Demand for an improved digital experience has been growing steadily and a rising number of challengers have arrived to satisfy that demand. As consumers have become accustomed to doing everything from the weekly shop or booking a cinema ticket to their daily banking on their phones, they have begun to expect the same from all service providers. As those same consumers get used to offerings from challengers, their expectations rise further.
The pandemic has only accelerated that demand and while the current challenger brands may not seem like a threat to established wealth management firms, many high net worth investors are already testing the waters with these apps and it’s clear that an integrated digital offering is only going to become more important in the future.
Mistakes made in digital user experience are very public; a portal or app is a virtual storefront and should reflect the same quality, attention to detail and value that can be found in your real-world interactions. In looking at the ways that digital user experience can fail to deliver the quality standards that clients expect, we can see it’s not just technology that needs an upgrade. Rethinking user experience as an aspect of service provision can provide a fresh perspective that leads to greater success.
Customers expect convenient services on demand – but they may not say so
Many of the mistakes made in digital user experience design relate back to analogue processes. When companies try to replicate a legacy process online, the user often becomes frustrated or confused. Examples of this include:
- Applications which require multiple steps to complete a task;
- Duplicate and repetitive requests for information;
- Break points in multi-channel communication, such as an email notification to log into a portal;
- Live chat functions only logs requests for an appointment during office hours.
In addition, established wealth management firms have invested heavily in portals and often that development is piecemeal, meaning that there is inconsistent branding, messaging and instructions throughout. After such significant investment, it may seem natural to hold on to what has been built, but if clients are migrating onto more user-friendly apps and expecting more from digital interactions, it may soon become more costly to stick with the existing solution than to upgrade.
“The pandemic forced many people of all generations and backgrounds to adapt to more virtual services, but unless they are digital natives, they may not be the best source of insight when it comes to future developments.”
Another common mistake is complacency about the level of digital service and with that, an assumption that customers are satisfied with what they have. While most successful digital solutions may be targeted at a younger audience and a lower-value consumer market, that doesn’t mean the demand isn’t there among HNWI clients. The pandemic forced many people of all generations and backgrounds to adapt to more virtual services, but unless they are digital natives, they may not be the best source of insight when it comes to future developments.
There may never be a replacement for face to face interaction when it comes to relationship building with some clients, but part of maintaining relationships and scalable growth is going to be to go where your customers are. This issue becomes more urgent given the potential assets at stake as wealth transfers between generations. Understanding who your customers are and, more importantly for sustainable growth, who your customers will be in the future can guide the design of all your digital solutions.
If you build it, will they come?
Just because customers aren’t demanding that you build a full-service mobile experience, it doesn’t mean they aren’t comparing you with other services they receive online and starting to shop around for a service provider that already offers a solution. Building and launching a fully integrated digital user experience that takes customer expectations and convenience into account can help to build customer loyalty and increase retention and share of wallet.
Once you’ve satisfied your existing clients, you will find that this digital solution could be a powerful way to attract new business. Putting the experience of the user at the heart of your plans is an effective way to make sure that what you build is effective in delivering these goals.
While wealth management firms cling to cumbersome administration within legacy portals and seek to replicate this interface across all digital platforms, the user is left out. This is because it will be a design that serves existing, often inefficient and paper-based processes. Approaching the design by considering the “jobs to be done” (JTBD) principle will often not only create a more positive user experience, it will also create new efficiencies. While requirements and expectations may change over time, the fundamental tasks within the digital user experience will remain largely static. Putting this at the heart of the design not only benefits users, it will also allow you to refine and improve your digital offering over time without requiring a major overhaul for each new release.
Creating this new experience is just the first step of what should be an iterative process; continual improvement should be embedded into the design. Tracking user journeys – including when clients drop out of a process, or when human intervention may be required – may be a more effective way to gather information on what customers really think about your digital offering. Implementing an annual digital review can be another reminder that in the digital world, nothing can be taken for granted and there will always be new functionality and additional client expectations to come. The challenge for wealth management firms is often that there is a significant knowledge and capability gap within the business. Employing digitally native experts focused on user experience will put this issue at the heart of future developments.
Working with partners on these developments can also be beneficial because not only will this help to bridge the gap in capability, you have access to the latest thinking in digital user experience which can help to inform a digital review with some benchmarking and highlight future opportunities.
Fintech ally for digital wealth & investing
CREALOGIX supports wealth managers seeking to implement a system of engagement for a truly digital wealth service. Taking both consumer demand and regulatory requirements into account, we help to bridge the capability gap regarding user experience and offer a range of tools to help wealth management and investment management firms put digital at the heart of their service proposition.
CREALOGIX was recognized at the Goodacre Systems in the City Awards on 10th September with an award for the Best Client Self Service System.