Use your technology to service lower value clients
Streamlining your systems will allow you to offer the most appropriate service for each of your clients and reduce your costs, thereby allowing the servicing of clients with less money to invest, says Ann Dempster, managing director, Plum Software
When servicing those clients with less money to invest is it possible to make ‘costs’ realistic for both the client and adviser? There may be a trend for potential clients to seek investments online but are they missing out on the benefit of personalised advice? The simple answer is yes. If internal systems are streamlined with external resources, clients can benefit from building a relationship to get advice when required and, at the same time, costs can be within their budget.
There are a range of front-end products being developed to help the advice process but the management of this process has to be efficient. Good use of Client Management Software is essential. The software is designed to streamline processes and should also be the tool to manage the day. It’s all about easy access of timely and relevant information – be it on your PC, mobile phone or tablet.
If everything integrates, you only need enter information once, as everything cross correlates. You will have the flexibility to retrieve information in the many different ways that you need to service your clients and to get a greater understanding of where fees come from and in turn help manage and shape your business.
The golden rule is to have all the information in one place. Any contact with clients – telephone conversations, meeting notes, emails, correspondence, voice recordings etc. should all be stored and properly indexed for instant retrieval. The benefit being anyone in the company can progress with the client and they are not affected by unavailability such as client meetings, holidays, sickness etc.
For greater efficiency you also want to ensure that all systems are shared. If you work from a combination of templates and standard paragraphs, you can standardise on the house style, whilst still personalise letters. Letters within the system are automatically stored against diary events. This means when you search on events linked to a client, policy, person, date etc., the documents are automatically included.
The search functions are extremely useful to target eshots and mailshots thereby improving your communication without a lot of extra effort.
Each person’s day can be managed using ‘To Do’ lists. It is possible to set up ‘tracks’ to define different processes within your business. For example, you can set up several ‘tracks’ to reflect the different propositions you offer clients. You can then link Word templates for each ‘track’ which reflects the monitoring process. A diary of events is created when each step is completed and thereby gives an audit trail for each client’s proposition. These trails of events can link automatically to other parts of the software such as the New Business Register, so no double entries!
Direct benefits for the client
Having ensured your administration is streamlined, what direct benefits can you offer the client?
• You can consolidate all the investment and pension details into your Client Management Software using electronic valuations and then provide accurate, frequent and professional reports for your clients to access using either a secure document area or directly into your database.
• If you have all the details in your system, you can build up a history and offer trend reports and graphs of their investments.
• You can build up a good protection portfolio using shortfall analysis.
• Most importantly, you can choose the level of detail your clients needs and wants for the proposition.
By having valuation and protection details in your system, you can consolidate information such as money under management for management information, FCA reporting, professional indemnity reports in addition to understanding your clients’ exposure in the marketplace.
Electronic remuneration statements save hours of keying and checking – your company can concentrate on what’s not being paid, get accurate earned amounts for each adviser and details for FCA Gabriel reporting and management information. Time costing and analysis help to keep check on the proposition and remuneration for each client.
When the software is integrated with your front-end products (such as hubs for financial consolidation, sourcing products, cash flow, investment and pension product analysis, risk profiling etc.) it ensures accuracy, saves the time needed to be efficient whilst, most importantly, provides a good service for your client.
So, the right software, focussed internal disciplines and commitment to making the most use of these, can enable your business to be more cost-effective, provide the most appropriate service for each of your clients and take an informed forward view when considering expanding your range of clients.
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