We are passing through unprecedented times and I think for most of us we have never encountered such a scenario in our personal and professional lives, this could be rightly termed as a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) . On one end there is enough gloomy information floating around; however I would like to speak about the positivity that every government is trying to spread through social media, economic recovery package to name a few – globally and specifically to our nation.
Almost every sector has taken a beating and most affected are the discretionary spend oriented sectors like hospitality, travel and leisure, aviation. On the other hand E-commerce, BFSI, Digital Solution providers seem to have an edge here as they can provide the goods and services which are needed to keep the retail home owner needs fulfilled.
While the general sentiment of the economy and specific sectors remains subdued, the lock down in fact has given retail masses an opportunity to re-visit the deployment of their hard earned money through judicious investments. There is no denying that there is a knee jerk reaction to the stock markets; but at the same time it has brought opportunity in the form of quality companies being available for a discount. Such a turn of events has in fact bolstered the demand of equity investments and most leading players like us have seen a stark improvement through increased sales.
At MO we have clearly seen a “pull” factor in terms of customers adopting the use of digital platforms to make the most of the available opportunity. While we have left no stone unturned to make sure our advisory process is intact and customers are called as per the routine, we have seen a 50%+ increase in use of digital transactions over the past 2 months. This has created a mass shifting and our base of digital customers has increased giving us the advantage of last mile connectivity with them which was otherwise not possible with one to one human interactions.
With this, the question that emerges is that how can services post account opening can be customized or rather “individualized”, which is the corner stone of any financial services entity, get delivered to the clients with the best technology available today. The answer to this is to go Phygital – and take the best of both worlds. At MO we believe that operating in any one extreme is counter-productive for the best user experience.
I fully back the idea of using technology to study customer level data in real time. Being in the broking industry we are owners of huge level of customer behaviour data which helps us to map the entire life cycle and thereby gives us a glimpse of behaviour, preferences, risk assessment to name a few. Using analytics at MO we have empowered our advisors to engage with clients in the most relevant manner; thereby improving the all-round experience for the client. Our advanced platforms also relay this advice and provide very easy execution of the same as per the clients’ choice of app, web or other platforms. Additionally there are several Artificial Intelligence (AI) based products that have been developed; with the sole intention of providing tailored products for anyone who doesn’t have the means and time to understand markets. The intention of all these developments is to make the advisory sharper and scalable using technology .
Having understood how technology is getting utilized, let me know illustrate with a few insights on the importance of having an advisor. An advisor to my mind is a sounding board and aid in investment decisions of his/her client. While an AI engine will generate ideas and even disseminate it, advisor resonates with the need of the customer and tailors his discussion and to an extent even chipping in during the 11th hour. Investing in equity comes with a fair share of volatility which can be clearly seen in current markets, it is during these times that the advisors helps the client to avoid wrong making decision in the light of greed and urge to make ‘quick money’. There is a perfect example to this as we talk, where amidst fear of COVID-19 advisors are working from home leaving no stone unturned to service their clients, whether with or without technology at their helm. Technology can also play an excellent background role in this function as well, there can be smart information systems which can be developed to aid the advisors to take sound and profile aligned decision for the clients. The entire aim of using technology here is to empower the advisors to gain an in-depth view of the client’s investment needs, favorite trading areas etc. which is otherwise humanely not possible for the entire base; and hence service him in the way the client expects.
I am of the firm view that technology can provide invaluable capability to view the scenarios through data and other means; but ultimately these are only reference points. The value chain is incomplete without the human layer which brings a lot of qualitative output; translating into higher brand recall and client stickiness. This is very important for the broking industry, owing to the sensitivity of the investment needs; making humans irreplaceable.