The evolution of the financial sector in the digital era has resulted in a significant transformation, accentuated by the pandemic-induced acceleration towards digital adoption. Notably, the hybrid model of service delivery — a blend of in-person and digital interactions — has emerged as a consensus in wealth management. However, a key challenge that persists is maintaining consistency across these interactive channels.
Consistency across financial planning channels and customer journeys implies an integration of inputs and calculations across various interaction points. Imagine seamlessly transitioning from an online portal to an in-person meeting, where the data you previously entered on the firm’s website is readily accessible to a physical adviser. The guidance and advice you received in the self-service channel being aligned with the input you get from your human adviser.
This seamless flow of information ensures that your financial planning narrative is presented in the same way throughout your interactions with the institution. Similarly, when embarking on a pension savings journey, the adviser or digital interface is already informed of your existing financial products, like mortgages and savings with the firm. This integrated approach facilitates a more informed and personalised financial planning experience, considering your entire financial relationship with the institution. Overcoming the technical challenges posed by traditionally siloed financial services and legacy systems is key to achieving this level of integrated consistency.
Consistency in omnichannel financial experiences is important for several reasons. The first concerns trust and brand loyalty, the cornerstones of customer relationships in the financial sector. Consistent financial planning experiences across channels assure clients of reliable service, which is super-important in an industry where trust can be a significant differentiator. McKinsey's research reinforces this, showing that consistency in customer journeys significantly impacts overall satisfaction and loyalty.
The second reason revolves around quality improvements in financial planning/decision-making tools. Consistent advice and data across channels enable clients to make more informed and confident financial planning decisions. This is particularly important in a world where clients' financial needs and situations are increasingly complex and diverse. Kidbrooke’s investment and wealth analytics platform covers the entire customer balance sheet including retirement, short term savings, mortgages and protection products, enabling financial institutions to achieve coherent financial decision-making across siloes. Thus, utilising financial analytics consistently on the channel and journey level empowers firms to provide quality financial advice or guidance at scale.
Fredrik Davéus, CEO at Kidbrooke, builds on this by highlighting the necessity of real-time access to financial information. In today's fast-paced digital environment, clients expect immediate and consistent access to their financial data, regardless of the channel. However, Fredrik asserts that real-time access alone is insufficient. The real differentiator is the outcome-focused decision-support provided based on this data. Ensuring consistent, actionable insights across digital and human advisory channels is key to empowering clients and enhancing their financial planning journey, building long term trust in the financial institution
The third reason centres on enhancing the customer experience. McKinsey's studies reveal that consistency in customer journeys is 30% more predictive of overall satisfaction than individual interactions. A seamless omnichannel experience, therefore, plays a crucial role in retaining customers and enhancing their overall satisfaction with the financial institution's services. Today they can create deeper, more meaningful relationships by aligning services with customers' perspectives and needs.
Zaliia Gindullina, Head of Business Development at Kidbrooke, emphasises the importance of consistency in customer experiences. In a world where clients might switch between online tools and personal advisers, any discrepancy in advice or data can be detrimental. It's imperative for financial institutions to ensure that their online interfaces and personal financial planning consultations provide uniform and seamless advice and guidance.
Fourth, consistency leads to streamlined operations, reducing the complexities and costs associated with managing disparate systems for different channels. As highlighted by McKinsey, Optimising customer journey experiences can also lead to increased revenue and decrease customer service costs by as much as 20%. If you choose a financial analytics platform flexible enough to support your entire medium- to long-run strategic roadmap, you can also avoid many costly challenges associated with inter-organisational alignment and multiple compliance assessments. That said, it is crucial to ensure that the analytics suite of your choice is auditable, transparent, and easy to maintain.
Lastly, consistent customer journeys and channels may greatly help with strategic differentiation and innovation potential. In a competitive marketplace still dominated by a siloed and manual approach to wealth/financial planning, the ability to offer a consistent and holistic omnichannel service can significantly distinguish a financial institution from its competitors. This differentiation is essential for attracting and retaining clients who expect financial institutions to improve their financial planning well-being while seeking reliability and coherence in their financial interactions. Besides, consistency in service delivery allows for quicker adaptation to market changes and innovation in product offerings. As mentioned, this is achieved through less internal friction and compliance overheads and balance-sheet level modeling capabilities. As financial institutions strive to stay ahead in the digital era, the ability to rapidly deploy new services and features while maintaining a consistent customer experience is invaluable.
The financial sector's continued digital transformation requires a steadfast focus on consistency across all customer interaction channels. This consistency is not just a functional requirement but a strategic imperative, central to building trust, ensuring customer satisfaction, and achieving operational efficiency. Financial institutions must, therefore, harness financial analytics to ensure that their omnichannel strategies are underpinned by uniformity in advice, data presentation, and customer experience. The future of financial planning services lies in seamlessly blending technology and human expertise to offer consistent, reliable, and empowering financial guidance.