Robo-advice and self-directed solutions are said to pose a threat to advice, but the inherent need for humans to connect and bond with others means professional advice will endure.
In creating the term ‘technoclientology’, my intent is to guide those in the business of professional services - and all service industries for that matter - to an umbrella discipline for engaging customers.
Technoclientology is the psychology of engaging clients in a modern world and encompasses the skills, techniques and concepts of sales, modernity, social (read Human) 1.0 and insights from the field of neuroscience that, when combined, allow us to observe, collate data, analyse and draw conclusions about how people will react and make decisions in a given situation faced with competing choices.
A ‘technoclientologist’ uses these insights to enable people to become empowered and make decisions that are in their best interests. What is achieved here is the working towards a greater good.
As a starting point, we can look at the application of technoclientology to address something close to the hearts of financial planning professionals and, in particular, insurance professionals, and that is the dire state of underinsurance (or mis-insurance as coined by Zurich marketing guru Richard Dunkerley) in Australia.
With only 1 in 5 Australians engaged in an advice relationship, there are schools of thought that cannot envision the problem of underinsurance improving through adviser action. Rather, they see that robo-advice, direct channels and self-directed solutions will lead the solution and make in some quarters advisers redundant.
I, as a pioneer technoclientologist, take a contrary view.
My view is predicated by the inherent need of human beings to connect and bond with people (especially when making decisions that impact decisions that interact with our values) and a technology interface, however efficient it may be, can never replace that type of face to face engagement.
However, for financial services what needs to occur and be delivered by insurance advice professionals is:
- an understanding and articulation of the multiple modernities and issues facing the different demographics in a population (be that as large as the entire country or as small as a client list)
- the identification of solutions that would be desired to mitigate those issues
- the ability to demonstrate the benefits of those solutions in a meaningful way to the target audience: I advocate client templating whereby product features are made relevant to the top of mind reality for the target client
- the use of an array of visual and audio messages delivered by multiple means that appeal to kinaesthetic, visual, digital and auditory learning styles
- the re-shaping of messages to ones that have an aspirational drive attached rather than relying on action from a position of fear or dissatisfaction with a current state (dissonance)
- an understanding of the core drivers of human behaviour and how to use templates and techniques that engage those drivers
- awareness that certain techniques produce neurological responses such as the release of neurochemicals and what is required is to ensure that stress chemicals are mitigated by the release of those that make us more inclined to bond and trust
- to ensure that multiple communication channels are utilised across an array of platforms (read technologies)
That indeed is the entwining of the techniques and concepts of sales, modernity, Human 1.0 and the insights from the field of neuroscience. That is ‘technoclientology’. It works for insurance sales and, when applied correctly, it works for plane travel and indeed hotel stays and it's truly wonderful when the service you receive is from someone or an organisation that truly gets it.
That makes me smile, and that makes me share and drives loyalty and customer advocacy.
Andy Marshall is head of sales strategies and research at Zurich Financial Services Australia.