The world is full of information, in an amount difficult to imagine just a few years ago, and it also continues to grow: consequently, people have more information than ever before when making decisions.
The case of financial services is a clear example: today, customers have comparators, options to obtain quotes online, and without obligation from the different entities, forums, and opinion pages … All the information necessary to choose the most suitable offer. Convenient and in the best conditions, the most convenient product seems to be just a click away.
However, having a lot of information does not mean making better decisions. In fact, excess information is a problem in itself, as most people have a hard time distinguishing between what information is important and what is irrelevant. In addition, the existence of more data not only does not reduce but can increase the most frequent problems related to information: obsolete data, unreliable sources, information obtained for another purpose and little related to the current problem, etc … In summary, quantity does not mean quality.
Therefore, given so much information available, users of financial services need judgment when deciding. In practice, all this is very difficult. In general, people do not have the knowledge or time to reach the level of “informed skepticism” that is required to make good decisions based on objective information. And yet we continue to make mistakes, making wrong decisions under an “illusion of control,” believing that we made the right choice because we have informed ourselves before.
Therefore, professional counseling advice remains relevant since the expert advisor has the necessary criteria to help make better decisions. For this, it is necessary to define, or perhaps redefine, the role of consulting in its relationship with the client. The advisor can be key in several tasks:
- Clarify objectives with the client
- Streamline search for offers
- Facilitate the decision
- Avoid mistakes in all this process
Consequently, in order to provide personalized, effective advice that adds value to the client, the financial adviser must be based on two fundamental axes: on the one hand, a deep technical and client knowledge; and on the other hand, a high level of credibility and trust. It is the responsibility of the advisor to simultaneously develop both.
To achieve these objectives, the consultant himself must adopt a quasi-scientific approach to the data he uses in the service he provides and treats his relationship with each client as an individualized information project.
First, you need to understand what decisions customers make. Then, the advisor must build his own “information ecosystem,” detecting and integrating the best existing sources. Next, you have to apply this information to support each of your customer decisions, reducing bias and errors. Finally, the advisor must carry out constant monitoring: on the one hand, of the result of past decisions; on the other, of the form and the means with which they have been taken.