There’s a lesson to be learned from the old school insurance agents who did business over the kitchen table. Nothing replaces a face-to-face experience. No matter how advanced technology has become, face-to-face is by far, the best way to connect with a customer. Society is of the belief that technology hurts relationships by isolating individuals, rather than bringing groups together. Frequently, sending a text or email can seem more convenient at the time, despite it replacing the advantages often taken for granted when you can hear a person’s voice or see someone’s face; things such as tone and facial expression can get lost in translation. But for financial advisors, using mobile technology can actually help to reconnect advisors with disconnected customers. Mobile technology puts advisors back in that scenario by empowering them to take the business back to their customers’ homes, in the most intimate of places.
Typically, mobile technology is used for a point of reference to review account and customer data, but it has never been fully used for appending data. The industry has not yet seen a complete shift in advisors processing every aspect of business on the road. A significant amount of work is still completed in the office instead of on the go, but this is where the tablet gets its opportunity to shine. Tablets provide a great opportunity to review data on demand, anytime and anywhere and laptops allow agents to conduct more data intensive processes with spreadsheets. Technology has reached the point in development in which it can allow agents to take their business on the road without sacrificing functionality. The question that now remains is: when to use the laptop vs. the tablet.
The mobile customer experience
Mobile technology is fueling aparadigm shift in which advisors are taking business out of the office and back out into the field and their clients’ homes. This provides a great opportunity to form deeper and more personal customer relationships with more dynamic capabilities, such as your tablet’s ability to take a photo and include that photo with the CRM file. Showing a customer a financial plan on a mobile device helps that client to better understand his or her customer and to test out scenarios to come up with a plan that is right for the individual. If advisors can leverage mobile business tools while out in the field it allows them to set up customer accounts more quickly and cut down on processing costs by submitting forms electronically while on site. Additionally, having the client there to verify information as it is being processed in real-time can help to cut down on NIGO. If you’re really processing business on the go, here are the steps you need to take to make sure you’re ready to go mobile.
Steps advisors must take to go mobile
1) Make sure you have the mobile CRM in place
CRM is the hub of the advisor’s practice and having mobile CRM capabilities is the first step advisors will need to take to go mobile. Once the advisor has implemented a mobile CRM, everything else works in tandem, with the advisor leveraging that data for financial planning recommendations, forms filling for new account applications and content management. The idea is to duplicate as much as what is done in the office as possible and take it outside of the office to create a new, mobile customer experience.
2) Make sure everything is connected to CRM that you need
Evaluate existing processes and figure out how much of that you can shift off site. Everything you want to take on the road needs to be able to be integrated into that CRM; for example, reviewing accounts and filling out forms.
3) Evaluate existing business process
See what you have in place today and what can realistically be shifted to put you on the go. Identify candidates. If you’re building financial plans in the office, discover what you need to do to take it on the go. Of those processes you complete in your office, how many can you realistically take to the dinner table of your customer? Does this include your document imaging solution and your portfolio management provider?
4) Execute – try it!
Try two of the processes together at a customers’ house. Try CRM working in tandem with one of the other solutions together in a mobile environment. Start small with a two-piece integration. As an advisor you’re making a trial-run in front of your customer, and you don’t want to do that until you’re more comfortable with how mobile technology fits into your sales process. Take it slow.
5) Full-fledged mobile program and training
Once you’re comfortable with a two-piece integration, add another component to the mobile process. Wash, rinse, and repeat the process to build out the sophistication of your mobile platform, and train your agents on how to leverage the integrations to make the most them.
Bringing your core office technology with you as you travel, just as you would your smart phone, is the direction in which the industry is moving. Forget your desktop and embrace mobile, but move beyond the laptop to a tablet device in order to simplify the customer relationship and experience. The right mobile strategy will bring you an ease of business processing and enhanced client relationships that harken back to the old days. Your coffee, client and technology can all be in the same room again thanks to the tablet.