Increasingly, advisors are looking to technology to enhance their client experiences, form deeper connections and, ultimately, grow their businesses.
Smartphone apps, chatbots, automated email campaigns and other technologies featuring artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities have become an integral part of our everyday interactions, and they’re increasingly relied upon by advisors to engage with and manage client relationships. While some may argue that virtual communications result in less meaningful interactions, others argue that these channels may allow individuals to connect in ways that weren’t possible a few years ago.
When used correctly, technology and AI may enhance your client relationships and serve as tools that not only show your value, but help you demonstrate genuine care and provide the timely, helpful information your clients need. But there are several factors to consider.
Improving communications with your clients and prospects requires more than adding them to an email list and sending a monthly newsletter. True AI capabilities allow you to segment your email lists based on various criteria so that you can send targeted messages.
Many customer relationship management (CRM) tools offer these functionalities, but a robust marketing platform can establish workflows to hone in on your clients’ preferences even further. Other functionalities such as text messaging and chatbots can also deliver “smart” content.
A word of caution, however. Just because you can communicate with clients with ease, doesn’t mean you should. It’s important to respect your clients’ boundaries by delivering the right amount of information at the right time and connect how they want to connect. Some clients may prefer to keep some channels, like text messages, for personal messages only and may resent the intrusion from a professional organization. This stresses the importance of gaining permission and using opt-in campaigns.
A benefit of some AI applications is that they can anticipate a user’s interests or problem and offer targeted support. For example, if a client visits your website and downloads a guide about the different kinds of annuities, a chatbot may appear on your website offering to answer commonly asked questions about, you guessed it, annuities.
It’s also common for an automated email to be sent at a designated time to offer related content, extend an offer to connect with you in person, and nurture them in their decision-making process.
The use of AI technology may help clients and prospects feel more in control of their investment journey. Technology that’s simple, engaging and interactive allows them to search for answers and become more informed and educated on their own terms and timing.
Chatbots are becoming highly intuitive, and many people who interact with them may not even know they’re chatting with a bot instead of a real person. As chatbots become more commonplace, the public, in general, may welcome the simplicity and appreciate getting questions answered without having to talk with someone until they’re ready to do so.
An important factor to remember is that AI isn’t intended to replace human connection; it’s intended to enhance human connection. Let’s face it, there is likely an element of emotional effort required when speaking with a person, especially when it comes to finances, and not everyone may be ready to engage. This may be especially true for prospects.
Technology can serve as the introduction to you as an advisor and an invitation to engage on a deeper level. When that time comes, it’s important to be available and accessible. Make sure your website, emails and other forms of communication make it easy for someone to connect with you using the channels they prefer, whether that be email, text, phone, video chat or in person.
As the finance industry continues to advance, advisors may need to embrace automation and AI to engage with clients beyond their current efforts if they want to enhance their relationships and demonstrate their value. Personal phone calls, emails and face-to-face conversations will always have their place and can work together with artificial intelligence as part of a multi-channel strategy.
Investor behaviors may evolve as technology does, and our resource, An Advisor’s Guide to Behavioral Finance, helps you explore clients’ motivations and emotions surrounding finances so you can guide them toward purposeful goals and investment decisions. Click the link below to access it now.