Every service business relies on the charm of its people – but how good are financial advisors at making things easy for potential clients before meeting?
Every service business relies on the charm and expertise of its people – but how good are financial advisors at standing out and making things easy for potential clients before that all important first meeting?
A new report from Cronofy reviewed the quality of those first moments across four key areas, and discovered that, while leaps have been made in content and design, there is low sophistication in the approach to scheduling and responsiveness.
The overall effect: marketing that makes a strong promise but disappoints in the followup. Furthermore, a lack of technology is surely making the process both less satisfying and more laborious behind the scenes.
Surprisingly, half of the FT Adviser top ten only supplied an email address and phone number to make contact. 60% provided some kind of form, but only two used that form in a more advanced way, explicitly asking what time would be good to speak.
This was the second highest average, and yet 30% still didn’t even present basic details like pricing within easy reach. At the top level, use of video and strong visuals created the greatest distinction, but saw only four brands take home all the available marks.
Shockingly, 3 of the FT Adviser top 20 didn’t reply at all in two weeks, even after we chased the enquiry. None of the companies reviewed delivered an instant response (easy to implement with basic technology) and accordingly, none secured the full points for clear evidence of automation to allow advisors to focus on the human element.
This category revealed the greatest gap between the average level of performance and the standards at which advisors are operating. Only two advisors even suggested specific times for meeting (which would allow us to immediately confirm and schedule. Every other example either offered no times at all, or just possible dates. There was no evidence of using technology to immediately offer and confirm appointments (let alone building it into the website as self-service.)
Cronofy Co-founder and CEO, Adam Bird describes the missed opportunity here:
“In a people business, it’s easy to think of tech as undermining the human touch. In fact, the opposite is true: it can make simple interactions like scheduling effortless and convenient for both sides, so your team can focus on making the best impression possible.”
Financial journalist Sara Benwell commented on the findings in an interview with Cronofy:
“The question that financial advisors need to ask themselves is: are we going to be the people who modernize, or is a tech company going to come in and try and do it? This might be a referral-heavy industry but experience still matters – if somebody recommends three financial advisors, it would still be the best experience that wins.”
In another interview, Jonathan McAlister of Asset Planning Corporation added his thoughts:
“I was surprised at the lack of sophistication in responses and scheduling because you would think that’s one of the most important parts. When you enquire about working together and don’t get a response back, it quickly feels like maybe I’m not valuable to them.”
“You always think: well, if I just give them a call and talk to them, that will be the quickest way to get it sorted. But in reality, they would rather have finite options presented to decide what works best. Being chased with phone or email tag that takes days is a good way to turn them off.”
Download the full report for more information and advice on how leading financial advisors can make a better first impression.
Every six months Cronofy organises a companywide meet up. This May, we met in Amsterdam to give our teams the chance to see our recently opened office and the sights this wonderful European capital has to offer.
Developing how your company describes and represents itself is a challenging and enlightening journey. You have to revisit long held assumptions and confront the reality of what your customers and the market value. I absolutely believe that you can only do this effectively with outside help.