When our parents walked into the office of their financial service provider – usually a bank –someone called them by name. Back then, their financial service provider had an office, and knew their names. Financial intermediaries, robo-advisors and disruptive innovators have since broadened investors’ financial choices with online transaction capabilities and deep data access. And as we look ahead into the tech-enabled future, it becomes apparent that the ways in which customers interact with us – our touchpoints – will continue to expand, creating an opportunity for businesses of all kinds to find new ways to define and preserve a positive customer experience model.
Let’s start with a look at disruptive innovators in the financial services space. Alibaba launched a money market fund in China. Effectively the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, Alibaba owns no inventory but is the world’s most valuable retailer. Their Yu’e Bao mutual fund attracted nearly US $90 billion in the first nine months, making the Alibaba’s offering the fastest-growing mutual fund in history. Alibaba didn’t create the fund, they partnered with a Chinese asset management firm and front-ended the offering. Alibaba was responsible for the customer touchpoint while the fund manager (Tianhong Asset Management Company) was responsible for the investment results. But as far as the investing public was concerned, it was an Alibaba offering. Likewise, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon have entered the financial services fray. By taking (at least partial) control of the customer experience, disruptive innovators change the ways in which our customers engage with us.
Speaking about customer engagement in its 2014 SAS Report, Harvard Business Review had the following to say: Customer experience management - the collection of processes an organization uses to manage customer interactions across the enterprise - is more important than ever. The days of the single customer touch point are long gone. Today’s companies must optimize the customer experience across multiple channels and product lines while still meeting demands for real-time, increasingly customized execution.
EY takes the customer experience directive a step further, calling for the entirety of an organization to be customer-experience oriented: A customer-centric organization builds an operating model around a deep understanding of its customers, what they value and the contribution each makes to the profitability of the company. This requires: Designing business processes that recognize different customer segment needs • Delivering a positive and seamless customer experience at every touch point across the customer life cycle • Maintaining an active dialogue with customers (and acting on feedback) • Fostering a culture that places the customer at the heart of the decision-making process.
What the pundits are telling us is that, from our marketing efforts, to our initial contact with a prospective customer, through our contractual negotiations, and for the duration of our customers’ relationships with us, a consistent and focused delivery of our firm’s value proposition, across all touchpoints, is required for success.
The Archer executive team thinks carefully about the client experience and customer touchpoints. Our online ticketing system. The interactive Archer platform. archerIMS.com. Email. Telephone. Good, old-fashioned, I-know-your-name f2f meetings. Our explicit and measurable goal in all of these touchpoints is to be responsive, reliable, consistent in our messaging, and open to the voices and the ideas of our customers.
For example, many of the investment managers with whom we work request customized solutions such as branded reports or specialized account maintenance procedures. Custom technology is requested as well. That’s encouraged, because client-centric customization is one of our specialties. As we serve these requests and strive to meet each investment management firm’s needs, we look ahead to see whether the customized solution is applicable to meeting all – or some other firms’ – needs. At times, one firm’s customization request becomes a valuable new product or service that we can offer to several investment firms. So as we broaden our offerings, our customers have the opportunity to broaden theirs as well.
The same responsiveness/reliability/consistency/openness goals apply to our work in facilitating investment firms’ touchpoints with their investor clients. We facilitate investor touchpoints by providing customized reports, facilitating multi-contact client records, providing shareable access to on-the-fly account and household level investment information, and offering an ever-expanding universe of investment products.
Providing an excellent experience to our clients – and facilitating a positive client experience for our clients’ clients – is a big part of what we mean when we talk about Archer’s unified delivery platform. Whether we’re delivering information, product, branding, processes, technology or solutions, and regardless of the touchpoint or delivery method, it all combines to provide a positive and rewarding customer experience. And advancing into a future where touchpoints multiply and intertwine, this unified platform with a market-proven value proposition helps us, and you, to succeed.
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