The future belongs to hybrid consulting
With digitalisation, various sales processes are shifting towards the customer. However, this does not weaken the physical consultation. On the contrary: independent, high-quality and customer-oriented advice becomes more important than ever.
We live in a networked and consumer-driven society. Many customers therefore think little about the future and live in the now. As a result, current challenges in Swiss pension provision are often neglected or even ignored by a large part of society.
In the battle for customers, consumer behavior is the biggest competitor to consultants. A modern advisor must therefore provide a form of education that leads to improved consumer behavior, taking into account individual retirement planning.
The impact of digitalisation
The development of customer interaction in the sales process leads to a fusion of the digital and physical worlds. The separation of the sales processes is no longer possible for the customer, since he receives digital offers to buy in real time in the physical world, for example on his smartphone.
Digitalization therefore has a decisive influence on customer interaction. The processes are increasingly shifting from the financial institutions to the customers. Before digitization, the customer advisor was responsible for the traditional sales process, information access and solution evaluation. The hybrid customer informs himself in advance through various channels and only involves the customer advisor in a second phase. This effect is called ROPO (Research online, Purchase offline).
Nevertheless, physical advice will continue to be a key component in customer acquisition and the sale of financial products in the future. An ongoing, individual and personal relationship between the advisor and the client is becoming increasingly important, as individual advice and the client-specific knowledge that reputable advisors possess are not interchangeable components.
Key factor of digital advice
Digital consulting tools support the sales process without media discontinuity in electronic and personal interaction. The customer needs or the ROPO effect of the hybrid customer can thus be optimally addressed.
In order to meet the customer’s need for trustworthiness, reliability and professional qualification of advisors, consideration should be given to the introduction of standardised standards for independent and high-quality advice. In the future, pension and financial services should be issued or restricted on an individual basis depending on the skills and qualifications of the advisors. It would also be worth considering a public and independent client advisor comparison, where clients would have direct insight into the advisor’s skills, qualifications and job evaluations.
“Customer relationships should be carefully nurtured, because trustworthiness, reliability and empathy are virtues that cannot be replaced by digitisation”.
Hybrid consulting as a virtuous trade
For the advisors of the near future, the differentiation strategy should lead through personal, long-term and hybrid advice. Today, as in the future, advising on money is a matter of trust. Clients want a flesh-and-blood advisor to whom they can entrust all aspects of their assets. The aspect of personal advice is crucial in order to secure the sale of financial services and achieve the necessary margins. Customer relationships should be carefully nurtured, because trustworthiness, reliability and empathy are virtues that cannot be replaced by digitalisation. In addition, financial service providers should focus on low fluctuation, as this strengthens customer loyalty to their own institution.