We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future of the advisory industry over the past few weeks, and some of the key trends we can expect to see moving forward. One of those trends is client experience and it’s becoming a big buzzword for financial services in general. In fact, according to McKinsey, three out of four of the 50 largest global banks are pledging themselves to some form of customer-experience transformation.

To find out more about how client experience is reshaping the industry, we spoke with Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management. You may know Josh from his popular blog, The Reformed Broker, his video series with his colleagues at RWM called The Compound, or his work as a contributor on CNBC. As someone who has worked with both individuals and corporate clients for much of his career, Josh believes that experience can make or break a practice. Here’s Josh, on how client experience is changing the industry.

The Evolution of Financial Services

I think the future of the financial advisory business is client experience,” says Josh. He also emphasizes that advisors need to think holistically about their practice as they move toward a more integrated service model. “Client experience in the modern era of Amazon, Netflix and instant access is what people want,” he explains, emphasizing that advisors need to get better at providing that.

Research confirms that customer service and overall brand perception can have a big impact on how clients engage with financial services firms. A recent study from Accenture indicates that 79% of North American consumers feel their relationship with their financial advisor is purely transactional and 40% of banking clients say they would be more inclined to stick with their bank if it offered more personalized service. But what are the best ways to ensure that you’re providing the type of experience your clients need? According to Josh, it’s about meeting them where they are, and focusing on the long-term relationship. 

How to Prioritize Client Experience

“I think advisors starting out today have to focus on how they can help the client they have now and have that evolve as the client gets older,” Josh explains. This means getting to know your clients’ personal circumstances and helping them plan for their current financial goals, as well as the things they want to focus on in the future. “That might not be planning their retirement necessarily, it might be helping them plan for buying their first home or helping them start to save for a child’s college education,” he says. The main thing to keep in mind is that building those bonds will help you serve them as well as possible while allowing the relationship to evolve.

While that advice may seem more suited to those just starting out, the reality is that it can benefit even the most established advisors. As technologies continue to shift and evolve, the human element is what clients of all ages are looking for.

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