The Future of Client Engagement – Wearable Technology

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How can insurance agents and financial professionals embrace the future of wearable technology for the benefit of their practice? By helping you to become a communications and marketing innovator, wearable technology will facilitate a competitive advantage. You are more than just a skilled financial analyst, portfolio manager and relationship planner — you’re also your clients’ life coach, soothsayer and financial guide. You’ve probably realized that the best relationships typically start with a common desire to achieve personal and professional goals as a team. So, if you really want to give your clients a transformational experience rather than a transactional encounter, you’ll have to adopt wearable technology sooner than later.

Believe it or not, if you already wear a simple watch or even use a smartphone, you’ve already taken the first measurable step. For many people, wearable technology is already the next wave in personal communication, healthcare monitoring, activity measurement and physical improvement, although the idea really isn’t all that new. For instance, you may have seen or even worn the classic Casio scientific watch developed in the 1980s that not only displayed the time and date, but also calculated simple mathematic problems. Even modern science fiction stories such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” have alluded to predictions that humans may soon enhance their bodies by physically implanting wearable technology. For immediate reference, set your sites on the generation born after 1997, known as Generation Z. Forbes recently published an article stating that this demographic will live in a world in which wearable devices are expected and even required in the workplace, just as social media engagement is expected today.

It’s All in the Wrist

Technology giants such as Apple, Samsung, Google and LG have all recently created smartwatches. You may be wondering why you need another gadget that appears to perform the same functions as a smartphone, but smartwatches are designed to be used as either a smartphone companion or a stand-alone device with its own unique benefits.

Larger financial institutions are already building the framework so you can connect with your clients on a more personal level via the communication bridge. Most people already use their smartphone in lieu of a traditional watch, especially when it comes to time management. So imagine your firm communicating valuable snippets of data regarding completed transactions and special requests directly to your clients via text to their smartwatch, in addition to the standard email updates through their smartphone. You and your clients will have a more immediate, constant and direct line of communication without having to make unnecessary phone calls regarding simple operational tasks that can, in fact, be automated. These types of interactions are more personal and engaging, which will create “top-of-mind awareness” and help you develop and maintain your relationships for the long term.

Use Your Vision

Over the last couple of years, you may have seen some articles in the press discussing a product called Google Glass. What is Google Glass? Google Glass is a consumer version of an existing technology called head-up display (HUD), and the military has been using HUDs in various capacities for more than 10 years. But why would anyone use military technology for personal communications, let alone in an office environment? Eventually, you will use this audio/visual advancement to help record client meetings, such as face-to-face interactions, so you may focus on the conversation at hand. This innovative form of information gathering, used with the permission of your client, of course, will free you from the mundane task of note taking. Think about all the times you’ve had client meetings but were unable to really appreciate the personal details of your conversation. With HUDs, you and your team can be completely immersed in the conversation without worrying about tapping away at the keyboard like a courtroom stenographer.

Recently, a prominent financial institution asked me to participate in a few studies about how and why financial advisors would use Google Glass. Advisors like things that are easy-to-use, cost-effective and proven to work consistently. Depending on the size of your practice, you may have an administrative assistant or junior advisor that supports you with numerous administrative tasks. In the future, you and your organization will benefit from the possibilities of recording your client meetings and then having your CRM automatically transposing the conversation to a searchable Word document that can be digitally filed in your backup of choice (i.e., hard drive and/or cloud drive) for your working reference and compliance audits. “Never miss a moment” may become your new corporate mantra.

Those of you who have seen Google Glass in its current form probably wouldn’t adopt this technology yet because it’s cosmetically distracting, not to mention somewhat uncomfortable, but these design and usability flaws will be solved with practical refinements. Currently, a few companies like fashion eyeglass frame designer Warby Parker are integrating HUD technology directly into their lens and frame designs for future release. Who knows, maybe they’re being tested on the streets even as we speak.

Advanced Digital Assistants

Whether you’re a single-person office or a large financial practice, the one thing we all have in common is the need to perform administrative tasks. The current generation of smartphones allows you to perform simple voice commands with the use of assistive voice technology, which provides contextual, spoken results for voice queries. This allows you to perform simple tasks, such as making phone calls, getting directions, hearing stock quotes or even finding a good restaurant for that important meeting. In the coming years, the currently awkward nature of conversational response will fade into the past and the human element of conversational dialogue with your device will become part of your everyday routine. This advancement is nearly on the horizon, especially when you consider that the most ambitious artificial intelligence project in the world has been being developed in secrecy by a company named Cycop since 1984.

Many people have already adopted wearable hands-free technology like a Bluetooth headset to make both personal and professional calls. And while you primarily use this little device to engage in hands-free phone calls, wouldn’t it be useful always to have a virtual digital assistant at hand to help with administrative tasks? The next generation of Bluetooth headsets and earpieces will deliver better and more advanced voice command technologies. You may already be familiar with the headset solutions offered by Jabra, Jawbone and Plantronics, but one particular company, Motorola (the originator of the cellphone now owned by Google), has released a discreet wireless earbud designed to access your phone using simple conversational voice commands without needing to touch a single button. This tiny device is called “moto hint,” and fits right into your ear. Many more companies will be producing similar devices over the coming months.

You want to deliver the best experience possible for your clients, prospects and employees, and wearable technology is not meant to replace your personal interactions and experience. But when administrative functions become fun, refined and automated by these aforementioned technologies, you’ll be able to dedicate even more time to your relationships. Remember, your clients choose to work with you because of your unique personality, financial expertise and sincere professionalism.

Bryan Mills is a financial consultant who has been working with private investors for over two decades. Building on 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and producing broker he launched AdvzrTek, a practice management technology site designed to help other financial professionals. His mission with AdvzrTek, is to connect other financial service professionals with innovative and useful ideas, to enhance their practice and save them time. He can be reached at or

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