Are virtual personal assistants a broker’s best friend?

June 9, 2021 10:38 am

Are virtual personal assistants a broker’s best friend?

More finance professionals are exploring digital solutions in a bid to enhance their customer conversations and deepen those all-important relationships.

However, are enough industry leaders tapping into the powers of virtual personal assistants to further develop a more inclusive way to communicate? Judith Doherty – account director for SimpleUsability, part of CDS – and Amy Russell, founder of virtual business support specialist Crescent, teamed up to discuss this very topic with Financial Reporter.

Today, there’s a vast array of technology at everyone’s fingertips. Right now, billions of people from across the globe will be tapping into their apps to spend and save money with the simple click of a button.

However, while the world continues to rapidly evolve, and individuals are presented with more digital choice, what does that mean for the personalised approach that the finance industry prides itself upon? Do intuitive tools help or hinder brokers when it comes to deepening client relationships and providing tailored communication to better guide customers?

As physical premises closed during the height of the pandemic and social distancing measures came into force, isolation continues to be a topic of discussion as many people still remain in their homes and are shut off from the outside world.

And despite business doors gradually re-opening and lockdown restrictions easing, what the pandemic has caused many businesses to explore is the introduction of virtual personal assistants (VPA) who operate from a remote location but provide a savvy solution with a humanised touch.

VPAs are a great way to bridge the gap between technology and personalisation – and bringing the two together. These assistants enable both brokers and customers to have access to other avenues when face-to-face appointments aren’t possible. And from an inclusivity point of view, that can be a huge plus-point for individuals who might not be online and prefer speaking to someone directly – or at least having the option to.

Additionally, VPAs are likely to have experience in the finance sector having previously been an executive or personal assistant, so they are well-placed to know what it means to be knowledgeable in this sector – and can help to simplify jargon and phraseology where necessary. As well as appointing them to manage email inboxes and book appointments, they can communicate directly with audiences via social media and other methods too.

The importance of inclusivity for brokers

An even greater pull for many modern-day brokers is the fact that VPAs can facilitate ‘mindful spending’. Through their guidance, these assistants can help customers to better manage their money because they’re not simply tapping an app to withdraw cash – they’re speaking to someone, albeit remotely. This makes all the difference when providing a vital personal touch.

Finally, with an extra pair of hands to take time-consuming tasks away, it enables brokers and their clients to deepen relationships and build on that all-important customer loyalty, all via their preferred methods of communication.

Following a time in which many people have been unable to visit branches, businesses and their financial broker’s headquarters, it’s becoming more apparent how important it is for brokers to be inclusive in how they engage, so that clients are provided with an equal access to opportunities – whether that’s via an email, post or on the phone.

If brokers are only opting for automated technology to handle their communications, for example, that is going to be of little use to customers unable to get online. Having a VPA on-hand can be the go-to support these individuals require who are able to reap the benefits of face-to-face interaction without actually being in the same room.

Finance professionals utilising assistants and technology should ensure their offering complements a completely personalised experience for the customer. That means investing in the right ‘fit’ for their organisation and that’s flexible and able to adapt to an ever-changing market. VPAs are an ideal way for industry leaders to grow their businesses, improve their communications and provide a truly inclusive experience.