Client journey mapping is not always simple, especially for large organizations in a complicated regulatory environment with a diverse array of clients and a complex suite of products. Additionally, executives of these organizations often require proof that change is necessary prior to making decisions that impact their clients and revenue.

In the financial services industry, firms must evaluate opportunities to enrich the current approach in a cost-effective way. In order to affordably prove the digital change is needed, the most beneficial exercise is to map out the client journey. (For more, see: DOL Rule or Not, There's a New Fiduciary Expectation.)

What is a Client Journey?

Everyone has a different idea of what is and should be a client journey. Many retail stores have a strict organization to their client journey that starts with a warm welcome followed by the customer browsing for the product they want or receiving assistance from an employee. Finally, the customer engages with the cashier and completes the transaction. On the other hand, some client journeys are little more than a haphazard attempt to get the product to the customer and get them out of the store.

The client journey becomes much more complicated in the financial services industry, especially with the advent of new rules, regulations and technological innovations. Advisors no longer have the luxury of selling a product to a client and sending them on their way. If an organization is to remain relevant, they must include strategies to proactively engage their clients at every stage of interaction - especially after the sale of a product or investment vehicle.

Why Does Client Journey Mapping Matter?

Client journey mapping is an essential way for organizations to visualize the client experience from the client’s perspective. It enables organizations to truly understand how clients perceive experiences at key touch points during the journey. By understanding the way clients interact with the organization digitally (and face-to-face), that organization is able to better understand where their weaknesses lie and implement new strategies into the journey to ensure higher retention and onboarding rates. In addition to understanding organizational weaknesses, client journey mapping provides many other benefits to an organization such as:

  1. Focusing on the client, rather than on products and services: Organizations often focus on the products sold, rather than the value those products bring to the client. This approach ultimately alienates the client because they feel they are being sold a product rather than a solution for their needs.
  2. Preventing organizations from being myopic in their delivery and client engagement: By developing a full understanding of the journey a client experiences, an organization is able to reduce redundant data and cut overhead by increasing efficiencies.
  3. Highlighting deficiencies where the business is failing to meet client needs and expectations: Analyzing the journey and where clients disengage, organizations can fortify the weak points. Organizations can take a proactive approach to ensure that clients see the journey through to the end.
  4. Exposing changes in client behavior, enabling an organization to adjust prospect approach: When an organization understands driving factors that change client behavior, it can adjust strategy in anticipation of behavioral trends.

Creating a thorough client journey map enables organizations to keep up with these rising expectations and deepen the client-advisor relationship by providing clients a consistent experience through their engagement with the organization. Mapping out the client journey and implementing technology ensures the firm has a repeatable streamlined process to efficiently guide new and existing clients through every step of the firm’s unique journey. (For more, see: The DOL's Fiduciary Rule Requires a Holistic Approach.)

You can learn more here about the benefits of client journey mapping and how to start the process. Anthony Stich is director, global marketing at Advicent.

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