In the financial industry, the ability to build and maintain solid relationships determine a wealth manager’s success. This is especially true when managing the assets of high net-worth individuals. For these clients, good advice alone isn’t enough. They expect brilliant customer service that takes into account their unique financial status, personal interests and communication preferences.
Today’s generation of investors have new expectations on top of all this.
A report from Accenture found that millennial investors believe they are savvy investors (six out of 10 said they understand their holdings and investments as well as a professional). They are also more price conscious, want more digital touchpoints and are less trusting than their parents; more than half believe their advisors are only motivated by salaries and bonuses.
These new perspectives are forcing wealth managers to rethink their approach to customer management. Human-centered design is helping them remap the customer experience.
At a recent design thinking workshop for wealth managers hosted by the Hubbis Asian Wealth Solutions Forum, presenter Ken Kwan spoke at length about the discord between wealth managers and younger investors. “Friction is the central issue,” noted Kwan, who is co-founder of the Curious People Solutions and adjunct professor at the London School of Economics in Singapore. “They want fast response, fast interaction… they want to take charge of their own experiences and to derive their own outcomes.”
Data from Raconteur suggests similar information. A 2019 survey shows that 66 percent of young investors want a self-directed investment portal with adviser access, and only 20 percent want to work exclusively with a human advisor. “These are digital natives, who want autonomy over their own financial decisions and see anything other than a simple, straightforward customer experience as friction,” the report states.
That doesn’t mean wealth managers will soon be obsolete. But it does mean they have to eliminate friction by using empathy to create emotionally engaging customer experiences – whether that’s with a live advisor or an automated robot.
The shift might seem full of irreconcilable demands to traditional wealth managers. On one hand, young investors want digital touch points and robo-advisors like Wealthfront or Ellevest. On the other, they want hand-holding and expert advice. The Accenture report found that this group sees value in guidance from seasoned professionals.
The data is clear – wealth managers need to adapt their business model for the next generation of investors, and find the right balance between advanced technology and human-centered solutions. It will be a tough shift for financial-service companies who often struggle with change.
Millennials will soon be the most economically powerful generation on the planet, and they will invest that wealth. The companies that meet their demands will reap enormous benefits.
Read more about human-centered thinking and the financial industry in our post on the U.K.’s largest consumer bank and its design transformation.
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