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March 18, 2019updated 14 Mar 2019 10:36am

Wealth managers must embrace chat applications to engage with clients

By GlobalData Financial

Engaging customers is important to maintain customer satisfaction and grow revenues in almost any industry. Wealth management is no different. Using new communication channels for clients and advisors is one way to increase engagement levels.

Email remains one of the key forms of communication between wealth managers and investors. In fact, GlobalData’s 2018 Mass Affluent Investors Survey suggests its use has been increasing: between 2017 and 2018, the proportion of investors communicating with their advisor via email form increased by 10 percentage points.

However, email is not ideally suited to client-advisor communication. Among other issues, if at any point the client clicks “move to spam” on an email, all future communications will follow the same path and end up in the recipient’s spam folder – stripping a company of engagement with the client. Consequently, wealth managers should focus on other communication channels.

One method that is increasingly used by millennials to discuss investments with their advisors is chat applications such as WeChat and WhatsApp. GlobalData’s survey found that almost 40% of millennials in Asia Pacific were contacting their advisor via a chat application, a 10 percentage point increase since 2017.

These applications offer a quick and easy way for wealth managers to contact their clients, and unlike email these messages are more difficult for the client to delete or ignore. Yet one issue is that the wealth management firm does not own the data – the third-party messaging service does. In addition, if the advisor leaves the company so does their conversation history with the client.

GlobalData’s survey shows there is a willingness for investors to communicate with their wealth managers via chat applications. It is important that wealth managers embrace this change. To tackle compliance and data ownership challenges, they should seek to include chat features in their core online and mobile platforms. Partnering with third-party IT vendors such as Moxtra may be one solution. It claims its software is fully auditable and has the same look as the most popular chat applications.

Opening up new channels of communication can help increase engagement with clients within the wealth space. To achieve this, wealth managers must make sure their chosen communication channels are not easily ignored by clients. Increased engagement will undoubtedly result in better customer retention – but also a higher level of client involvement with their portfolio.

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