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Live chat for financial advice – Best practice tips

Live chat is a powerful tool, but success largely depends on how it’s used. This best practice guide can help your IFA firm to maximise results.

We are now a few years into the conversational revolution, where messaging platforms are the norm. Paper-based processes have been gradually phasing out, and even email forms are becoming outdated. 2019 Has been a year for chatbots and live chat platforms to become readily available, and more than ever, financial advisors are engaging with prospective customers and clients through instant messaging solutions.

Robo-advisors and automated support has proven to be effective in the sector. A recent study found that many consumers are turning to chatbots for their financial needs – in fact, according to their results, as much as 43% of respondents said this is their preference, over going to a branch or finding answers on a website. But as with most things, execution is important to ensure the best possible outcome.

How can financial advisors harness the power of live chat to get the best ROI? Here’s some best practice tips and recommendations:


1. Make sure you can respond quickly


Live chat can significantly improve the delivery of customer service, as it allows agents to respond to questions quickly and efficiently, to solve issues instantly. Speed, however, is very important. Consumers reaching out on live chat do not stay for long waiting for an agent to reply. This is why it’s a good idea to have an automated response in place that can be helpful and resourceful, or a chatbot to handle that first interaction. Chatbots can provide 24/7 support for simple queries, covering you while you are offline or focusing on more important tasks, and they can transfer queries to a human agent when necessary or appropriate.

A good live chat platform for financial advisors will be equipped with tools to ensure your visitors are not left hanging, either with messaging automation, alerts, or else. Ibby, for instance, allows you to populate an email form within the chatbox, as an automatic response to visitors when they message you on your website. This automated ‘lead capture’ tool allows the visitor to leave an email address, in the event that no one is available to respond immediately. Agents are then able to see the saved email address within Contacts and follow up accordingly.


2. Use robo solutions


Automated chat responses can be incredibly helpful and are particularly appealing for the younger generations. For millennials or young professionals who may be lacking a lucrative career or a high salary, going to an IFA firm for advice can be a daunting task – and this is why, more often than not, they prefer to deal, in the first instance, with a robo-advisor.

As a low friction channel for customer contact, chatbots present a friendly alternative to the traditional advisor. With artificial intelligence (AI) evolving at light speed, chatbots are increasing in popularity in the word of financial advice,  bringing with them some of the best examples of fintech advances implementation in the industry.

A recent report by Accenture showed that 76% of financial institutions believe that, in the near future, most organisations operating in banking and finance will deploy AI interfaces as a main channel for customer interaction. It’s just one of the indicators that chatbots and robo solutions will continue to change the game in the market, and improve the delivery of financial services.


3. Partner with an FCA-approved live chat provider for Open Banking


Financial advice often involves the practice of assessing individuals’ affordability for the delivery of some services, such as wealth management, financial planning, mortgage applications or even debt advice. Recently, advances with Open Banking have helped advisors to streamline the process of affordability assessment. As an FCA-approved live chat solution, Ibby brings together automation and Open Banking in a chat-based environment, make it quick and easy for both consumers and advisors to go through the process of sharing financial data.

The recent introduction of Open Banking standards has been changing the ways for financial services. With Open Banking technology, fintech providers are helping firms to connect directly with individuals’ banks in order to access a history of customer transactions, and accurately evaluate their financial circumstances.

For financial organisations in the UK, as well as advisors, it’s best practice to comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA). It stands to reason why firms must go with providers and suppliers that have been approved by the FCA, who are in full compliance to help you make the most of Open Banking technology.


4. Take live chat support to the next level with co-browsing


If you’ve read up until this point, hopefully it’s become clear that live chat poses a number of good advantages for financial advisors, to improve lead conversion, increase sales and enhance customer support. But what about customer experience?

Often, financial advice relies heavily on the information displayed on a website. The problem with this is that, in this digital era, customers don’t want to spend time looking for  answers on a website. And secondly, quote applications and forms, which are common practice for a number of financial services and products, usually present high drop-off rates; customers abandon the page in the middle of the application process or give up because they get stuck. This is when customer experience goes wrong, and hurts your business.

Live chat can help, but it can also transform the experience and humanise the online journey for customers – when it is used in combination with co-browsing technology. With co-browsing software, agents can literally navigate together alongside consumers, to show them what to do around a webpage: they can use the functionality alongside live chat to ‘show’ and ‘tell’ users where to click, what information to enter in specific fields, etc. With tools like annotations on the screen and notes, co-browsing a very handy tool for delivering the best possible support. Messages delivered through live chat can be accompanied by proactive help and support delivered in a more personal way with co-browsing. Your customers will feel better supported, and the outcome will easily translate in enhanced customer experience and engagement.


Conclusions


Effective communication is key to customer satisfaction and sales; and the effective use of live chat is essential to ensure best results. There’s a considerable amount of digital fintech solutions available today. Live chat platforms are evolving and becoming more specialised for specific industries, which means that financial advisors should do some research as to what tool is best for them.

At Ibby, we are combining the best of fintech advances for IFA businesses, to help firms make the most of messaging automation, in combination with Open Banking and co-browsing for a truly omni-channel experience.

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