April 29, 2020

8th Annual Hearsay Summit explores how to deliver a human touch at digital scale in extraordinary times

Hearsay Systems, the trusted leader in compliant digital communications and workflow solutions for the financial services industry, today announced it held its 8th annual Hearsay Summit in a virtual event on April 21-22, bringing together the top leaders in fintech. The two-day Summit featured keynote presentations and breakout sessions with executives from Allstate, American Family Insurance, Ameriprise, Facebook, Farmers Insurance, Fidelity, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, SIFMA, Starbucks, and more. These innovators led thought-provoking discussions on the most difficult challenges advisors and agents face in building stronger, more authentic client relationships at scale. In addition, Hearsay Systems announced its 2020 Innovator Award winners, who were honored during the virtual Summit.

Sessions at this year’s Hearsay Summit included various TED®-style talks presented by the industry’s biggest disruptors and innovators on various key topics, including:

  • Glenn Shapiro, President, Allstate Personal Insurance, Esurance, Encompass, Answer Financial: Shapiro delivered an impactful keynote presentation on customer centricity.
  • Brady Brewer, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Starbucks: Brewer delivered a talk on How Starbucks Puts Human Connection at the Center of Digital Strategy.
  • Brooke Forbes, Head of Technology, Fidelity Personal Investing: Forbes provided The CIO Perspective on Technology Imperatives in her insightful fireside chat with Clara Shih, Hearsay CEO.
  • Naveen Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Prudential Financial: Agarwal provided key perspective on the Importance of the Last Mile in a lively fireside chat.

The key learnings and highlights from this year’s Summit discussions, included:

  • Crises like COVID-19 accelerate the need for human touch at digital scale. While COVID-19 highlighted things financial services firms already knew, it also exposed the gaps. The crisis has accelerated the human digital transformation the industry has been working toward; and while the crisis is temporary, the behavioral change is not.
  • Human connections must be built on the clients’ terms, not the advisors’. It is important for advisors to focus on creating a cohesive, customer-centric ecosystem that gives customers control and allows them to choose the channel they prefer to connect or receive information. It’s the financial firms’ responsibility to create an authentic experience across each of these channels.
  • Omnichannel is not just digital – it includes face-to-face interactions, too. Digital transformation strategies must account for the human element and a full understanding of what role technology plays for their audience. In-person interactions reinforce and solidify the human connection and strengthen the impact of the digital touchpoints.
  • Product and price are no longer enough. Advisors and agents must be “approachable authorities.” The advisor’s role is to listen to clients and execute on fewer things – done well – and aided by technology. Technology will not replace advisors and agents, but non-technology-using advisors and agents will replace themselves. Firms must help them eliminate friction throughout the process, create scalable connections that add the most value, while pursuing a relentless focus on internal consistency so that each advisor, agent and wholesaler performs like your best.
  • Leadership + Humanity = Trust. Advisors and agents must ensure they are engaging clients in a thoughtful, compassionate and authentic way across every channel to establish trust in an advisory role.

2020 Hearsay Innovator Awards

During the Summit, Hearsay honored some of its biggest Innovators through its annual Innovator Awards program, which celebrates customers who leverage the Hearsay platform to delight and provide value to their clients in new and exciting ways. This year’s winners include:

  • Greatest Compliance Efficiencies: Christy Zielinski, MassMutual. Developed a process for monthly internal audits of supervision activities which harnessed automation to capture more activity while intelligently reducing the impact on compliance.
  • Most Influential Wealth Management Leader in Transforming the Client Experience: Chris Johnson, Janney Montgomery Scott. Since its inception in 2015, yearly adoption of the Hearsay program has grown over 280% under Johnson’s leadership.
  • Most Influential Insurance Leader in Transforming the Client Experience: Erin Fenton, Allstate. Under Erin’s leadership, Allstate has seen a dramatic increase in web traffic to Allstate.com attributable to the Agent Social program, while the rate of active agents on social and total published content rose 164%.
  • Best Strategy for Improving ROI – Hearsay Sites: Wendi Phillips, Co-operators (CA). Launched more than 600 fully custom themed sites in English and French to harmonize their sites for their bi-lingual Canadian audience.
  • Best Strategy for Improving ROI – Hearsay Relate: Nicole Schluender, Thrivent. Increased the leads generated through Advisor websites and rolled out Hearsay Relate to their entire field during the COVID-19 crisis to make sure communication between field representatives and clients never stalled.
  • Best Strategy for Improving ROI – Hearsay Social: Scott Carlisle and Kiersten Shank, Lincoln Financial Distributors. Led their wholesaler team to a steep increase in connections and content creation over the past year.

“2020 is proving to be the most challenging year many advisors, agents, and clients have ever faced, with COVID-19 and wildly fluctuating markets,” said Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Systems. “At the same time, these circumstances inspire amazing and innovative practices. I am thrilled that we can honor these Innovators and collaborate together, sharing best practices as we reimagine the advisor client journey.”

To learn more about how Hearsay Systems empowers financial professionals, visit hearsaysystems.com.

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About Hearsay
As the trusted global leader in digital client engagement for financial services, Hearsay Systems empowers over 261,000 advisors and agents to proactively guide and capture the last mile of digital communications in a compliant manner. The world’s leading financial firms—including BlackRock, Charles Schwab, and New York Life—rely on Hearsay’s compliance-driven platform to scale their reach, optimize sales engagements, grow their business and deliver exceptional client service. Hearsay is headquartered in San Francisco, with globally distributed teams in North America, Europe and Asia.

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