The introduction of new regulations and technology means that financial services firms have undergone major changes in recent years. This combined with a new generation of well-informed customers has resulted in greater costs for doing business than ever before.
Therefore, as the market continues to strengthen, increased value is being placed on unlocking the potential of existing customers, as well as the customer journey and satisfaction. Other industries, such as the retail and travel sectors, are working hard to understand both their customers and the true value of their client base, but can the same be said of financial services firms?
For example, are you aware who your most valuable clients are? Do you know the current and potential future worth of your clients? How much are the margins from your most valuable clients impacting on the value of the others?
Financial advice firms need to focus on profitable growth – and a key part of achieving this is management information (MI). Quick and easy access to high quality, accurate data will support the expert decision-making required for long-term success and longevity.
MI is no longer a set of static reports or spreadsheets; it’s now a dynamic and interactive tool to help you make decisions. There are solutions available today that allow you to drill down into large amounts of data and interact with it, enabling you to identify key growth opportunities and areas for improvement.
One example of this is the importance of time recording as a key measurement to help you make more informed decisions and improve the overall management of the business. Such time and activity recording should not be an onerous task, as the technology exists to automate this as far as possible.
Other potential opportunities that can be identified are unused tax/ISA allowances or the need for pension consolidation. In addition, with access to advanced MI, you can identify sales trends by product, region, office or adviser; spot cross-selling and upselling opportunities; or adjust marketing, sales and service resources as required.
Information is a prized commodity and financial advisers produce and manage some of the most valuable information in existence. However, legacy systems are limiting how much advisers can gain from this data, as well as preventing them from being able to see the total worth of their existing client base. Modern technology has revolutionised the financial advice process and is a must-have for advisers looking to streamline their processes, as well as ensure consistency and compliance.
Another feature of the modern market is that today's consumers expect everything and they want it for free. The reality is that all activity costs money, and clients need to understand the true value they are getting through access to an adviser's time.
Such accessibility is essential in today’s market, especially the need for omni-channel access and 24/7 service capability. By combining advanced MI with improved access to advisers, firms can fully capitalise on their two major advantages over other advice channels, namely their personal relationships and the trust they have built up over time.
All firms will have a different experience of MI and providing an omni-channel customer journey. Consequently, technology has to be able to adapt to allow firms to perform accurate client segmentation, enabling them to focus on profitability and helping them to find recurring revenue and growth opportunities.
Embracing both new technology and a client-centric approach is reliant on having the right foundations and culture in place, and this should be seen as a long-term investment in the business.
About the author
Head of Strategy and Propositions — SSP Select and SSP Adviser. “What interests me is understanding how the financial services and general insurance sectors are evolving and helping clients respond to the challenges that this brings. I really enjoy working with clients to identify the business and operational drivers of value and then designing and delivering innovative insurance solutions that help them to meet tomorrow’s challenges.”More content by Sham Gill