I recently attended a conference where at least half of the speakers or vendors were talking about or selling some sort of technology meant to enhance the client experience. It seems that there is a new technology idea popping up every day, and you can hardly escape meeting with advisors without the topic of FinTech (financial technology) coming up. As I swim through all the ideas, cool demos, and trendy names, I can’t help but wonder how much time we really should spend keeping up with all this stuff.

As I was pondering this question on a recent business trip to Silicon Valley (the heart of technological innovation), it occurred to me that in my everyday conversations, the number one topic isn’t technology but about what people did recently that was fun. Conversations usually center around a recent trip, an upcoming hike, a recent bike ride, a sporting event with the kids, etc.

Your clients use technology to free up their time to do the things they really enjoy doing. Rather than obsess about the next greatest thing, they quickly adopt technology that gives them more time and peace of mind to do those things they love. Moreover, those new technologies are obvious and immediate — they don’t take a lot of searching.

This really got me thinking about why technology is being pitched to enhance the client experience?

In my view, if you want to enhance the client experience, give clients more time with their advisor. When it comes to wealth management, a good experience equals having honest discussions around planning for today and the future to give us more peace of mind and confidence in the outcomes.

My advice to advisors is to determine if you are using the basic technology that can free up your time so your clients get more of you.

  • Do you have a website where clients and prospects can learn all that you provide?
  • Do you have a client portal where clients can see their total net worth, spending habits, savings rate, etc.?
  • Do you have a CRM to help you and your staff run efficiently?
  • Do you have a way to efficiently manage and keep your clients’ investment portfolios up to date?

To me these are the basics, and if you have them you can talk to your clients anywhere.

Remember, your clients need you to coach them through all the planning needs they know about and the ones they aren’t currently anticipating. If some new technology comes along that will continue to streamline basic information-sharing to give you more time with your clients, you’ll know it when you see it.

I would encourage advisors to make sure the basics are covered and then go spend time with people. By having the technology basics you’ll already be working with at least one vendor who can be a thought leader for you if anything new needs to be added in the future. Rather than trying to be a know-it-all in tech, put on your advisor cap and go see your clients. They need a true advisor now more than ever.