Tips to Move Your Clients From Paper to Online
I am not a technology savvy person. I will never be a “leader in cutting edge” improvements. Nor am I a young person. But despite all of these disclaimers, I have finally come to the conclusion that we need to dump paper statements. I don’t need the clutter and the online versions are actually even easier to read. (Besides, online saves paper…).
I am not the only person who supports dumping paper. Spectrem’s ongoing research with wealthy investors indicates that 38 percent of Millionaires prefer receiving their financial statements online. This changes dramatically when it is reviewed by age. Sixty-two percent of Millennial Millionaire investors prefer online statements as do 42% of Gen Xers and 40% of Baby Boomers. Thirty-one percent of the WWII generation prefers online statements.
So how does an advisor move his or her clients from a paper-based environment to an online environment? Won’t many investors object to this change? In fact, 61% of investors like receiving hard-copy statements.
Let’s face it. Providing hard-copy statements is expensive and time consuming. And as technology becomes increasingly accepted, it will be easier to transition your clients. It’s time to start now.
Here are some key tips to begin the movement.
- Make sure your website is easy to use and account information is easy to navigate. Many advisors have failed to invest in keeping their websites up-to-date. Websites must include balance information, according to 69% of Millionaire investors. This percentage is similar regardless of the age or wealth level of investors.
- Proactively ask your clients to begin using online statements. Investors receive numerous emails every day. They constantly push “Delete” if they don’t know what is contained in an email. Let your customers know that you are going to be sending their statements via email (and hard copy for awhile) so they know to expect it. Make sure the statement can be easily obtained via a simple click.
- Next time you have a face-to-face meeting, show them how easy it is to use your website and help them select log-in information at that time. The key is to make the transition simple. Having to deal with setting up a log-in and a security verification, while important, is a hassle – especially for older clients.
- Offer an incentive. Offer your clients an incentive to sign up for online statements. Perhaps it’s a subscription to a newsletter or a copy of a book. Your original outlay for the incentive will eventually be reimbursed by the amount you save from not having to mail statements.
- Make the transition occur over time. If you can get clients to sign up for online statements while they still receive paper statements, you can follow their progress. Continue to proactively push out information to draw them to your website and to their online account information. After a period of time, encourage them to go paperless.
- Populate your website with interesting information. Many services are available today that supply articles written with investors (and compliance officers) in mind. Push these articles out periodically and have them available on your site. In fact, 40 percent of investors would like to read articles on their advisor’s website.
- Include video. While most investors still prefer to read articles rather than watch a video (54%), videos are appealing to younger investors and are eye-catching, causing investors to click on the information…even if they read the article rather than watching the video. In fact, 20% of investors would like to see videos on their financial advisor’s site.
- Make sure you discuss the security of your site. Sixty-three percent of Millionaire investors are worried about the security of their financial information. Sixty-one percent are worried about hacking. Forty-nine percent fear that a disaster, a hacker or a terrorist attack could destroy their financial information. Therefore, it is critical that you describe to your clients why their information is safe on your website and in all of your technology platforms.
- Appeal to their environmental concerns. While a large percentage of investors may not care about ESG investing (61% indicate they choose investments to make money – not to be socially responsible), they may on a daily basis actually be environmentally proactive. Many people recycle and therefore online statements may be an acceptable option. This is especially true for younger investors. Appealing to their social conscience may make an investor more open to online statements.
Change can be slow…but not always. The iPhone and Facebook were not popular just 10 years ago and now they have a significant impact on our daily lives. Maybe with some nudging you can convert your clients to online statements. Not only will you save money and effort, they will be better informed and will have information easily available.