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Living in the world of the mobile people

We live in a mobile world – the way that people communicate, shop, and consume information and media is now digital. The range and scope of digital tools, social media, and mobile apps is forever growing. Choice is key. 

An Oracle report underscored the importance of choice: “Firms that have already reached an advanced digital stage report an 8.6% increase in revenue, an 11.3% rise in productivity, and a 6.3% improvement in market share. Those that move too slowly stand to lose $79 million per billion dollars of revenue a year—and risk falling out of the race altogether,” it said. All of this was pretty evident pre-pandemic. But in 2022 we can now clearly see that wealth app usage is a trend that has grown and is here to stay. 

study by J.D. Power said: “It’s notable that more than one-third of investors who work with an advisor say they’ve increased their wealth app usage during the pandemic, 36% say usage has increased. Younger investors have led the trend, with 45% of Millennial investors and 30% of Gen X investors saying they have used wealth apps more frequently.” Clients want to be able to access their affairs independently and self-serve. The mobile tools to do that are an important part of the overall service proposition and contribute to increased wallet share and client retention.

And if communication through smartphones, telepresence, webinars, and online chats has risen dramatically, then advisors need to react, not just to service the needs of those who wish to deal with their advisor over a mobile but also those who wish to meet face to face – and everything in between. 

Advisors need a choice too. They can work from anywhere; home, a client’s office, their own office. They need to have access to their client’s details and be able to collaborate and share information with their clients anytime and anywhere. The key for the advisor is the access to the information while they are on the go- be that in a face-to-face meeting, a zoom call, or a WhatsApp chat. The need is for the advisor and client alike to be able to share files, screens, and even record calls no matter where they are, physically.

End-users, both advisors and clients, want WhatsApp, iMessage, mobile banking, and mobile app every day. They expect B2B tools to look and feel easy and intuitive to use and customize. A visually attractive, clean, and well-organized layout, easy-to-use search functionality and help tools, and some sort of wizard to guide users through a process are all key.

An obvious example of this in practice is scheduling meetings. Being able to do this in-app, by accessing someone’s calendar, is a slicker way of doing things than having back and forth over an email. There are now several apps in this space to meet this need.

Document management and storage are another good example. Instead of the advisor taking documents with them physically to a meeting, a robust document management solution can travel with the advisor and client digitally and securely. Thus instead of taking the person to the document, they come to the portal where all the documentation is centrally stored and able to be accessed and indeed permission for others, such as specialist advisors or lawyers, to access, where relevant. 

Giving advisors and clients anytime, anywhere access to information and establishing digital workflows in your business leads to better customer service and more profitable transactions. But care needs to be taken over choosing the right provider – one with an established track record and that is willing to offer a trial period, supported by help and support not just during the trial but on an ongoing basis is key to make sure the solution is leveraged meaningfully in the way that suits the advisor best.

By harnessing tools such as these advisors and their firms can increase their service proposition and add value to clients. It is an opportunity to increase engagement by meeting investors where they are.

Wealth management firms should thus, be looking at the mobile app and its content as a showcase for their business. They need to make sure that this is a channel that works for clients and has all the functions and design that customers need to make sure that both advisors and clients alike can work on the go. This is a tremendous opportunity to leverage their mobile apps as a powerful communications conduit between investors and advisors and in doing so, drive customer satisfaction via advisor interaction via an app.

The J.D. Power report underscored this. “Overall satisfaction among full-service investors who interact with their advisors via the wealth management firm’s mobile app is 40 points higher than among those who do not,” it said.