advisors to spend more time supporting their client base.
An advisory firm can automate numerous repetitive or time-consuming processes such as portfolio spot-checks, simplifying investment decisions, and risk tolerance assessments. Many tools work in the background to provide you with more insights to prevent risk misalignment and more time to communicate with clients. As a result, you can proactively build stronger relationships without sacrificing growth.
Benefits of Automating Engagement
Automation has long been seen as a competitive advantage. However, until the last decade, applying it to complex processes has been difficult. The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence has made it easier than ever to replace repetitive tasks.
Some benefits specific to financial advisors include more:
- Time for clients
- Frequent communication:
- Convenient onboarding
- Accurate portfolio alignment
5 Ways to Use Your Automated Engagement Workflow
1. Centralize Your Data
Manually reviewing client portfolios through either spot-checks or thorough inspections not only hinders growth but isn’t sustainable for even small firms. Centralized and prioritized lists of customer data prevent advisors from being able to identify clients who need immediate support.
An automated growth platform for financial advisory firms can centralize and automate portfolio prioritization and analytics, enabling you to review all relevant information from a single dashboard.
Automating this organizational process enables you to spend more time engaging with customers rather than performing admin work. It also improves compliance, as there is less room for human error, and the process is standardized.
2. Keep Tabs on Market Sentiment
How your clients view the market is critical. While a customer’s risk tolerance rarely changes significantly, their emotional response to the market is highly volatile. Being able to identify which customers may need additional support during market turbulence can improve the customer experience and foster engagement.
However, it can be challenging to manually review your client portfolios and risk assessments to see who might need assistance. And you don’t want to appear passive and wait for a customer to contact you. If they don’t hear from you, they may choose to find another advisor.
The good news is that you can automate customer communication and determine how your clients feel.
An example is Nitrogen’s check-in feature. You can send an automated email asking clients two simple questions about their feelings on the market and their portfolio. Based on their answers and their risk tolerance, you can prioritize who to follow up with first.
3. Simplify Portfolio Analytics
As an advisor, it’s easy to quickly interpret portfolio reports and graphs. However, your clients may need extensive explanations to fully grasp the numbers on their statements. That’s why nuanced, personalized discussions are core to every customer engagement strategy. The problem is that many visual aids aren’t up to par.
Simplified portfolio analytics and visual markers go a long way in improving the customer experience, boosting engagement, and fostering trust. Items like Nitrogen’s risk numbers and simplified stress test visuals make it a cinch to explain complex market shifts to your clients. And, because these processes are largely automated, you don’t have to put together the reports yourself.
4. Streamline Client Onboarding
One of the most time-consuming tasks is onboarding new clients. On top of accessing and analyzing their portfolio, you have to determine your client’s risk tolerance as accurately as possible from the beginning. Otherwise, you may struggle with portfolio misalignment and customer dissatisfaction.
However, it is possible to automate parts of the client intake process. For example, you can use an online risk assessment form that connects to your CRM or customer engagement platform to accurately record and manage your client’s risk tolerance as you build their portfolio.
5. Leverage Marketing Tools
Marketing is essential for lead generation, but it can be extremely tedious. But you can employ marketing automation to streamline your experience. For example, you can add a self-serve Risk Number assessment to your website that calculates a client’s tolerance. You can also use technology like chatbots to respond to general questions and improve your customer service process.
You can also apply automation to email marketing (such as creating a welcome campaign for new clients) or ad campaigns.
How Do You Track Client Engagement?
Measuring retention and customer satisfaction is the best way to track customer engagement. These can be tracked manually or through your platform’s analytics.
Many customer engagement tools offer detailed analytics. For example, a CRM can track customer interactions, and survey software like Pulse360 or MyRepChat can help you collect more data from clients. Merging this with your growth platform, you can centralize your efforts – whether that involves marketing, generating leads, or other tasks – and identify more places to add automation to your process.
Get Started with an Engagement Strategy
The first step in automating any process is to map it out and understand how it connects to your overall objectives. Leveraging a client engagement strategy can help you determine what you need to focus on and can be automated.
To hit the ground running with your new client engagement initiatives, check out these eight engagement strategies for financial advisors.