In this article, we’ll discover what a robo-advisor is, how a robo-advisor works, and what the pros and cons of using one are, and how you can stand out by using a greeting card service. We’ll see that there are some things that robo-advisors can’t offer, in particular the peace of mind of having a human connection.
Building on that, we’ll look at ways that financial advisors can press home the advantage of the human touch using greeting cards or mailed gifts. These services can strengthen advisor-client relationships for increased customer loyalty and lifetime value, as well as showing that traditional financial advisors still have a place alongside robo-advisors.
How do robo-advisors work?
Robo-advisors are financial advisors that offer advice or investment management with very little human intervention. Instead, they offer algorithm investing based on programs tailored to a client’s risk preferences, normally working towards a specific desired return. They are increasingly popular for long-term investments as well as those with limited capital or investment experience.
What are the advantages of robo-advisors?
The largest robo-advisors offer extensive historical detail on the returns you can expect on investments and can outperform human advisors on occasion. Betterment claims from their data that since 2004 a client with a 90% stock portfolio would have seen a cumulative return of 190.6% compared to 109.2% from an average private client investor’s portfolio.
Another advantage of robo-advisors is that they typically charge lower management fees than traditional investors. With typical annual management fees of around 1%, human advisors are somewhat more expensive than Betterment’s 0.25% charges.
What are disadvantages of robo-advisors?
The main con of using a robo-advisor is the lack of a human touch. Many customers aren’t comfortable with the idea of machines looking after their money, preferring the peace of mind that comes from having a human advisor.
Robo-advisors may also be limited in the general advice they can offer by what information the system has access to; human advisors, on the other hand, can call on a wealth of experience and training to advise clients.
How can human financial advisors press home their advantage?
Human advisors do need to be aware of the increased competition offered by robo-advisors, but they aren’t out of a job yet. Many people still prefer a more traditional investing approach that includes face-to-face human contact, and it is this advantage that advisors should look to strengthen. Meaningful relationships can prove to be a differential for financial advisors, not just when compared to robo-advisors, but even against fellow professionals in the industry.
Even for financial professionals with long lists of customers, touching base with them on a regular basis should be a priority. While doing this manually would be taxing, automated services for sending cards to clients can provide a way to strengthen client relations without extensive time commitments or overflowing birthday calendars.
There are now numerous client engagement solutions, using electronic cards (e-cards) or sending traditional cards by mail. These can be sent out on special occasions such as a customer’s birthday or on holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. You can even go beyond a card and send client appreciation gifts or birthday gifts by mail to keep yourself “front-of-mind” with your client base.
What can greeting card services do for financial professionals?
Common sense prevails when it comes to keeping customers, so it should be no surprise that a personal touch can help to retain customers. It’s been shown that a 5% increase in customer retention produces a 25% increase in profit in the financial services industry.
There are other less obvious benefits, too. One is that a card with a company logo is an excellent piece of advertising and could be seen by scores of people if displayed in an office or place of work. While e-cards may be environmentally friendly, they lack the physical component and could possibly convey a lack of effort on your part.
Human advisors still have their place.
Are robo-advisors worth it? Ultimately, despite their rise, there is still demand for receiving traditional financial advice from a seasoned professional. Part of their appeal that robo-advisors can’t imitate is the human connection. By building meaningful client relations, financial professionals can be assured of ongoing customer loyalty.
Providers like The Birthday Company offer a quick and simple service by which financial professionals can stay in touch with their clients and ensure that they maintain a solid relationship. These services require minimal effort but are a gentle reminder that there is a caring person behind the financial advice, which robo-advisors can’t provide.