Client and RM in lockdown: digital engagement ideas for remote-only wealth management
CREALOGIX undertook a study of how existing data visualisation and messaging features in our wealth management engagement platform could be combined in new UI to help firms communicate more proactively with clients, during a time when face-to-face meetings are impossible.
It’s a situation that neither investors nor their relationship managers could have expected: both sides having to work 100% remotely, using only digital channels to conduct the business of wealth management. The financial institutions which were further ahead in their digital transformation have certainly been better able to take this in their stride, while those who had put off technology investment are currently finding there is a lot to catch up with.
Our focus at CREALOGIX is software for empowering the end user, giving them self-service user interfaces which in turn enable the firm to make more efficient and smarter use of their front office experts. In April 2020, we undertook a design study to visualise how existing features of our self-service wealth management product, Invest, can be combined in new and powerful ways to address directly some of the challenges which have been highlighted and accelerated while client and RM are in lockdown.
The ideas presented here highlight three connected use cases for how a wealth management firm or private bank would use their digital engagement platform to address acute challenges faced in today’s situation. Beyond the immediate pressures to communicate with clients, we see these ideas as being very connected to how all financial brands’ platforms need to evolve, to improve differentiation for the firm and convenience for the end user.
Building new notifications, with the chance to react
The current crisis has changed the way in which organisations are able to communicate. Printed publications, static notices on landing pages and inserts in client reports and newsletters are too slow, too difficult, too costly to implement and do not enable firms to react in a fast-moving situation.
We started from what is already available in our multi-question multi-answer workflow engine, and conceived a communications builder to enable the organisation to deliver direct and relevant messaging without the need for complex IT or developer support.
In Invest there are four primary ways that the firm can get a message out to users of their digital services, such as in their portfolio view/reporting app:
- Pre-login announcements
- Post-login announcements
- Secure messages (similar to an email inbox, within the app)
- Mobile notifications
In our design study we envisaged that these channels could be used more flexibly, updating messages frequently as the situation demands, and involving a range of different staff rather than necessarily waiting on a single public communications manager. A flexible customer communications builder could be used by head of marketing, the CEO, head of front office, or a relationship manager to communicate directly with their client group.
Furthermore, by using permission groups for front office staff and segmentation of users (for example by RM assignment or by CRM criteria), these messages can be targeted at particular groups of customers based on status, for maximum relevance.
Because accuracy of information and tone of voice need to be controlled by the firm, the workflow we envisaged here includes CMS-style publishing statuses to support approval steps prior to distribution.
While we envisaged the wealth management firm using one or more channels for different messages and targeting purposes, we wanted to make this more than just a static announcement. The UI views above illustrate ways in which a particular message could have a response route attached to this.
Options for customers to respond could include a phone call or a video call, but alternatives could also be provided based on the tools already available in use such as live chat or secure co-browsing.
Use cases involve initiating a self-service questionnaire, allowing the customer to ask open questions to their assigned advisory team, or scheduling an appointment for a video call meeting. These are all common interactions which might be found in a mixture of places within digital and non-digital customer services, but we wanted to encourage the end users to be able to initiate these actions more easily, especially if there is a market event or opportunity which they might want to react to.
Getting an overview of customers’ digital activity
Next, we took a look at the output from the previous communication and considered how to aggregate data into useful summaries.
Engaging customers more actively with relevant announcements and interactive information-gathering processes means that the firm needs to keep track of customers’ needs in a greater variety of channels. Pulling together client relationship management data in one place, advisors need be able to identify which customers need help, whether that is because they are actively asking for support, or because they have become stuck somewhere.
The above UI view demonstrates a variety of data points around customer relationship and status management, which would help relationship managers prioritise more easily, and connect digital channels more closely with the day-to-day front office work.
