Digital technologies and tools don’t replace financial advice models, they make them better. A digitally enabled advice business gives advisers more time to spend with clients, so they can build long-lasting relationships and resilient businesses. Digital enablement is simply using digital tools and technology to make your business better!
Digitally enable your business and benefit
Digital enablement in advisory practices offers many benefits, including:
- Advisers free up time spent on administration when processes are automated
- Advisers have more time to spend getting to know clients
- Advisers can access new markets and clients in different locations
- Communication can be targeted
- Records are easier to keep and retrieve, making compliance less onerous
- The practice becomes more resilient, adaptable and flexible
An EY Digital Transformation study identified six main benefits of digital transformation, including a better customer experience (think better communication and faster turnarounds as a start). Digital transformation also reduces the cost of doing business, and both the underwriting and claims experience is enhanced. 1Life has experienced this firsthand with its robotic process automation (RPA) where qualifying funeral insurance applications can be accepted in 5 minutes.
Claims is an area where the benefits of digital transformation are evident.
Without digital enablement the claims process is long and cumbersome. A client will inform their adviser they have a claim, the adviser will obtain the necessary forms, either go and see the client or have the client come and see them to complete and sign the forms, submit the forms to the insurer, and wait for the claim to be assessed. A days, often weeks-long process, with the client waiting, usually impatiently, for the claim to be paid. Take this process digital and you have automated claims processing and assessment for all but the most complicated claims, online tracking, and decisions and settlements within hours, sometimes minutes. With just one process automated, an adviser has more time, has saved money (no travelling costs for a start) and made a really positive impression on the client.
Better data collection and use
Remember the hard cover birthday diary and appointment book? They were some of the most useful tools an adviser had. They still are. They are just digital, easier to use and access and adapt, and can contain far more information that can be retrieved in seconds when needed.
Access to underserved markets
Digital transformation reduces costs, which means providers can offer low cost products suitable for previously underserved markets. Advisers can also reduce the costs to market these products and offer financial advice by using digital technologies, such as Vantage from 1Life, online communication tools such as Zoom meetings, newsletters and social media posts. Lower cost products and marketing open up new markets to advisers, allowing them to diversify their client base and income streams.
Better client connections
EY insurance consumer research found that more than 80% of customers are “willing to use digital and remote contact channels (including web chat, email, mobile apps, video or phone) in place of interacting with insurers via agents or brokers.” It’s just easier and cheaper. Using digital tools, you can keep it personal as well as online, and meet your clients needs. And you can keep up the face-to-face connection with clients who prefer to meet you in person. You don’t have to choose one over the other.
With digital tools, your technical work is made easy, and you can focus on building the personal relationship with your new client, and really getting to know them.
A record of advice and FNA needs to be easy to complete and store. When you can do this digitally with a provider’s tools, you have saved hours of admin with a client that you can replace with hours of service and genuine interaction.
Better economic outcomes
The cost reductions that come with digital transformation can of course mean higher profits. According to the SAP Center for Business Insights and Oxford Economics, 80% of organisations that completed digital transformation reported increased profits.
A 2021 Broadridge survey of financial advisers found a 14% net sales increase for financial service firms that were digitally ready, compared to those that weren’t. 1Life stats show that some partner practices that were digitally ready when Covid hit, experienced a 200% increase in growth in their businesses during the period.
Overcoming barriers to entry
Cost and skill are two barriers to entry to a total digital transformation of an adviser’s business. They don’t have to be significant and can easily be overcome with one concept – partnership.
Advisers are not technology experts, it just isn’t their business. Advisers need to know what they want for their business, and understand where they could use technology to improve it. Advisers can partner with product providers and technology experts who have more tools, resources and expertise in this field.
Making it successful
The key to getting your digital transformation journey right is to commit, take a holistic view across your whole business, and partner with someone who can deliver the technologies you need. Your business will benefit and your clients will love your improved efficiencies!