Craig Martin of J.D. Power Discusses How Customer-Centric Digital Transformation is Key to the Future of Wealth Management

"Mobile is a major opportunity to offer customers a convenient way to access wealth management services. People want to take action whether they are on a train, on their way to work, or someplace else. However, J.D. Power studies this year found that while 50 percent of consumers are using the mobile channel, mobile satisfaction is much lower than the experience people receive from traditional online services." -- Craig Martin, J.D. Power 

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 COSTA MESA, Calif. - Nov. 8, 2018 -- As new technologies and communication channels create more options for consumers seeking to optimize the management of their financial lives, the wealth management sector must put the customer experience at the center of how, when and where to apply new services based on innovative capabilities, says Craig Martin, Managing Director, Wealth & Lending in the Services Industries Division at J.D. Power. 

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"There is no doubt that the technology-enabled services consumers use in their everyday lives is changing the expectations that they have for their financial services providers," explains Martin. "While trust and convenience are important in every sector, they are absolutely critical success factors in the wealth management arena," he explains.The big mistake the financial services and wealth management industry must avoid is to simply invest in the latest technologies in an effort to 'keep up with the Joneses."

The evidence indicates that a race to adopt functionality and capabilities without ensuring alignment to the true customer priorities and needs can actually have counterproductive consequences. For instance, while many firms are making major investments in mobile services to provide account-access and self-service capabilities, the response from consumers has been mixed.

"Mobile is a major opportunity to offer customers a convenient way to access wealth management services. People want to take action whether they are on a train, on their way to work, or someplace else," Martin says. "However, J.D. Power studies this year found that while 50 percent of consumers are using the mobile channel, mobile satisfaction is much lower than the experience people receive from traditional online services."

This points to a disconnect between the customers' needs and how new technology is meeting those needs.The ability to access services over the mobile channel can streamline certain aspects of wealth management. But institutions can miss the mark if they do not focus on the actual customer experience and the expectations that must be met to achieve customer satisfaction.

"Mobile customers have very high standards for their mobile interactions, so it is vitally important to meet or exceed those standards. Those firms that achieve this will have a point of differentiation among wealth management providers," explains Martin.The same, he says, is true for the implementation of the foundational digital transformation technologies -- like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Many institutions will deploy these technologies to optimize current processes. The most successful wealth management players, however, will focus on how these technologies can deliver customer satisfaction."AI and machine learning can help increase digital interaction with customers because they deliver the communications the customer wants with the right frequency, delivering a premium customer experience. It can actually allow wealth managers to combine the convenience of mobility with the high-touch experiences associated with more traditional face-to-face engagements," Martin says.Evolving with Customer Needs

Wealth managers should also put thought into how the application of digital technologies evolves as their customers move through different rites of passage."It is important to connect with young customers using the mediums that they are used to. But it is then important to use these same technologies and insights to evolve the relationship as they evolve from do-it-yourself customers seeking basic guidance, to new engagement models as they age through different life stages...and their wealth management needs evolve," explains Martin.

To listen to the entire audio interview with Craig Martin of J.D. Power, visit:

https://soundcloud.com/jdpowerpod/craig-martin-discusses-how-digital-transformation-is-key-to-the-future-of-wealth-management