We all have our favorites of the digital world. Brands such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and TikTok are just a few examples of market leaders that capture the headlines and our attention. The experiences we have with these platforms impact our expectations for digital interactions with other brands. They set expectations for everything from purchasing groceries to working with financial service providers. Understanding what those expectations are and how to best address them is the key to attracting and retaining the future wealth management client. 

client experienceWhat do these digital experiences offer and how can financial service providers best leverage them to attract and retain the next generation of financial consumers? There are five key themes in client experience that these players have mastered to set themselves ahead of the pack. These themes don’t stand on their own, but rather, they are highly intertwined with a focus on client needs and desires at the center of it all.

Hyper-personalization: A generic, one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.

Clients expect personalized experiences tailored to their specific wants and needs. 

  • Anticipate their needs: Anticipating a customer’s needs before they ask is the pinnacle of a great customer experience. Leveraging machine learning and predictive analytics, financial service platforms can anticipate life and financial events before they even happen.
  • Recommendations: The most successful consumer digital platforms make recommendations in real-time by applying advanced analytics on an individual’s data, open banking data, and broader consumer behaviors. In conjunction with anticipating needs, recommendations can become powerful tools to drive clients to new products and services.
  • Targeted education: Today, we can pull educational content from a multitude of sources. The challenge for organizations is making the education relevant and contextual, and that speaks to the client’s specific situation. Combining knowledge of the client with predictive and advanced analytics, personalized and dynamic content can create greater meaning and engagement.
  • Tailored products and services: Clients today can customize everything from the cars they purchase to the athletic shoes they wear. If you can offer clients products that are customized to their specific needs, you’ll create greater loyalty in the long run. Enabling personalization at scale is the key to the enterprises success.

Frictionless: Elegant, easy, simplified and mobile first.

Consumers expect the “buy now” experience in everything they do. If a client experience feels clumsy, has too many steps or asks for too much, you’re creating friction.

  • Minimal data entry: The best experiences ask clients only for a minimal amount of information at the right time. This creates a simple transactional experience and builds trust. The challenge is to avoid inflicting the information needs of the enterprise onto the client. Leveraging defaults and preferences and predicting information needs help minimize data entry (or make it feel minimal).
  • Elegance: This is all about design, and a focus on making the client experience desirable, enjoyable and pleasing to use is critical. Great experiences move beyond the basics to use sound, animations and haptics to create a visceral connection. They equally focus on human-centered design, focusing on what the client desires, not the enterprise.
  • Simplicity: As Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” The concept of simplicity is to shield clients from the complexities of what they are doing to make it feel as though it’s easy. The best experiences don’t reveal what’s behind the curtain. They also limit the number of choices to avoid the “paradox of choice” dilemma. 
  • Accessibility: Being accessible means more than merely providing a mobile experience. Clients expect full functionality of a service provider on any device at any time. This can’t be achieved with just making a mobile friendly experience. It must also incorporate all characteristics of minimal data entry, elegance and simplicity to be successful.

Gamification: Implementing gamification has the power to enhance customer engagement, broaden awareness of new products and services, create stickiness, and influence behaviors.

It also allows you to reach new customers and gather more data about clients without breaching the “trust” threshold.

  • Setting and tracking goals: In its simplest of forms, the ability to set and track goals is a form of gamification. It lets the client set and track a milestone for achievement. It’s critical to make the goals realistic and show their progress in real-time. 
  • Rewarding success: Rewarding behavior is a foundational element of persuasive technology, which is used in the most successful social platforms. Rewards can come in many forms, from financial or points, to unlocking features or badges denoting success. 
  • Comparing against others: Incorporating this type of gamification can take many forms, from pure competition with others (i.e. Peloton sessions) to benchmarking your performance against others (i.e. Nest energy savings) to comparing your use of products or services to others like you (i.e. those with kids are likely saving for college using a 529 plan). Comparisons do not need to be publicly competitive, but can be inwardly focused to drive behavior and engagement.

Education: Personalized, engaging, immersive, and entertaining.

Access to the right education at the right time is the key to success for any platform. Creating stickiness and connecting with consumers is more than just offering facts and data.

  • Personalized and contextual: Generic articles that attempt to speak to everyone connect with no one. Leverage what you know about your clients — their goals, portfolios or financial behavior — and you’ll be able to create personalized and contextual education that speaks to their specific situations. It communicates that you know your client and care about their unique situations.
  • Engaging and immersive: Launching a web page with static content or sending a message with a PDF are neither engaging nor immersive. Clients expect their content to be interactive, allowing them to explore and immerse themselves to discover more insights. 
  • Entertaining: Education doesn’t have to be boring. In reality, clients love education that’s dynamic, energetic and even entertaining. Personalize education to your client’s situation and their unique styles of learning, leveraging vignettes, stories, appropriate music and humor that connects and engages.

Social: Clients want to do more than post pictures or "like" a friend’s posts.

They also expect interaction and sharing from their social experience. Give them opportunities to interact with others who share their interests. It creates a sense of community, a forum for education and a chance to bring shared value. 

  • Exclusive: A social community creates a sense of exclusivity and importance. An invite-only approach can create demand and interest in your products and services. Some firms approach this through a referral-only model, while others base it on specific entry criteria. 
  • Connecting: Create a sense of belonging with a social community that lets members share events, interesting articles, collaborate, and engage. This moves the relationship beyond products and services to connection and meaningful engagement.
  • Educational: Curated social communities can create unique forums for democratized education. Members can share insights, experiences, and perspectives with others, elevating the conversation. The key is to ensure the content is curated and moderated.
  • Inspiring: Sharing stories, success and accomplishments in a social setting can inspire others into action. Inspirational stories can be a powerful tool to get others to think about saving, paying down debt, investing, or giving back to the community.

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SEI Ventures team: Russ Kliman and Jennifer Ciotti