Wealth firms and independent advisors have invested heavily in systems & process design to improve their client onboarding processes. Even with that effort, the average time to onboard a new high-net-worth client is 41 days. In that time period, your new clients aren’t merely waiting. They are frequently asked to provide the same information multiple times, or manually complete several similar forms.
Surveys suggest that many clients are dissatisfied with their onboarding experience, which may leave a negative impression on the beginning of your new client relationship. So what are clients in the wealth management industry looking for? They want a seamless, paperless, fast, and efficient process from first interaction and needs assessment, to account opening and asset transfer.
So, what can financial advisors do to improve customer services within their onboarding solution?
Begin with the process
Design a process that is simple and seamless. One place to start is by only asking your new clients to provide information once. The onboarding process should begin with your first interaction. Every piece of information provided by a prospective client can be captured and used to reduce the time needed to gather information during your formal onboarding process.
This need not be arduous for your advisors. By optimizing page layouts and developing guided flows, you can cut down the time advisors spend clicking around to find the right place to log new data.
Set clear expectations
Even the best designed process is going to have steps that take time or are subject to delays. Compliance exceptions, complex asset transfers, and processing delays are just a few of the situations that can impact the time it takes to onboard a new client. By building components to expose current lead times or wait times for various onboarding processes, you can enable your advisors to clearly communicate when new clients should expect to be fully onboarded.
Keep clients in the loop
Provide clients with the power to see where they are in the process. If you have a portal, app, or both add an onboarding “pizza tracker” component that clearly shows the overall process. Highlight where clients currently are, and what next steps they should expect.
Leverage your marketing automation platform to place new clients in an onboarding journey. The journey can provide additional information on where your clients are in the process and detail how they can access their account and account functionality, while simultaneously introducing additional services or products to nurture cross-sell opportunities.
Rapid response is really good
When clients reach out they should receive a response within a few minutes. The response doesn’t have to be full resolution. Frequently, an acknowledgement that the inquiry has been received and that someone is working on it is enough to keep clients at ease.
Digitize as much as possible
Process automation is your friend. Use technologies like artificial intelligence to reduce the time needed to gather information, route workflows, and process requests.
Automate data collection and eliminate re-keying information by leveraging optical character recognition (OCR) technology. OCR can be used to prefill name and address information from identity documents. It can also collect current investment allocation information from prospective client statements.
When manual forms are needed, ease the friction by storing electronic versions in a document generation system. You can then pull in client data directly from Salesforce to automatically populate across all needed forms. Once the forms are completed you can route them to your client for e-signature, and then directly for processing.
Onboard your clients successfully with Salesforce and Silverline
At Silverline, we partner with wealth firms to redesign the client onboarding experience. We leverage the Salesforce platform to operationalize these changes to deliver a transformational client experience. Reach out to learn more.