In talking with many financial advisors and institutions over the years, groups have evolved at different rates in how they use technology in their practice. Some shun it completely beyond the bare minimum of portfolios and modeling. Some are excited about what technology can do and know they should be trying to do more digitally, but aren’t sure where to start. And there are some, albeit a smaller group, that have fully embraced a blended business of digital and in-person experiences.
And beyond the traditional financial advisors and institutions, there are companies that have popped up in the last handful of years that are fully digital and, in many instances, driven not by people directly, but by machine learning or AI. These companies are often referred to as ‘robo advisors.’
There’s no right answer for how and to what extent you should use technology in your own practice, but recent events have shown us that those who innovate and test new strategies now will be better equipped to handle shifts in the market later.
Control and Stability
Even amidst a pandemic, people are signing up for robo advisor services in droves. But what are people truly searching for? A way to manage their money? Sure. Though managing money is one piece of the puzzle, we believe that the reason people have flocked to advisor platforms is because they’re seeking a sense of stability and control in these uncertain times. What they’re really after, however, is comfort. A robo advisor has become a stand-in for a source of comfort and stability when people cannot leave their homes and have no existing relationship with a financial professional.
In times of crisis, it’s not really the ‘money management’ that people are seeking, nor is this what they’re seeking in times of calm and prosperity. The best way for traditional financial advisors to hold their ground with the emergence of robo advisors is to embrace technology in a way that supports their underlying mission and provides a point of leverage for client support.
Software + Human Interaction
Technology isn’t the competitor, it’s the secret weapon. Managing money might be something that can be automated but a person who has experience and compassion cannot be. Clients want to be soothed and reassured during significant life or world events and that’s not something that technology can provide on its own.
Now is the time to seek out ways to integrate more technology in your daily practice. It’s an exercise in finding creative and relevant ways to stay connected to clients when you can’t meet with them in person. There’s never been a better time to test and iterate on ways you can use technology to improve your client experience for when things shift back to ‘normal.’
Solutions such as Genivity are a great bridge between the in-person and digital experience. During this time of shelter-in-place or quarantine, advisors can use solutions such as our HALO assessment as a reason to reach out to clients and keep them engaged even while they’re not able to come to your office. This provides a way for advisors to stay top-of-mind with clients while also creating value for the client through their HALO assessment.
You can then either use it as a talking point when you’re able to have an in-person meeting or you can expand your digital experience further by having a video call or conference with your clients. The human element of any experience has never been more valued than it is today, so your clients will likely welcome a personal interaction, even if it is remote.
One Step at a Time
Small steps such as this can make dealing with times of uncertainty easier and it can also set up action items for the next time you are able to meet in person. It’s not always about the money, it’s about what money provides your clients: comfort and stability. Nothing is more important than that in times like these.
As the author Robert Greene is fond of saying, you can be in situations you can’t control, but what you can control is whether you use that situation as ‘alive time or dead time.’ Make this time of uncertainty ‘alive time’ for yourself and for your practice by researching new digital solutions and getting creative with how you can implement them with clients now and into the future.
If you’re unsure about how you can best leverage technology for your financial practice, we’re available to chat. Simply book a consultation today and we can discuss the best ways to help you stabilize and grow your practice through digital solutions such as HALO.