I’m often asked, “Should I consider using a client portal?” A better question is, “Why wouldn’t you consider using it?”
A client portal is an artery enabling your firm’s lifeblood—vital information—to circulate effectively between you and your clients. But not all portals are created equal.
As with technology, it pays to do your homework so you can select the portal that’s best for your firm’s situation and needs. As I have shared here before, every hour not spent doing mundane paperwork and administrative chores is an hour you can invest in tending and nurturing your relationships with your clients.
So, let’s look at some of the current portal options.
To start, remember that no product is perfect. There are little flaws in even the best of them. Still, there are several outstanding portals that deserve your consideration. They include Orion, Black Diamond and Summit Wealth Systems.
All three are user-friendly for clients of all ages. That’s an important consideration as you likely deal with everyone from the just-out-of-college crowd to residents in senior care centers.
Additionally, their modern interfaces enable the client to have an easy experience. What really matters is making sure your clients have swift, painless access to certain aspects of their portfolio and can easily upload and obtain important documents.
Here are three firm-centric features to look for when shopping for a portal:
- Financial planning software that allows a better look into a client’s financial situation.
- Portfolio accounting software that manages the client’s investment accounts and produces reports on those accounts.
- Customer relationship management software that keeps you connected to your clients.
Your portal should also offer clients these capabilities:
- Account Aggregation — providing the client with a comprehensive updated look at their finances.
- Goal Tracking — the ability to chart the progress made toward achieving multiple financial goals. A budgeting aspect may also be included in this feature.
- Document Storage — a secure, one-stop storage site for important documents that allows quick and easy access to the client’s important financial, legal and planning documents.
- Registration and Onboarding — an automatic client onboarding process for self-registration in a smooth, time-efficient manner.
Once you have selected and deployed your portal, you need to explain this powerful new tool to your client base and teach them how to use it. Be prepared to invest significant time and energy in this educational process. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.
Be sure to introduce the portal and its benefits to new clients at the outset of the relationship. Some folks are resistant to any type of change, even when it’s for their benefit. If you can get them accustomed to working with the portal from the outset, it becomes almost second nature and there is less resistance to it.
The right portal is out there just waiting to go to work for you and your clients. Your job is to find it.