“If we build it, they will come.”
-Said no sane Financial Adviser who has ever considered rolling out a client portal.
In today’s digital age, innovation is reshaping the way we access and interact with financial services.
As the rise of technology continues to blend into the professional and personalised services space, it has become critical for financial advisers to lean into this new age, by incorporating tools that support this evolution into their client experience.
One technology that has been gaining traction in the financial advising community is the use of client portals. A fusion of security, accessibility, and real-time information, client portals have emerged as an invaluable tool for both advisers and clients alike.
As with most good things, the successful launch of a client portal takes time, effort, and a solid plan. So, is it worth it? We think so, and here’s why –
Why you should implement a client portal
Addressing Cybersecurity Risks
The rise of cybercrime, particularly through email breaches, has heightened concerns for data privacy and security. These concerns are particularly relevant in the financial advising space, where sensitive client information is frequently exchanged.
Client portals can offer a solution to these issues, providing a secure platform to share information and sign documents. This added layer of protection significantly reduces the risk of cybercrime, offering peace of mind for both advisers and clients.
Efficiency and User Experience
Beyond the security benefits, client portals also streamline administrative processes, eliminating the need for printing, posting, and returning paperwork. The digitisation of these tasks not only reduces servicing costs but also improves efficiency, allowing advisers to dedicate time to their clients in more meaningful ways.
For clients, portals can offer a real-time overview of their financial portfolio, giving them the freedom to monitor their finances at their convenience, without having to wait for updates or face-to-face meetings.
This instantaneous access also helps with fostering client autonomy and engagement and has almost come to be expected in this age of immediacy.
Today’s clients demand a blend of digital and traditional interactions. It is this combination that sets financial advisers apart (and above) from their robo-advice counterparts.
Catering to this expectation, client portals can deliver a multichannel experience, combining the accessibility of online platforms with the personal touch of face-to-face advice.
Client portals play a crucial role in regulatory compliance, providing a robust framework for meeting financial product advice obligations under the Corporations Act 2001, while also offering a secure platform for sensitive information in accordance with the Privacy and Confidentiality Act 1988.
A Holistic View of Client Finances
Client portals can offer an all-encompassing, real-time view of a client’s financial status. The ability to link bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages to the portal, alongside their investment portfolios, provides a comprehensive overview of their financial position.
For advisers, this means immediate access to real-time, accurate client data, streamlined fact-finding processes, and better-quality financial advice.
Recognising the power of client portals is just the first step. The real challenge lies in convincing clients to actively adopt these portals and, more importantly, advocate their use among their peers. Here’s how advisers can approach this task –
How to successfully implement a client portal
Having a Clear Strategy
A client portal should not be viewed as a standalone tool; but as an integral part of your overall advice process.
Understanding how the portal fits into the client’s journey is essential.
In the early stages, it can be a platform for initial data collection, serving as a comprehensive fact-finder. Throughout the ongoing service relationship, it can function as a real-time, interactive platform for clients to view their portfolios and access relevant updates.
The portal should complement your other communication methods and serve as an extension of your services, rather than a replacement. The goal is to use the portal to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance the client experience.
Effective Communication and Education
One of the critical pillars for boosting client uptake of client portals is communication.
It’s not enough to merely introduce the portal to clients; clients need to know what’s in it for them and how it’s going to make their lives better. To do this, advisers need to be able to articulate the benefits and functionality of the portal, clearly and persuasively.
Additionally, education forms the core of successful client adoption. Advisers should consider creating a robust knowledge base that includes detailed guides, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and tutorial videos.
These resources can help clients understand the functionality of the portal and can serve as a quick reference point for any queries they may have.
Every client is unique, with varying levels of comfort and familiarity with technology. Acknowledging this fact can significantly improve client adoption rates.
Advisers should aim to deliver a personalised onboarding process that caters to the individual needs and abilities of each client.
For instance, an interactive tutorial of the portal can help clients understand its features better and at their own pace. This personal touch makes the onboarding process less daunting and more engaging, significantly improving initial uptake rates.
Advisers should also consider offering ongoing support during the early stages of adoption. Regular check-ins, be it via email or phone, can reassure clients that help is readily available and encourage them to explore and use the portal actively.
Ultimately, you want to avoid clients being in a situation of having to figure it out on their own, as this will often lead to the client portal being placed in the “too-hard basket”.
Building Client Advocacy
Clients who have had a positive experience with the portal make the best advocates. Sharing testimonials and success stories can provide real-world examples of the benefits of the portal, enhancing its credibility and perceived value.
Enhancing a client’s advice experience through a client portal isn’t a simple task. It involves more than just implementing technology. It requires a blend of effective communication, comprehensive education, personalised onboarding, and fostering client advocacy.
By taking a strategic and client-centric approach, advisors can effectively boost client uptake and advocacy of client portals. The result? A higher level of client satisfaction, increased efficiency, and a more robust advisor-client relationship – a win-win situation for all involved parties!
If you’ve been on the fence about whether a client portal is for you, reach out to the team at intelliflo to find out more about how a client portal can help to engage your clients!
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