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17 December 2019

Making Service a Part of Your Technology Evaluation

By Ryan Alexis

Reliable best-in-class service can be hard to find. Most cloud-based, comprehensive wealth management platforms tout an exceptional service model, but few live up to expectations. So how do you define outstanding service? These days, you may be accustomed to chatbots and sending help requests through a generic portal where a nameless representative puts your submission in a queue. Can you get your answer this way? Maybe. However, advisory firms are unique and often your concerns do not fall into a one-size-fits-all category. Not only does this type of service structure lack personalized help, but it can also be a lengthy wait time and may not ensure you are getting the most out of your technology investment.

As the Senior Director of Client Support for the Black Diamond® Wealth Platform, I am very familiar with what makes for great service and we consider it a differentiator. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a portfolio management solution’s service organization:

  • What is your pledge on resolution time? Get specific about their service level commitment and ask about potential requests that would be important for your firm. For example, for a net new custom report build, our clients know they can expect to receive that report in five days or less.

  • What is your service team structure? Would your firm have a dedicated point of contact? Don’t be shy about asking to meet people from the team so you get a feel for authenticity.

  • How many people are on the service team and what’s the ratio of support to total clients? Do they have just a handful of people sitting at their desks answering phones and working a queue? Or has the organization made an investment in building out its service organization?

  • What types of tools does your service team use to prioritize and manage requests? Yes, having a single point of contact with whom you can reach by phone is important, but that may not be the best use of your time. Are you able to submit a case to your service representative directly within the platform at your point of need? Can you view its status? And is the team tracking themes so they can relay improvements back to product development?

  • Is support an additional cost or built-in to the total package? What levels of support are included when you purchase the solution? Make sure those are defined and clear.

  • What opportunities are there for training? Since platforms like Black Diamond tend to cover a broad range of functionality like billing, rebalancing, reporting, an investor portal and so much more, it’s important you are able to fully optimize your use. Is there a training team dedicated to helping clients? Do they travel? Are there benefits, like an account credit, for attending trainings?

  • What types of qualifications are required and how are they trained on the latest technology advancements of the platform? How well does the team know the industry and your business? When support teams can both speak your language and are up-to-date on the platform, interactions are more productive. In the case with my team, it isn’t uncommon for a service representative to proactively identify and reach out to a client who they believe would especially find value in an enhancement.

  • How does the service team retain, develop, and reward their top performers? I once had a prospective client ask me this question and was really impressed by the context.  The prospect understood that investing back in the development of employees was critical to providing a great client experience.  Happy, engaged employees produce the best work.

 

When choosing a technology solution, it’s just as important to assess the level and type of support you will receive as it is the features and functionality. You want to make sure the total package meets or even exceeds your expectations.

The exceptional service Black Diamond provides is a direct reflection of how we believe we can best serve our client base given the dynamic and comprehensive design of our platform. When you couple Black Diamond’s personalized approach with the service-oriented culture of the entire SS&C Advent organization – that is when you know a commitment to client success isn’t just hype, but a guiding principle that is woven into every decision we make.

Want to learn more about Black Diamond’s single point of contact service model? Read this brief about how our best-in-class service raises the bar.