The range of services that many of us transact with online these days means our expectations when it comes to getting ‘onboard’ with a business or supplier means we expect to be able to do it without any difficulty.
Everyday we are used to receiving reassuring automated notifications. Just take the likes of Amazon who automatically send you an email confirming purchase, that the payment has gone through, a tracking method for the purchase - you get a sense of control and peace of mind.
We have become all to familiar with this way of doing things. So imagine advised clients that are trusting in a firm to manage their financial affairs to not feel in control and informed right at the start of the relationship.
"Getting one or two elements of the onboarding journey absolutely right doesn’t help if the rest of the process isn’t joined up or as effective."
Joined up processes
Businesses can talk all they like about being committed to good service, but the onboarding experience is often the first opportunity for the client to see how true that stated commitment might be.
The financial services industry still offers too many examples of what a poor onboarding process looks like - manual, elongated (creating maximum drop-out opportunities) and time-consuming for both firm and client. It’s not a great start.
So what does the XPLAN onboarding process look like? It’s about making life easier for the adviser and giving the client a much smoother, easier, more coherent process than the manual one they still have to grapple with all too often.
Getting one or two elements of the onboarding journey absolutely right doesn’t help if the rest of the process isn’t joined up or as effective. The digital front-end is vital, but so too is the way in which the other tasks of onboarding flow in a way that enables the adviser to focus on productive activity.
"A great onboarding process creates fantastic opportunities to scale, efficiently and profitably."
Prevent client drop out
This requires intuitive systems that are outcome based, rather than linear software processes unable to respond to the outcomes of each task. The linear process may look good from the design perspective, but in reality it can be inefficient, protracted and demand more from the user than is necessary.
If the client is repeatedly required to complete and submit numerous paper documents during the onboarding process, there is clearly an increased chance of drop-out and therefore damage to the brand perception.
The automated, intuitive XPLAN workflow creates efficiency and reduces duplication throughout the process, with many different tasks performed automatically on the adviser’s behalf. When the client record is set up the other elements then fall into place without the adviser having to spend valuable time and resource on manual tasks.
The system can send the adviser automatic notification that the client is onboard, help prepare information for the adviser and allow other parts of business to prepare the relevant documentation.
The adviser can focus entirely on building the relationship, without the time consuming distraction of endless paperwork. In addition, the time savings create greater capacity for bringing more clients onboard without any compromise of service quality. So a great onboarding process creates fantastic opportunities to scale, efficiently and profitably.
" A coherent workflow leaves the client with the impression of a service that is modern, efficient, personal and secure."
Client portals, client satisfaction
From the client perspective, access to the online client portal from day one allows them to follow and interact with the onboarding process and feel as much part of it as they need to, providing a sense of engagement, collaboration and control. Clients are used to this level of personalisation in many other transactions and services – so they will probably expect it from an adviser or wealth manager too.
The XPLAN onboarding process is also one with workflow capabilities that ensure the different touch points are genuinely joined up, creating more valuable time and costs savings. While a fragmented process with partial solutions might entail dealing with seemingly independent departments, a coherent workflow leaves the client with the impression of a service that is modern, efficient, personal and secure.
Clients are also left with a positive perception of an adviser whose main focus is on their needs, and not on tasks that consume much more of the adviser’s time than they should do. The client will see that adviser as one with the capability to respond to them quickly and with relevant and accurate information.
We talk a lot about the vital efficiency gains achieved by adopting more effective workflow systems and technology. The XPLAN process that begins with onboarding is one in which those gains can really snowball, to the benefit of the client, the adviser, and the overall reputation of the business.
A version of this article first appeared in Professional Paraplanner, UK.
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