I remember when things like talking appliances, cars that drive themselves and robots were the stuff of science fiction. The rapid advances in technology coupled with innovation could not have been imagined by most people, me included, 10 years ago.
But the more we are exposed to these new and emerging technologies in industries like retail, electronics and automotive, the more we expect similar ‘Customer Experience’ across all aspects of our lives.
I’m starting to see this science fiction-becomes-reality trend moving into the financial planning and advisory industry too. It is disrupting the traditional ways we’ve always communicated with clients, automating investment decisions with analytics and introducing data-driven applications and gamification. But no matter the industry or technology vehicle, the end game is the same – increasing engagement and improving the user experience. Because why shouldn’t clients be as engaged in planning their financial future as they are in other areas of their lives?
Three technology trends on the horizon
Digital Assets & Artificial Intelligence (AI)As an industry, we are getting close to a version of AI and voice-activated technology to help advisors with administrative and home office tasks so they can focus on serving their clients.
Imagine… coming into your office at the start of the day and using voice-activation to: pull and prepare files and documents for a client call; analyze data to input into a presentation for a new business meeting; or follow-up on various client administrative requests. All done with a simple voice command in a matter of minutes, so you and your team can focus on more strategic tasks and the delivery of superior service.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)VR and AR technology appeal to younger generations and millennials and could really transform the user experience for financial advice and wealth management. Both would allow you to immerse clients within various types of interactive content. And both hold significant potential to help enhance financial education and to make complex topics more easily understood for clients.
Imagine… taking your new client on a virtual tour through your office, introducing them to various experts and team members, and then walking them through a fully digital and interactive presentation with dynamic financial planning and assumptions- all in 3D to better present complex concepts in simpler terms.
Real-time engagementI know I’m lost without my phone or other connected devices. Wearables, texting and other apps for instant communication, from anywhere, is where everyone wants to be. That includes client interactions with all service providers, including financial advisors.
Imagine… being able to engage with your clients’ questions or address any issues in real-time, without having to schedule a sit-down meeting or phone call. All these are automatically logged for future interactions, which only helps in deepening relationships and making future interactions more meaningful-most certainly resulting in new referrals!
With any new technology, there is always a learning curve. I remember switching to a smart phone for the first time and I’m sure I’ll be a touch weary the first time I step into a driverless car. But I believe the drive towards digitization and the technology of tomorrow is inevitable. And our industry is taking note and making strides to stay with the curve in order to deliver the engagement and enhanced user experience that clients want and expect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Srinivas “JJ” Jonnada is Vice President, Retail Distribution IT for Lincoln Financial Group. In his role, he is responsible for technology strategy and its execution to enable Lincoln’s strategic objectives. These include, but not limited to, digitizing the Advisor & their Client experience, growing market share and making Lincoln easier to do business with.