Integrated Wealth Management Firm and Accounting Firm investor, Prime Financial Group (Prime), have developed a new digital strategy in response to disruptive technologies that are impacting not only the financial advice and accounting sector but the way clients engage with firms.
In a recent interview, Simon Madder, CEO & Managing Director of Prime, describes how accounting and advice firms are facing a huge shift in managing the client experience through emerging technologies. Simon believes that:
‘…digital disruption demands a different service model to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that exist in improving the client experience, efficiency, productivity, employee collaboration and overall communication from firms.’
Leveraging digital for a competitive edge
“You don’t need to be a digital strategist to recognise that technology can contribute genuine value to the client experience, and with slow adoption across advice and accountancy firms, this can also significantly differentiate a firm from their competition.”
“For Prime, becoming digitally-ready means leveraging technology to change the way we engage with clients to support personalised information and co-created services that promote growth, retention and build focused relationships”
In response to clients changing online engagement behaviors and expectations, Prime have updated their website to improve mobile responsiveness and are developing mobile apps to facilitate convenience, flexibility and instantaneous access to investment portfolios and other important client information all directly from the clients mobile phones.
Improving the user-interface was just the first step. Prime clients want to interact with their advisory firm via social channels, and Simon believes that thought leadership is an important counterpart.
“We needed to produce relevant and shareable content to reach the personal networks and communities of interest and to develop an ecosystem which will constantly evolve.”
Producing and publishing original content such as blogs, infographics and informative videos is linking Prime with people in their community and provides an opportunity to listen, learn and respond to clients in real-time.
“We are using these insights as part of a continuous improvement process that drives innovation in the way we use digital channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to solve business challenges and add additional value.”
Lessons learnt so far
One of the first challenges was getting our leadership team on board to spearhead the digital transformation. “Successful change needed to be supported from the top with a clear focus on what digital looked like for our firm, our accounting partners and clients.”
Our industry can be conservative, so changing the culture internally was the first step. “These new behaviours often push people out of their comfort zone, and change can at various levels require a leap of faith, so it has been important to showcase internally why we’re changing and have our leaders and team actively participate in that journey. The response this far has been amazing and we are now in a position to share examples within our firm and further bring this to life “
Another big lesson was that changes needed to be client focused rather than putting technology and digital platforms first. “We couldn’t push technology on advisors, the team and clients and expect them to react, we had to be clear about what solution the user wanted from this channel. The traditional concept of client-centricity hasn’t changed, the client experience is the starting point, and initiatives are built around those demands.”
“By connecting with our clients in a more personalised manner, we are utilising real data that positions us to be far more effective servicing those clients with relevant and targeted service offerings.”
Prime’s Digital Experience
Recognising the opportunities, Simon and the team have launched a significant transformation program covering multiple business areas, from client experience to operational efficiencies driven by digital technologies.
Achieving this transformation has been much more than implementing new technology; it has also been about creating the leadership capabilities necessary to drive digital transformation in the organisation and getting everyone on board with the concept.
What does the future hold?
Prime’s aim is to continue implementing and evolving its digital vision and further develop a culture of innovation and improved client and team experience. “We are already seeing quick-wins in engagement through our blog, Facebook and eDM campaigns, and this is really building our confidence and understanding of the value of new digital trends, and we will continue to develop these into the future.”
Digital is the new normal at Prime; the whole team are pivoting their mindsets and taking part in the digital transformation journey and how this pairs with our more traditional communication methods.
“As we continue to close the gap between our digital readiness and clients expectations it is clear that we are ahead of the curve in delivering exceptional client experience, across multi-touch points, giving us a competitive advantage.”