Last week you read about how the talent crunch is influencing firm strategy at every level, from talent development to training to compensation. There is another trend that is having a similarly profound impact on our industry – the decline in branch traffic and referrals. Your clients are more valuable than ever before, because the cost of client acquisition has never been higher. This has firms looking outside the branches for sources of new clients.

For firms that have built out investment call centers and digital advice platforms, most segment their delivery of investment services, directing less profitable clients to the call center or digital offering, and restricting access to their advisors. In almost all cases, these firms make triage decisions (i.e., where to send a client after they walk, call, or click in) based upon the client’s investment assets, but they appear to be struggling with the execution. That is one of the findings of a joint project between Kehrer Bielan and Sales Quality Research Group to mystery shop the triage process in institutions that have a segmented delivery model. KBRC’s Tim Kehrer and SQRG’s Jim Rensel will present the findings of that research during our panel discussion at the 2019 BISA Annual Convention on Segmenting Delivery of Financial Advice: Leveraging Mystery Shopping and Consumer Research, at 2:30pm on Thursday, March 7.

No matter how a new client enters the firm, effective profiling on the front end helps ensure that the client is matched with the appropriate delivery channel and offered the proper products and services, while also capturing a vital piece of best-interest documentation. Firms that recognize this have made client profiling a part of their process. Technology advancements are making it possible to gather client’s profile information with greater ease and efficiency for broader uses including financial plan construction. Easing the client profiling process for advisers will allow them to engage in more holistic conversations with their clients that will ultimately uncover additional opportunities. Emphasis on process, driven by financial planning, can address the client squeeze in two ways: by helping to ensure that the client ends up in the appropriate delivery channel, and by helping advisors to go deeper with each client that crosses their desks. KBRC’s Leigh Van Heule will be participating in a panel discussion on The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Why Your Process Matters, at 11:15am on Thursday, March 7 at the BISA Annual Convention.