Your Business

Using tech to meet clients on their terms

November 2016

Of the many advantages to emerging technology, engaging clients is pretty much number one.

From video to social media, technology can help advisers meet customers where they’re at, create a more efficient advice business and simplify and reduce compliance.

That’s the conclusion from a recent round table discussion of industry experts, held by Independent Financial Adviser.

Sacha Loutkovsky from Orion Financial Group says technology must be relevant to an adviser’s digital marketing strategy.

“Because you could spend a lot of money, go at this willy nilly and have all these different types of technology but not really utilise it properly.

“It comes down to identifying who your clients are, what your target market is, what’s important to you, how you’re trying to grow your business and then just implementing piece by piece.”

And it doesn’t have to be expensive and scary. If you’re struggling to get your head around it, then find somebody who’s doing it, pick up what you can from them and start the journey, says Fortify Financial managing director Glen James.

Orion uses a webcam and email to send explainer videos to clients; Fortify uses an iPhone and a whiteboard to do the same.

Integra Financial Services adviser Deborah Kent also uses iPhone to produce video. She says client engagement has “gone through the roof” since it started. “We have a held mic and lights to make sure the lighting is right. So at any time we can go ‘bang, let’s do a video’ and pump it out.”

Kent says the business was great and doing good things but had reached a point where it “felt flat”. It made the decision to embrace technology. And just making that decision is the only real challenge firms face, she says.

“What you do today that makes you successful may not make you successful in the future. So it is about continually looking at your business and looking into the future and seeing where it’s going to be placed so it stays relevant. And that’s why we decided to bring in all of the technology so we completely rebooted the business.”

ANZ Wealth aligned dealer groups general manager Darren Wherat says more and more people will engage with advice as more advisers take this approach. It removes the ‘mystique’ of advice and allows people to engage with advice in their time and way, as it’s convenient for them.

Practical tech tips

Deborah Kent, Integra

  • Technology software such as Skype, GoToMeeting is good to relate to clients at a distance.
  • Savings calculators and similar tools, such as those found on MoneySmart, can help clients track their spending.
  • Emailing videos is great to directly deliver a relevant message to clients, even for such situations as when markets “get a bit wobbly”, a video means clients are looking at and watching someone, which is a better, more personable experience than reading through it.
  • Advisers use of smart pens that record conversations, which back-room staff then turn into notes and relevant documents, can be a hugely efficient measure in getting things done.

Glen James, Fortify

  • Advisers must use the appropriate technology for client needs, looking at the specific task they want to achieve and marrying that to the technology solution, whether complex or simple.
  • Fortify uses spreadsheets available to clients through Google Docs, which acts as a “live” document between client and adviser. Other clients use the online tool Moneysoft in a similar way.
  • For internal communications Fortify uses Google Hangouts for video chatting.

 

The roundtable was held by Independent Financial Adviser, moderated by editor Linda Santacruz, sponsored by ANZ Wealth.