Ignoring LinkedIn is Hurting your Advisory Firm

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According to The Wall Street Journal, “At Social Media High, Facebook is the all-star quarterback, Twitter is the school paper’s editor in chief and Snapchat is the mysterious, Harley-riding transfer student. That makes LinkedIn the nerd who skips prom for the mathlympics.

However, within the financial services sector, LinkedIn is the all-star quarterback with 9 in 10 Financial Advisors active on this social network (LinkedIn). LinkedIn is a hub for growing your advisory firm, strengthening and nurturing your relationships, and building awareness for your business.

Signing up for a LinkedIn account and letting it gather dust will hurt your career – you need to be active on this social network. There are many little changes you can make to optimize your LinkedIn account, as well as many opportunities to engage with other LinkedIn users – more specifically your clients and prospects. Some of these engagement opportunities include:

  • Joining and contributing to relevant LinkedIn Groups
  • Posting updates for your LinkedIn network to see
  • Like and comment with updates made by people in your network
  • And so much more

LinkedIn recently conducted a comprehensive survey of Financial Advisors and found that 75% of Advisors who gained clients from LinkedIn stated that they use the site to improve their referral network. They gathered the top reasons Financial Advisors use LinkedIn, which included:

  1. Building brand identity
  2. Enhancing current client relationships
  3. Staying up-to-date on industry insights
  4. Improving their referral network

In a very digitally-centric world, it is important to acknowledge that as a Financial Advisor, you need to not only have a LinkedIn presence, but an active one at that. You must recognize that ignoring this all-star quarterback of a social media network could hinder your Advisory firm’s success. By staying active on LinkedIn, you could be a social media all-star, reach new prospects and grow your Assets Under Management (AUM).

3 Key Benefits for Digital Experience Platforms

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This post was written by Christine Reyes and appeared here first on Liferay.com.

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Business processes driven by customer needs are more than a popular trend; they are the driving factor behind successful digital transformation and company culture shifts.

Digital experience platforms are designed for companies that understand the importance of breaking down silos and bringing together data and channels in a way that can be shared among business units. Common features include analytics, customer context views, personalization and multichannel support.

Their goal is to enable companies to manage the elements of exceptional experiences with a clear view of business analytics, integration, comprehensive customer data and cost-effective implementation. Further benefits of digital experience platforms to digital businesses include the following:

1. Identify immediate needs in digital customer experience

As digital business becomes more personalized and unified across devices, it becomes increasingly important to interact with people at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Sophisticated data management streamlines the process of identifying customer pain points or gaps in communication, which can then be leveraged to improve digital experiences. This prioritizes what customers want without locking companies down to any specific technology or type of interaction.

Once companies identify immediate needs in digital customer experience, they can act on them from a place of knowledge, rather than trying to build strategies off of incomplete data. A digital experience platform will then be able to provide tools or integrate with the correct external products to address these needs.

2. Improve the accuracy of your marketing and customer engagement through holistic customer data and information

The first step to improving experiences is to offer the omnichannel interaction, and the second step is to constantly track, measure and analyze so that customer engagement can grow and evolve.

Digital experience platforms allow companies to track customer behavior at each digital touchpoint. As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, companies will have access to more channels of customer data, enabling them to draw new insights. The goal is to discover patterns in customer behavior and constantly improve customers’ experiences, even before they ask for it.

Customer data can include basic contact information, demographic snapshots, psychographic data points such as details about personalities or lifestyles, transactional data, communications history with the brand, account preferences, responses to marketing campaigns, and site engagement tracked through clicks, browsing time and social media shares.

A digital experience platform will pull this data into one place that each department can access as needed through customized views. This ensures that the entire company is working with consistent, updated information and basing decisions on accurate, holistic insights.

3. Use integration and flexible architecture to stay on the cutting-edge of digital trends

A common burden of technology upgrades is the unforeseen costs when development takes longer or is more complex than planned. If a digital experience platform achieves an effective level of integration and flexibility, then it will be cost-effective over time.

Veterans of digital change know that a technology upgrade can take months or even years. Sometimes, by the time you get the technology and strategy right, the trend is in its last days and the industry leaders are already gearing up for the next change. This makes it risky to pursue any new digital trend, because it may have evaporated by the time your company finally gets the fancy new software configured for your needs.

In today’s quickly changing digital environment, vendor lock-in is a handicap, and any digital experience platform should also make it easy to integrate with outside products, not just the vendor’s own offerings.

Because a digital experience platform starts with the core components in one place and product, it would be a cost-effective, long-term investment that mitigates the risk in acting on a digital trend. This could potentially level the playing field for companies that don’t have the largest budget, provided they have the foresight and agility to respond to the shifting sands of the market.

Final Thoughts

A digital experience platform provides the capabilities that you need to produce a variety of user-facing experiences. The exact tools offered will differ by vendor, and it is up to companies to assess their goals and determine which components are required for their strategy. However, the unifying principle for digital experience platforms will remain the same: architecture that integrates core business tools and provides a foundation for future digital innovation.

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DXP: Digital Experience Platform

Read more about the digital transformation and how you can create customer-first digital experiences. Download Liferay’s Digital Experience Platform whitepaper.

Omnichannel is the Key to Optimizing Customer Experiences

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What does Omni-channel mean?

Historically, companies were focused on providing customers with the ability to transact in the channel of their choice.  Organizations were organized around channels, and each channel’s department had their own reporting structure and goals.  The departments often encouraged channel competition, but the end result was confused customers who experienced different offers, pricing and processes in each channel.

