Our accredited partner, Jigsaw Tree, recently posted the following article which we thought would be useful in considering your technology strategy for 2024. We’ve reproduced the article in full below, with permission from Jigsaw Tree. Happy reading.
First, we assume your business is already using a client portal because if it’s not then you really are swimming against the tide. Today, there are 60 million people in the UK using mobile internet devices, that’s 93% of the country's total population and, of these, 57 million (84%) are actively using social media  . And, these numbers will keep edging up, year-by-year, to the point where universal adoption is a reality.
Of course, you might believe there’s still a significant number of people that use the internet for less important things, but they wouldn’t trust it for managing their money. Well, again, let me just share a couple of figures with you. In 2007 the proportion of people in the UK using online banking was just 32%, but by 2022 it had risen to 93%  . So, if you’re not already providing your clients with some kind of online client portal then you’ll probably find that somebody else does it instead of you!
So, today’s real question is whether your client portal is up-to-scratch; Is it providing your clients with the information they need and, more importantly, the experience they want? Is it delivering the productivity improvements that your business needs to stay ahead of the game?
If you want to review your client portal technology, here are 5 powerful features you should consider:
1. USER EXPERIENCE
I’m sure we’ve all used websites that are just so frustrating that we vow we’ll never use them again! Screens that don’t render properly, navigation that’s impossible to follow, and content that makes you cringe! If you don’t get your client portal user experience right then none of the other things will matter as nobody will be using it! There’s a real skill to designing easy-to-use Apps so hire an expert.
Yes, it’s a hygiene factor but that doesn’t mean it should be over-looked. Again, engage the right people with the right skills so you can reassure your clients (and sleep well at night) that their data is safe and secure.
Of course, you’ll want your clients to be able to review their records and get real-time valuations but, in today’s day and age, they will expect more. So, opt for a technology stack that enables your clients to perform a growing number of tasks themselves, e.g. booking appointments with their adviser, asking questions, paying their fees, topping up their investments, making withdrawals, etc. Put the client in charge of as much of the admin as possible and free up your staff to focus on giving advice and managing relationships, i.e. the things that really count.
A great example of a process that is best completed in a hybrid manner is client on-boarding. Enable your staff to do the important stuff face-to-face, building a relationship and testing their understanding of the client’s aspirations, capturing those soft facts, etc. But use your client portal to do the heavy lifting, gathering details of the client’s financial affairs, completing the risk assessment, capturing the hard facts, etc. Operating in this way will not only make the client more relaxed but it will also make the process much more efficient and effective. It will also make it a lot easier to ensure compliance.
Using a client portal enables you to understand how your clients are using your services as it tracks every move they make whilst using your App. So, make sure you can use this information to the best effect. Find out what screens are working what screens are causing issues and what services are growing in popularity.
5. VALUE FOR MONEY
There will, of course, be a temptation to opt for cheaper solutions but, as with so many things in life, consider the bigger picture. What’s the point in saving a few pounds if your client portal isn’t being used that much or if it can’t support the ongoing automation of processes that will allow your clients to increase their level of self-servicing, etc. Think of your client portal as the primary access point for your clients; the window through which you and they will increasingly interact. Surely, it is worth investing to create an asset that will enable your business to reach its full potential.
Do these features sound like they would benefit your firm? To find out how we can elevate your business practices and allow you to develop a closer relationship with your clients, click here to organise a personal demonstration.
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This article directly references an article by Jigsaw Tree, to view
Jigsaw Tree is a specialist consultancy and outsourcing firm who work in collaboration with financial advice firms to support and improve their operations. They deliver a suite of services provided by the best professionals which add value and support the business requirements of the firms they partner with.