The Promise of Next-Gen Communications: Happier Clients, Lower Costs

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A new generation of data-driven digital tools is enriching wealth management relationships by allowing advisors and firms to personalize communications with clients. 

A recent trip to my favorite coffee shop reinforced to me just how powerful personalization can be for anyone looking to build strong relationships with clients. Although I’m just a basic coffee-with-cream type, other customers around me—and not just millennials—were sipping drinks customized to their most minute preferences. Watching baristas take these complicated orders, brew up the beverages and then call out customers by name, I couldn’t help but be impressed. It was “personalization with efficiency” in action—and based on the look on people’s faces when they took that first sip, it was delighting customers.

Caffeine buzz behind me, I am similarly excited about how my own industry, financial services and wealth management, can replicate “personalization with efficiency” that benefits both clients and the advisors and firms who serve them.

From Static Communications to Engaging Experiences

Investors receive a steady flow of communications, including account statements, trade confirmations, prospectuses, proxy materials and more. Every one of those is an opportunity to wow clients by quickly meeting an immediate need, educating them about a topic related to their current financial situations or simply starting a conversation.

But getting to that “wow” moment has been hard. Because legacy technologies prevented extensive personalization, the industry stuck with standardized print communications that were unlikely to differentiate or facilitate deeper discussions. Even digital communications are often linked to those same standardized static PDFs. Have you tried reading a 10-page statement on your cell phone?

Today, new technologies are helping wealth managers turn generic communications into personalized, interactive experiences tailored to clients’ interests and goals. These new digital offerings summarize accounts, transactions and performance, highlighting information most relevant to individual clients. They present insights into markets, investment ideas and product recommendations based on the investor’s specific life and financial situation. This approach also works for print documents, using QR codes that bring investors to the digital experience. Best of all for wealth managers, these platforms deliver personalized “wow” at scale.

For example, in 2022, Broadridge, in partnership with Cetera Financial Group, rolled out Wealth InFocus, a new communications experience designed to consolidate the most important account information and regulatory reports into simple, interactive, and highly engaging experiences personalized to individual clients.

Investors are hungry for this type of communication. Nearly 90% of Cetera’s surveyed pilot clients asked to receive this type of personalized communication on an ongoing basis. And, according to Broadridge’s 2023 CX and Communications Consumer Insights report, 74% of consumers want a more personalized summary communication with goal-based performance updates, key activities and recommendations. This is up 13 percentage points since 2021.

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Speeding Wealth Management Digitalization

The transition to data-driven communication experiences is becoming easier with third-party technology firms helping wealth managers make the jump at lower cost, and with less disruption. Some of the biggest names in the industry are already reaping the benefits of outsourced next-gen communications solutions. By eliminating cost and complexity, these platforms quickly and dramatically enhance the quality of communications for investors, creating better client connections for advisors and accelerating digital transformation for wealth managers. Firms who embrace these tools are creating a significant competitive advantage: a personalized “wow” experience that clients should find every bit as rewarding as their favorite coffee.

Doug DeSchutter is President of Broadridge’s Bank Broker-Dealer and Customer Communications Business

https://www.wealthmanagement.com/technology/promise-next-gen-communications-happier-clients-lower-costs

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