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Digital Transformation

Forrester CX: Vanguard, Culture and Trust

livebloggingWe are live-blogging from Forrester’s CXNYC this week, the event for customer experience leaders, innovators, and practitioners.

One of the most fundamental questions Vanguard faces: How do you build an emotional connection with millions of clients you’ll never meet in person?

Think back to opening your 401K or brokerage statement back in 2009.  Not a good memory. Vanguard urges clients to stay the course though. The simple fact is that money matters. It’s not about the raw numbers.  No one cares if you beat the S&P 500 last year.  It’s about things like taking care of your family, sending kids to college, retirement, etc.

Vanguard Mission Statement: We take a stand for all investors, treat them fairly, and give them the best chance for investment success.

Vanguard launched personal advisor services last year.  It’s focus is on building trust in a virtual environment.  It’s a different level of engagement to turn over your whole portfolio to one advisor.

In launching this service, Vanguard went all in. They did a lot of research and discovered two important things:

  1. Customers wanted and needed more investment advice and at a decent cost
  2. Customers lacked
    1. Time
    2. Willingness to manage it on their own
    3. Ability to do so

Looking at their customers, they found that all managed money on their own but in several different archetypes:

  • Judge, self-directed investor. Has no confidence in his ability.   Feels off track for retirement.
  • Engineer. Loves investing. Dedicates the time to do it right. Has skill and discipline. (Vanguard assumed client base was full of these types)  He was actually a small part of the clients)
  • Real estate agent. Amassed a retirement nest egg. Is reasonably confident in ability to manage assets.  Calls herself lazy, lacks discipline. Wants someone to develop a plan for her.

They built personal advisor with the judge and real estate agent in mind.  Then went through an iterative process to evolve the experience.

Getting Employees on board

Held meeting, had lunch and learns, and sponsored webcasts………with just a little success.  They had to go back to their corporate mission statement.  Then tried again. They made clear to them WHO they were serving. It wasn’t the self-directed guy. It was the judge and real estate agent.  With that info, the employees had a stronger sense of pride in the new offer.

Key Learnings

  1. Do what’s right for your client
  2. Nurture a client centric corporate DNA.  It may be organic but it needs to be reinforced
  3. Obsess about the client experience
  4. Test, refine, and validate
  5. Make the experience personal

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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