Omni-channel is a multi-channel approach that provides the customer with aseamless experience, whether they are transacting online, from a desktop or mobile device.

Today, companies are focusing on creating omni-channel experiences to ensure that no matter where the customer is located, or on what device they are interacting with, the experience is the same.

Online, mobile, and social media platforms have enabled customers to not only switch between channels quickly but to also use them simultaneously. It is a regular occurrence to see people in store aisles looking at product reviews and pricing on their mobile while deciding between products on a physical retail store shelf. They are using mobile, in-store advertising, and in-store sales representatives combined to help with their decision making process.

Why Omni-channel?

Unfortunately, there are way too many examples of companies that fail to deliver good omni-channel customer experiences. A few years ago, I called my bank’s 1-800 number to secure a car loan. Everything (or so I thought) was confirmed over the phone.  I faxed in my signed documents, and was told I could go and pick up my cheque at my local branch. I waited in line at the branch only to get to the counter and be told, “Oh no, you cannot just pick up the cheque”. I asked how they could be so disconnected and their response was, “Well, we are not the same as the call centre. We have different rules”.

The result was a very negative experience. I walked away thinking that the bank does not understand me as a customer, and clearly does not realize I have a mortgage, GICs, RRSPs, RESPs, etc… Not only were they at risk of losing my car loan, they now faced the risk of losing my business to one of their competitors.

Having been in digital since the days of Netscape, I am definitely a digital advocate, interacting digitally is my preference. But, there are certainly times when I prefer face-to-face interaction. Human interaction is a vital factor in a positive customer experience even in the digital age.

In fact, a study done by Accenture found that only 36% of customers believe digital channels are better than non-digital forms of interaction. Additionally, 58-73% prefer dealing with humans to get quicker answers, resolution on issues, and to get advice[1].

Omni-channel is the key to optimizing customer experiences statistic

Many studies have found that customers who engage across multiple channels are  more valuable customers. In fact, multi-channel banking customers purchase 1.4 times the products and are 15% more likely than digital-only customers to serve as advocates for their providers.[2]

Digital does not always offer marketers the ability to up-sell or cross-sell based on the customer’s needs. Digital can ‘recommend’ based products you are looking at in real-time. Sometimes, we see up-sells based on our previous buying behavior – but I still get irrelevant Minecraft recommendations because my son and I surf on the same computer. And rarely do I see up-sells and cross-sells based on my ‘stage of life’ or my ‘in the moment’ needs.
The ability to truly understand the customer is lost if their only interaction is online.

Ironically, many companies are also finding that the selling expense associated with digital exceeds the value of their digital investments. The savings from the efficiencies of customers transacting online are often offset by the necessity to offer lower prices through promotions and discounts – to compete in the one click away environment. Rate comparisons or insurance quotes are always 5 seconds away. Digital is further commoditizing financial products; foreign currency exchange, insurance quotes, and loans are available online.

Omni-channel is the key to optimizing customer experiences Statistic

In fact, an Accenture survey found that more than ½ of customers want their bank to proactively recommend products or services that would help them financially. And 55% said it would strongly increase their loyalty to the bank. Many would even pay for budgetary advice.

A simple idea such as the Investment Advisor making notes on a client’s life changes into an omni-channel CRM, could positively impact revenues. The in-branch bank manager would better understand the client and be able to make recommendations and offers of true value to the client.
Barriers to Omni-channel.

Offering proactive digital financial advice and counselling to help clients better manage their financial needs can provide valuable insight and offer huge incremental revenues and increased loyalty.

Barriers to Omni-channel

In order to embrace omni-channel strategies across the organization, companies must first understand the economic benefits of providing customers with the ability to interact seamlessly across channels. The silos need to begin to blend and they must agree that a one-size-fits-all approach to customer experiences will not work.

The story about how my telebanking institution did not communicate with my branch nor have the same rules for picking up my car loan cheque, was probably due to technology and/or the lack of desire to improve their processes. Omni-channel requires a focused customer-first agenda – a strong understanding of customer data and a willingness to change. Barriers include:

  • Inability to provide all divisions with a single view of the customer across channels
  • Inability to understand the customer beyond their buying history
  • Lack of system integration
  • Lack of training, education, processes, and inadequate change management

How to get started

The core of an omni-channel strategy is the ability to understand the customer.  Omni-channel warrants an outside-in view and a mapping of the customer experience from the customer’s perspective. The omni-channel approach puts the customer, not the business units, at the centre.

For financial institutions, a front-end portal or “window” into the back-office, can help bridge the silos. Starting with a single view of the customer, you can direct the client standing in the branch, help the bank manager understand the value of the client, the call centre to appropriately service the client, and give the Financial Advisor a better indication on which products to recommend. A portal is not as big of an undertaking as re-building the back office and it can create and connect personalized digital experiences across the omni-channels.

Considering the customer journey from an omni-channel experience instead of just one department or a branch’s interactions is a start. Understanding customers beyond the personas is the next step to creating fantastic omni-channel customer experiences.

Valerie Jones will be at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit on the Power PanelOmni-channel Surmount Barriers to Transform your Omni-Channel into a Customer Centric, High Performance Digital Ecosystem.   June 2, 2016 at 9:15 AM.

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[1]  https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-digital-disconnect-customer-engagement.aspx

[2] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-digital-disruption-banking-north-america-consumer-survey