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“If I don’t find you on Google I’m moving on!” - Part 2

02 May 2018Myra Knoesen

In part one of the article we looked at how technology has fundamentally shifted the way we live and how we do business, and the way it is reinventing financial services. In part two of the article we will look at the impact of social media on the financial services industry.

Adviser-led to customer-led
Moshe Tamir, Global Head of Digital Transformation at Generali, speaking at the Discovery Financial Planning Summit on 29 May 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre (https://goo.gl/flh13g) said, the sector needs to move from an adviser-led, linear sales process to a customer-led, digital one. While trust remains important, he notes the process from researching to purchasing happens digitally.

For example, customers might research a financial planner on Google. If the information they find is outdated or inadequate, they will move on to someone else. If they like what they see, however, they will reach out, via text, chat or email. They’ll then learn further on YouTube and only near the end of the process, arrange a meeting where the deal is done. After that, they will review and refer via digital channels.

What this means is that firms need to adapt by building tools for advisers to interact with clients across digital channels. Many have created ways for clients to communicate with the company, but many are still missing the ability for clients and advisers to communicate.

While Tamir says that trust is a critical element of financial services’ value proposition, humans can’t compete with algorithms when it comes to capturing information. He suggests leaving support functions to humans, where trust is required, and to leverage technology for the advantages that it can offer elsewhere.

If done correctly, this actually ensures that personal interactions become even more valuable.

Revolutionising consumer industries
In looking at some of the mega trends playing out in the broader financial planning sector, Kobus Kleyn, a Financial Services Professional (FSP), said the impact of social media on the financial services industry is undeniable.

“The new generation is more engaged with the information technology age therefore it is easy for the older generation to lose touch. Financial professionals must not only anticipate technology changes but remain innovative in how they engage with tech-savvy consumers. You have to embrace FinTech advances in all its formats and maximise each available communication methodology – whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn – in order to meet your clients’ demands and differentiate yourself while adding to your value proposition,” he said.

“One of the major advantages of social media is that it allows financial advisers to build a personal brand and global presence at very little cost through thought leadership and becoming the "Go to Person" within your industry/profession. It also provides you with immediate feedback on the new marketing approaches you try. The challenge is to find those applications that are most suited to communicate with both your existing clients and new prospects,” continued Kleyn.

He added that, “Mobile devices (specifically smartphones and tablets) are revolutionising consumer-based industries worldwide. A significant proportion of financial services transaction platforms are already smartphone-enabled and there is no doubt that such devices will become the most used platform to transact from in the future and the smartphone a single platform tool. Financial advisers will therefore have to embrace mobile devices and find ways to offer services to clients and prospective clients within a secure environment. The mobile device will become an all-in-one enabler for computing, search engines, online purchases and payments, healthcare needs, communication and so much more and its utilisation will vary significantly across the generations that your practice services.”

 

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