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Building Client Engagement with Client Portals Makes Financial Planning More Profitable
• Chris Mauriello • June 23, 2020
A client portal is an invaluable tool for collaborating with clients for more productive, long-term financial planning relationships. When implemented properly, the client portal, or client site, is the investor’s single source of truth for all their finances. It gives them an interactive way to answer their own questions and engage with their plan.
It’s not always easy to get clients involved with their client portal, however. It takes work on the part of the advisor to get clients started and keep them coming back over time. But advisors who can get clients to return to their client site time and time again are likely to see higher planning efficiency and profits.
Get Clients Hooked on Their Client Portal
There are a few things you can do as an advisor to get clients interested in their client site at the start of your relationship. First, take some time to show off the capabilities of the site in your initial meeting. Not only can you drum up some excitement, you can also start to build goodwill, accountability, and transparency by demonstrating how you’ll empower your client to meet their financial goals. When doing this, it’s often helpful to show clients how they can bookmark their client site on mobile, or favorite it in their browser so they don’t have any issues accessing it.
Before a client logs on to their site, it’s also important to address any concerns they may have. Most clients are wary of giving out their personal and financial information somewhere new. Take a proactive approach to talk about the security and privacy that their client site affords them—it can help overcome this barrier to entry before it becomes an issue.
Once a client can access their site, start giving them small assignments that you know they’ll be able to complete. For example, you could ask them to upload a document to the vault or even add a few connections to build up their confidence and familiarity with the site. Similarly, only give them access to a few simple features you know they’ll love and use at first. Keeping things simple like this, once again, helps minimize any possible barriers to entry with the client portal.
Give Clients a Reason to Keep Coming Back
Getting clients into their client portal is an important first step, but there’s more you can do to encourage clients to return to their sites over and over.
One simple way of doing this is to send information through the vault instead of in an email. If you have to send an email, try to include a link to the client site when appropriate. Communicating through the portal is a simple way to get clients to keep logging in. But it also helps aggregate everything into one place for the client, which only enhances the value they get out of their client site.
Another easy way to incentivize use of the client portal is to set tasks for your clients on their site. Once again, rather than sending an email and asking them to set up a connection, create a task in the client portal and train clients to watch for these tasks in the future.
As clients access documents on their site and complete tasks, they’ll become more familiar with their portal. At this point, you can start to add more features for them to use, such as spending, budgeting, goals, or even their whole investment portfolio. This will empower clients to build out their own story without being overwhelmed all at once.
To further help clients use all the features at their disposal, you can answer all of their questions on their side of the portal instead of your side. In this way, you demonstrate the power of the tools you are giving them, while also reinforcing the value you’re providing as their trusted advisor.
Using the Client Portal for Higher Planning Profits
Client portals help advisors deliver more personalized service at scale, both by creating a better, more interactive experience for clients, and by planning more efficiently.
Once a client is fully invested and active on their client site, they’ll be updating their personal and financial information on a regular basis. They’ll be continuously reviewing it to make sure it’s correct and returning the best information possible. With the most accurate and up-to-date information, advisors can offer more timely service and deliver financial plans quicker.
In fact, a recent study1 of eMoney clients showed that 57 percent of advisors can more quickly deliver plans after implementing eMoney. Additionally, 74 percent cut their planning time by 25 percent or more, and 55 percent cut their planning time by half or more.
The ability to access a client’s most recent data at any time can greatly improve an advisor’s responsiveness. The time savings realized with client portals also improves an advisor’s productivity, in turn allowing them to achieve higher return on their investments in financial planning.
Finding Other Ways to Engage Clients
A client portal is a powerful tool for engaging clients, but there are many other ways in which you can build deeper and more productive relationships. To keep learning, watch our on-demand webinar “9 Ways to Engage With Intent.” You’ll hear about a number of other tactics to evolve your financial planning services for greater efficiency and profitability.
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