It was 50 years ago that NASA entrusted Apollo 11 with taking a man to the moon and safely returning him home. The hardware and software that controlled the flight and safety mechanisms would become the basis for modern computing systems.
Maybe you’ve heard of Moore’s Law; it asserts that computing power doubles every two years. That’s why your cell phone has thousands of times more memory, power, and speed than the computers that powered that Apollo mission. Technology will continue to propel the financial services industry to new heights.
And artificial intelligence (AI) is going to lead the way.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
For most of us, AI congers up images of a Star Wars droid-like C-3PO or R2-D2. AI is actually a lot simpler than those droids. In the most basic terms, it’s software which gives a computer the ability to think and learn by analyzing a vast array of data inputs. AI powers digital personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
It’s also the brain behind the Nest thermostat, facial recognition used to tag your friends in Facebook photos, and self-driving cars. It’s even transforming the health industry by assisting with diagnosis and treatment regimens. And as AI becomes smarter with each generation, it’ll take on more complex tasks.
Integrating AI into Your Business
Don’t worry; AI won’t be thrust upon you and your business. The adoption of AI will be gradual as the technology evolves and is integrated into more processes. As a matter of fact, you may already be utilizing AI without knowing it.
Facebook ads that are targeting particular user demographics are using AI as their backbone. And many email marketing platforms have AI features added to them.
The initial integration stages will involve using technology to automate routine tasks. The AI beachhead will likely start with e-apps and other document processing. From here, AI will advance to CRMs so you can analyze client data to better manage communication, marketing, and client service processes.
Related: What Can a CRM Do for Your Business?
As the technology evolves, you’ll be able to incorporate more complex functions like the multi-variable analysis necessary for creating planning solutions. In the later stages of adoption and with massive amounts of client data – personal, financial, and behavioral – advisors will come to rely on AI to help them provide scale to their businesses and incremental value to their clients.
With AI in the Picture, Who Needs a Financial Advisor?
When online brokerages first appeared in the 1990s, financial advisors of all kinds began to question their longevity. During the next 25 years, automated advisor platforms were again predicted to crowd out advisors. But none of this happened.
Try as it might, technology hasn’t been able to replace advisors, and neither will AI. The retail investor continues to seek financial advice, especially as their wealth expands and their financial needs grow in complexity.
Related: How Technology is Disrupting the World We Live in and What it Means for the Financial Advisor
How AI can Change Your Advisory Business
Financial planning and advice will remain essential to advisory firms. However, we’ll continue to see changes in the way advisors manage their business and engage with clients. Financial services providers have already automated much of the back office.
As the desktop environment has been mastered, it’s now on to interacting via mobile applications. This digitization will enable AI to leverage all data to provide customized, concierge-like services that were once reserved for high net worth clientele to the entire book of business.
AI Will Strengthen Human Interactions
No business can thrive without clients. And your firm’s CRM should be your business backbone. An AI-capable CRM might analyze open rates and client responses to firm emails to learn which types of content appeal to each client. AI could then further segment the client base so that clients receive appropriate information delivered at optimal times.
This’ll also have an influence on future class or seminar topics. AI might be deployed to let advisors know which clients are predisposed to make a referral or invite guests to your next event. Deeper client relationships go hand-in-hand with improved client trust. And trust is the most valuable commodity in your arsenal.
AI is impacting another area: social media. However, many advisors don’t have the staff to adequately monitor social media patterns and insights. AI has impacted search engine optimization (SEO) by bridging the gap between data science and marketing campaign executions.
By analyzing client engagement—who clicks on, comments on, or shares posts—advisors can refine targeted social media campaigns. Chatbots, powered by AI, might be programmed to assist in marketing and sales processes. What if your firm used AI to monitor the social media accounts of clients? Advisors would really be able to leverage the opportunities provided by social media marketing.
Behavioral data captured by AI will become the most valuable input an advisor has in understanding clients. Furthermore, any digital experience that includes elements of gamification will engage with clients and encourage the sharing of information.
Digital interaction continues to become the norm. Because of this, warehousing and analyzing behavioral data will help determine risk tolerance and suitability. Advisors might use AI to create tools that assist in the creation of customized budgets and financial solutions. Knowing a client’s behavioral tendencies will enable the incentivizing of positive behavioral change to give clients a greater chance of reaching their financial goals.
Looking to the Future
Consider AI’s potential influence on financial tools like e-Money that allow for the aggregation of a client’s complete financial portfolio. It may sound a little like Big Brother, but by monitoring real-time transactions, AI could be utilized to adjust spending limits or recommend certain transactions.
For instance, the software interprets increasing auto repair expenses as an opportunity. AI could inform the client that purchasing a new vehicle would be more cost effective than maintaining the old. It might even recommend a particular vehicle, the selling price, and the best financing options.
Take it a step further; AI monitors both e-Money, the CRM, and social media. The client has been accessing articles about the cost of higher education. AI could alert the advisor that this client should be asked about potential college-funding needs. This client’s version of the monthly newsletter will start to contain more information on college-funding and legacy planning. There will be great power in an AI-enabled advisory firm.
This isn’t the end.
The world we live in today was made possible by technological advancements. AI’s insertion into data analytics will be giving advisors a deeper connection with, and a better understanding of their clients. And the future will see blockchain technologies further advancing AI capabilities.
For now, the use of AI-enabled technology will continue to grow and surprise us. It’ll enhance future outcomes in all industries, including financial services.
Are you beginning to rethink AI’s role in your business? The race is on to see which advisors can implement AI to improve the client experience and drive top-line growth.
Need help SURGE-ing your business?
Surge Business Consulting engages with financial professionals to create tailored business solutions to maximize growth in their respective businesses. Through a unique ’20/20 process’, Surge holds itself and the financial professional accountable for reaching new heights together.