CX is important in asset management. Whether firms have a formal “CX” programme (most of the larger firms do) or whether they are thinking about the customer experience subconsciously without a formal program, the intent is the same: Asset managers want to create a buying experience that is frictionless, knowledge-led, and consistent across all channels.
It also needs to be brand-led and clearly articulate the brand’s values through every interaction the customer has with a firm. There are several reasons that this has become more important today than it was in times gone by:
- Asset managers (of all sizes) have overweight sales, marketing, and client servicing processes.
- These processes have had to grow organically as firms have grown over the last decade.
- The concept of a customer has become blurred as distribution strategies have evolved.
Fundamentally, an asset manager is a manufacturer from raw materials or an assembler from components.
What asset managers have had to do over the preceding decades is build go–to market and client retention strategies around their own manufacturing operations.
It was inevitable and arguably unavoidable that, to create the successful growth that the industry has experienced, firms would create many different business processes that would accommodate the varying needs or demands of customers that they have acquired over the years.
These business processes have led to groups or even whole departments being formed that serve important roles for certain cohorts of customers that are critical.
Legacy and Paralysis
When something is critical it becomes very hard to change it. The fear of breaking it can create slower decision-making, perhaps even paralysis. The consequence is that executives right at the top of the organization are best served by “kicking the can down the road” and continuing as they are – as long as the product performs and is being taken off the shelf by customers.
But delaying is no longer an option. The investment industry is now under the microscope of everybody. The days when we closed our eyes and hoped that our savings or pensions were growing are gone. The effects of climate change and inequality across the world are now beginning to impact us all.
And these factors are quite literally affecting our pockets. This brings the asset management industry directly into our homes. The supply chain that used to delineate us away from the manufacturer has suddenly come into alignment. It now requires asset managers to show uniform shop windows, irrespective who is looking and what they are looking at. That is the reason “CX” is important.
The customer’s perspective brings opportunities into focus
On the upside “CX” initiatives may help cut costs. But the opportunity to gain more loyal customers far outweighs any cost cutting initiative. “CX” is not about your website, your factsheets or your sales presentations. It is about ALL of it.
Having a common narrative that captures your brand, content and data and the tooling you provide your customers – be it documents or on-line access – is what CX is about. Most importantly, CX is about knowing who your customer is. That is a question that many firms are grappling with. Never before has the notion of the “end” customer been so important for the asset manager and their quest to understand how they support their own direct customers.