Having weathered the major changes of the last few years, financial services leaders – from across wealth and asset management, banking, P&C and life insurance convened at our 10th annual Hearsay Summit to share first-hand insights and learnings and discuss what’s next for our industry.
To kick things off, CEO Mike Boese and guests examined three new dynamics and trends on the road ahead that will not only impact organizations and their agents and advisors, but also the client journey.
Dynamic #1: Hybrid wins
During the pandemic, consumers flocked to social media and online tools, and in response, many financial institutions accelerated their digital transformation. Several moved away from a purely online business model to reach customers seeking human interaction in their financial planning process. A hybrid approach blends the human touch with digitization and automation to create the best customer experience.
While some financial decisions require simple online transactions, others require the expertise of a seasoned advisor.
“Even with all the tools and information that are available to investors, having a trusted advisor to build you a plan and personalize it to you is invaluable,” said guest Beth Norman, Managing Director at RBC Wealth Management. “Social media for me has been a really great tool to allow potential clients to e-meet me and e-meet my team.”
Whether online, in-person, or via social media touch points, implementing a hybrid human and digital approach helps bridge the gap to better serve customers and their varying needs.
Dynamic #2: The “embedded” experience
Another way to blend human and digital is through embedded experiences that bring customer and agent centricity to product design processes. For example, this can mean bringing financial services into other customer processes, such as including auto insurance as part of a car purchase. From an agent’s perspective, this can mean embedding texting within CRM for quicker and more relevant customer outreach.
By implementing solutions like Hearsay Relate and Lead Actions, Allstate, has helped their field-level teams increase efficiencies during one-to-one engagements. For example, Lead Actions triggers the first text to a prospect on behalf of that agency to start the conversation quickly, then deploys intelligent workflows within their transactional and CRM systems, to modernize the customer experience. This makes it more effective for agency owners to seamlessly communicate with customers.
As the industry advances, we'll see even more innovative use cases of embedded experiences that enhance the customer experience.
Dynamic #3: Web 3.0
Another exciting development ahead is the next generation of the internet. Leveraging AI and blockchain as foundational technologies, Web 3.0 is powering new asset classes and a new world of interactions, as seen in consumer uptake on distributed financial applications. For example, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether are not only increasingly being held as investments; they're becoming more widely accepted for payments as well. Web 3.0 is also bringing new paradigms to social networks, gaming, and transacting, with no signs of slowing down. JPMorgan Chase has introduced virtual branches, and Fidelity will support cryptocurrency as part of their 401(k) plans. It’s important that firms lean in and adapt, and that advisors have a point of view on topics like NFTs and virtual assets.
When leading any kind of digital transformation initiative, Lenny AcriGarofalo, Head of Advisor Platforms & Advisor Enablement at Wells Fargo, reminds us to always consider the customer experience. To that end, working in tandem with partners from teams such as legal, risk and compliance to develop seamless, integrated solutions always pays off. “Focusing on product co-creation and product development with our field directly — advisors, client associates, branch managers, supervision and home office roles — [is] really what helps us build the product and reimagine it and make things simpler.”
Many thanks to our opening session guests, Beth, Lenny and Roger, for sharing their insights on the customer journey! The road ahead is full of new experiences and challenges, but one message remains clear: Customers still require a human connection in their financial planning process. It's essential that firms prepare for Web 3.0, embrace the hybrid model, and meet increasing customer demand for embedded experiences, all while providing dynamic, persistent, and personal communications.
View this and other sessions from Hearsay Summit 2022 to hear how experts are forging a new path in financial services.