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Are you part of your clients’ online decision-making process?

A growing and significant percentage of your client base is comfortable using technology to communicate and transact online. Are you offering them this option? Bridget Greenwood of Financial Social Media UK highlights three sets of interesting stats that illustrate consumers’ changing use of technology and finance

Whilst on tour this month with Three Sixty Services talking about how advisers can use technology in their business to help with client communication and interaction, there was a whole bunch of really interesting stories and facts being shared by the speakers and I thought you’d enjoy hearing three of them. They all support the importance and desire for your clients to have the option to communicate with you using modern day tools, naturally this will include social media.

When I talk about social media, just to be clear, I’m including not just social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc but also anywhere online where people can easily share thoughts and opinions. This, if you think about it, is pretty much the internet today, it’s blog posts, trade publications, shopping sites, review sites… the list goes on.

First set of interesting stats

The first set of interesting stats are from UK communications regulator Ofcom, published April 2014, relating to usage in 2013 as compared to 2012. We’re now in 2015 so I’ll allow you do to the projections in your head as to what those figures might look like today.

Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014

• 83% of adults go online using any device any location.

• 98% of 16-24 and 25-34 year olds are now online.

• 42% of 65+ year olds are going online (vs. 33% in 2012).

Use of Smartphones

• 62% of people now use a smartphone, an increase from 54% in 2012.

• Increase is driven by 25-34s and 45-54 year olds.

• 65-74 year olds are almost twice as likely to use a smartphone now compared to 2012 (20% vs. 12%).

Tablet use has doubled

• From 16% to 30% in 1 year, 2013.

• Use by 65-74 year olds has trebled; from 5% to 17%.

From these figures you can deduce that a significant percentage of your client base is comfortable using technology to communicate online. The question is: Are you offering them this option – either via social networking channels, regular blog updates, or/and an integrated process to replace some face-to-face meetings (video conferencing/ eg Skype or Microsoft Lync etc)?

Interesting set of stats number two:

People are going online to do some research before they make an investment decision:

• People who research online – 94%

• Used online Search Engines – 60%

• Sought info from financial services websites – 49%

• Read reviews online – 48%

• Read online comments – 30%

• Comparison shop online – 27%

• Talk with friends/family – 48%

(Source https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/research-studies/zmot-investments-study.html)

This is from behaviour of 250 people who made investments within six months from the time of being surveyed and was published in 2011. So the question is, when a prospect puts in a search query online is your company coming up? If a prospect lands on your website, are you putting your best business foot forward and easily letting them know if you’re the right adviser for their needs and, in particular, why and how you can help them? Are you actively part of this online conversation or have you chosen to opt out?

Interesting set of stats number three:

When it comes to banking the preferred channels for different age groups are as follows:

Gen Y              Gen X              Baby Boomers         Matures

Mobile           66.8%             59.5%             45.8%                         39.9%

Online            87.7%             91%                92.3%                         90.6%

(Source: PwC Digital Tipping Point Survey 2011)

So it seems that everyone is keen not to have to go into the bank!

Looking at these stats what story do they tell? From the conversations I’ve had with advisers, people of all ages are far more comfortable with using online activities to research, transact and talk about their finances.

It is not surprising therefore, that more online resources are cropping up all the time to help a prospect manage their finances without an adviser. Chris Williams recently launched Wealth Horizon (http://www.wealthhorizon.com/) which offers simplified advice; Lighthouse launched an online advice service with Money on Toast.

Bonus set of stats number four:

Of the 13.9 million investors in the UK, 25% will only DIY their investments, 13% will only make investments through their adviser and 62% will make investments though a mix of DIY and their adviser. (Source Platforum 2014).

As more and more information is available on line and more solutions to help people make their investment decisions are appearing online, it’s more and more important that advisers make sure that they’re part of this online conversation and decision-making process. What are you doing?

Visit Financial Social Media UK website

 

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