Now, people want different forms of communication: sometimes print, sometimes digital and at other times in a cross-channel format.
A reasonable degree of agility is required: seasoned investors will expect an in-depth report to be mailed out to them so they can contemplate it at their leisure; millennials, however, may prefer to go online or receive a text alert.
All of which makes the once relatively simple method of getting in touch with customers a more complex process than ever before.
Maximise your resources
In theory, large organisations may have the manpower to deal with complex communications. But the reality may be somewhat fragmented, particularly when different divisions are involved – IT for data management, marketing, accounts departments for billing and so on.
Meanwhile, smaller organisations may lack the resources to deal with the complexity of customer expectations, especially when it comes to liaising with printers and data sources, formulating engaging and interesting, relevant messages – and then delivering them in a timely fashion.
A further challenge presents itself with the introduction of new data protection legislation, in the form of Mifid II – introduced in January – and GDPR, which came into force at the end of May.
Financial institutions will be required to obtain the necessary permissions and maintain databases within the realms of the regulations, a move that will undoubtedly have a far-reaching effect on how advisers market their services.
Ask the experts
Working with a specialist communications provider can help financial advisers and institutions formulate innovative, relevant and personalised messages for their customers, whether they are delivered through one or a number of channels.
Even businesses with in-house provision are finding it more efficient to outsource not only print but all communication production in order to access the latest technology and enjoy advances in speed, quality and cost reduction.
Experienced providers can access customer data and use it to provide the most relevant documents. Personalised brochures, for instance, can be produced that are tailored to each individual customer, containing the vital information on their portfolio of investments, including a record of transactions, fund values and a round-up of other information.
The right partner will manage the entire process, whether it be producing the most sophisticated, personalised print documents, delivering multi-channel messages across digital and email platforms or even handling in-bound responses from consumers.
Operating as an extension of a business, such companies can, if required, have an account manager or dedicated team on-site to manage communications, freeing up resources to concentrate on their core business. Alternatively, it may be possible to establish a ‘self-serve’ option where once a system is set up, businesses can then operate it themselves without the involvement of a third party.
A good communications company can simplify the entire process, bringing all requirements from different departments together to ensure all messages are on-brand, in addition to offering operation and cost savings. Valuable employee time need not be spent printing out a letter or composing an email campaign, while using one print supplier can reduce production costs.
Not only that, entire databases can be managed to the highest standards of secure practice – particularly important with the introduction of GDPR.
Financial and investment data is obviously hugely sensitive and the right provider will always secure and encrypt data, in a ring-fenced environment with dedicated servers, never keeping it past the point of what is necessary. Some may even have a governance risk and compliance team, with a risk officer sitting on the company’s board.
Outsourcing customer communications can ensure a coherent, all-inclusive service covering all aspects of services, from personalised printed annual statements to managing and securing databases. Leading companies will employ the very latest technology to create on-brand, engaging messages delivered across multiple channels, while analysing customer responses and delivering full legislative compliance.