Being an adviser and running an advice practice has been the biggest learning experience of my life.
What I have realised though, is that requirements put on an adviser are pretty damn unreasonable. It’s impossible for one system or one person to deliver a great advice experience.
So, you start from a point where the breadth of client information to capture and digest is huge, then you add more people into the mix and then compliance rules change on you. Even with the amount of work I’ve done to close these gaps, I’m still not satisfied. Humans still do too much lifting in the advice process.
This environment is a minefield for data to be missed, gaps in compliance and errors to be made.
So, how do you wrangle this monstrosity which is the advice process? The key is to make it easy to do the hard/painful things. Stuff goes awry when people are forced to do things they really don’t want to do. You’ve got to tweak the system to do these things automatically.
The standard way this is done is through templating. Templated docs range from Fact Find templates to file not templates and SOA templates. These do some great legwork for people to make sure you don’t miss data or key compliance details.
Another way is a tight process with all the steps mapped out, so you can just follow the bouncing ball. Perfect to help with a lack of experience or maintaining consistency in your business.
So, you may be saying, I’ve got these, tell me something I don’t know. Fair enough.
Do you use online forms?
Online forms are the digital version of data capture where you can include pre set selections, free text, checkboxes, dropdowns etc.
These can be used client facing and internally within an advice business.
Ever look at your fact find and go, this is a horrible beast. Well that’s because it is. Most advisers do everything in their power to keep a client away from a fact find document and where the brunt of it themselves. This ensures the client is bared the pain, but the burden on the adviser is not small.
The solution is to turn the fact find into something that is effortless for a client to fill out. If a section of questions doesn’t make sense for a client to look at most of the time, hide it until it makes sense for it to show. If there’s only a few possible answers, create some simple buttons that mean a client can just click on them. If you want to help clients with answering questions, give them a range of options to choose from. This is particularly helpful for things like health events when you want to complete an insurance pre-assessment. A further good way to soften the blow is to break up something like a fact find into a few forms which you can provide to a client spaced out.
Clients are used to filling out information online and all the feedback I’ve ever had is: “that was easy and didn’t take too long”.
You can start by using this for parts of the fact find, and test with people you know. Once you see the benefits then scale it up to the whole thing.
So, if it’s great for a client experience, why keep all the magic for the client. Make it easy for yourself and your team.
Got a paraplanning request, convert it to an online form. Turn your file notes into an online form. There really is no limit to where this can be applied.
So, if you want to make advice fun again and improve the quality and consistency of the data in your business give it a try.
Adrian Patty is the Director of Advice and CX at Advice Revolution in Sydney.