The Importance of The Personal Touch in Finance
Technology has made our lives easier in so many ways. We can communicate instantly, watch on demand and transfer money at the touch of, well, a touchscreen. Banking and finance, in particular, have changed drastically over the last 20 years; gone are the days when you had to physically visit an ATM to check your balance or speak to a real person in a branch to set up a standing order.
But has this reliance on apps and internet replaced human interaction? Is there still a call for the personal touch in banking and finance? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is (predictably) a little more complicated. As one financial website* put it, “technology has brought transparency and speed to financial interactions, including those between banks and their customers.”
However, it also notes that “human interaction still matters and, for some smaller players in the banking realm, can make all the difference in providing a positive experience that will keep customers in the fold.” Essentially, you can’t confuse the ease of convenience with the importance of the personal touch and this logic applies to all financial services, from wealth management to pension planning.
This in no way means that financial planners or banks should eschew technology. Quite the opposite. They should instead find ways to harness digital strategies and tools to make their service more personal. For instance, by creating content that doesn’t have a commercial angle, that is instead created to inform and educate and expects nothing in return.
Companies can also use social media to communicate with their clients and provide support without having to speak in person or over the phone – a perfect example of combining technology and the personal touch to help clients feel taken care of. However, specific sectors require different levels of personalisation and reassurance. An e-commerce site, for instance, can probably rely on bots or social media to a greater degree than a financial planning company.
A few years ago, the FT penned an entire article* about how important the personal touch is in wealth management and finding a financial adviser you can trust. As they put it, “a personal relationship with a manager, who gets to know you and your financial priorities over many years and can anticipate your needs, is something that’s hard to put a price on.”
Money, how you spend and save it and how you eventually leave it, is an incredibly important area of most people’s lives. Beyond the everyday of checking balances and transferring funds, technology is a useful tool at best. If someone comes to a firm looking for guidance or direction on a financial matter, a bot or tweet just isn’t going to cut it. An expert who can assess their individual situation and needs and can offer reassurance is simply irreplaceable.
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This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions. Investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested.
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gpfm are an independent financial planning company dedicated to the provision of personal, professional and objective-driven advice for our clients. We have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planners title by the Chartered Insurance Institute for offering high quality, independent and informed advice that meets the needs of our clients.