Examples of information visible for a particular client summary include:
- Onboarding status
- Successful completion (or partially completed state) for key workflows such as a digital client fact find
- Flags or unread message counts based on secure messaging system and customer support systems
- CRM flags such as customers with outstanding tasks
The enhanced RM view we envisaged here provides the relationship manager with a summary of clients, supports simple searching and filtering, and is the springboard to enable the advisor to easily view a client’s holdings and accounts, something which staff users can already do via the “view on behalf of” approach in our product Invest.
Breaking down silos
In the above example there’s a small but important idea being expressed. Just because a client’s support issue is opened, tracked, and responded to within a dedicated support system, it doesn’t mean that it is only visible in that isolated system.
For example, if a client is experiencing an issue with login credentials they may well speak directly with a firm’s IT Helpdesk without the RM being aware of the issue. Clearly there is a benefit to surfacing that data for the people responsible for the overall client experience.
Data relevant to the client’s experience should be unified so it can be used more easily to provide a more slick and smart service. It is true that, in real digital deployments, there’s a whole range of integration work to address, and some likely customisation to adapt interfaces to the particular data available from different systems. However, addressing this question of liberating data from complex, disparate systems is a major area of experience for CREALOGIX, and it’s worth solving. Our view is that ensuring the right people within the organisation get access to the right data should be a priority for organisations whose business model demands an emphasis on personal relationships.
Digital service KPIs and management visibility
Until very recently, many wealth management firms had been able to consider digital adoption as a long term process dependent on the preferences of their customers. However, now that in most cases the best way for the client to receive services from the firm, and for the firm to deal with the client, are through digital channels, adoption rates and success are critical business KPIs.
At the same time, it has become more important for leadership within wealth management firms to understand and view these KPIs in a more up-to-date and accessible approach than, for example, waiting for an end-of-quarter report.
We looked at the data that is typically available to the administrators of digital services around the firm, and envisaged an approach which improves three key requirements:
- Centralising KPIs, with an emphasis on digital service adoption, and as far as possible using live data;
- Empowering more users with easy access to this data, particularly top management and operational teams who might not be technical / analytics administrators of the disparate tools;
- Allowing staff to drill down and see more detail about data most relevant to their role, so they can understand where numbers come from and potentially take action.
The above “command centre” UI concept represents the 50,000 ft view across the selected userbase and shows an aggregated dashboard giving access to real-time and relevant data
In practice today this data lives in a variety of different sources and systems ranging from audit databases, log files, analytics systems and IT ticketing systems. This is another case of breaking down silos, liberating data from disparate and often “legacy” systems, and empowering people with data that makes the service overall more self-aware and agile.
Information we surfaced in our UI concepts included:
- Count of clients and registered users on the platform
- Live statistics of active sessions and the devices being used
- Overview of onboarding journeys triggered within the platform
- Changes in digital users and journey completion versus previous time periods
- The different channels in use for customer communications – for example, if face-to-face meetings have dropped to zero (based on CRM activity tracking) then are digital touchpoints picking up?
Customer experience focused design sprints
Clients want more from their wealth management provider, and organisations must now accelerate their digital roadmaps to deliver better designed, more convenient, and ultimately better differentiating digital services to clients.
In the above examples, the CREALOGIX product team collaborated with internal UX and innovation experts to imagine how existing functionality and good practices could be enhanced. We achieved this through a design innovation sprint.
We use this process extensively to test drive innovation topics, to brainstorm new product features and to share these with financial institutions to encourage feedback and spur further innovation.
The driver today is clearly the immediate crisis, the associated shift in working practices, and the heightened importance of active communication to provide clients with accurate, up-to-date information.
However, it is our view that the themes and tools that we have looked at here are not only relevant to wealth management firms and their front office teams in the short term, but they are to be considered more generally as part of a robust and forward thinking digital service design strategy.
There isn’t any one “correct” way to achieve this, and so it is important to look for opportunities for collaboration between those who are providing the day-to-day wealth management services, and specialists who look at these services through their own lenses of software design and implementation.