Do you currently employ a Head of Digital Advice at your company? Are you in the process of hiring one?
Chances are you don’t (and you aren’t) – but that’s something you should be thinking about changing sooner rather than later.
In the financial sector, for example, an industry that experiences tough regulatory pressures and is one of the most disrupted by digital, the role “Head of Digital Advice” is not uncommon. People holding this position usually are responsible for the entire online advice offering to clients. This includes overseeing the information team, managing interactive advice tools, providing advice solutions to support contact center agents, and producing online help content for clients.
‘Why?’ you may be asking.
Well, it’s simple: People are more comfortable digitally and they have higher expectations digitally. They no longer expect to receive services and advice only face-to-face or over the phone; leaving it up to their luck on whether or not they’re paired with an informed, knowledgeable and friendly sales rep. They don’t want to read pages of fact sheets or static content to understand which product is right for them. They want a fast, personalized experience that revolves around their needs.
It’s a reason why Digital Advice is moving into the mainstream, and companies in the financial services sector were first to respond. It gives them the opportunity to make their focused expert advice available online, interactive, and whenever consumers need it to drive engagement and conversion.
But this disruptive trend is not exclusive to the FS industry.
In his great piece, “The rise of adviser brands”, Brian Solis, a digital analyst at Altimeter Group studying disruptive technology and its impact on business, describes how today’s consumers are “pocket detectives” who use their devices to research products and seek advice in real time.
It’s a fast-growing trend as more and more consumers are narrowing and validating their choices with the help of expert-driven advice. He writes:
“Consumers aren’t just searching for products; they’re seeking ‘the best’ solution. As they face an overwhelming array of brands and choices, they’re expecting brands to offer useful and quick information to guide them. This is setting the stage for a new genre of ‘advisor brands’ that proactively engage mobile-first, investigative shoppers with helpful advice.”
If brands want to play any role in their customer’s purchase-decision journey, today and in the future, they have to become “adviser brands” as Solis labels them. These are brands who understand that consumers seeking advice offers great opportunities to educate, influence and drive action, in other words, to be valuable to customers in each micro-moment, or else, risk the fate of becoming irrelevant altogether.
Brands need to become a trusted source of advice to differentiate
This is a time for adviser brands to step up, meet their customers in their micro-moments, and help guide them on their journeys – Brian Solis
When consumers find it difficult to make a decision, personal advice is crucial. It’s the only way to foster trust, purchase confidence and eventually convert them.
The evidence is there that customers are becoming more and more overwhelmed by the vast amount of choice available:
- 30% of shoppers like to receive advice before making a purchase decision
- 90% are more likely to buy if they receive expert advice
- 83% of online shoppers need support before making a purchase
There’s an abundance of products and services in every sector, and that’s only going to increase. To stand out you have to help customers quieten the ever-deafening noise so that they can confidently make purchase decisions without feeling choice paralysis or buyer’s remorse.
It’s simple: if customers feel they aren’t being sufficiently understood, supported and guided by your online experience, your relevance will disappear in their eyes and they’ll find a company that fulfills these (now basic) requirements.
In the next five years, all industries will experience more change and disruption than they did over the last 50 years. Offering Digital Advice and hyper-personalization will be mainstream. Creating a Head of Digital Advice position, and hiring someone with the necessary skills and foresight to do the job, will help you create a genuine point of differentiation now and put your business in a strong position for the future.
Cast your mind back 20 years and tell me how many E-commerce Directors you knew. Or Social Media Managers. Or SEO Specialists and User Experience Designers.
Now, think how important those roles are in everyday business. Most online, consumer-facing companies would collapse without these professionals.
Having a Head of Digital Advice, or Digital Advice Manager, or Digital Advice Executive will be just as important as customers become increasingly overwhelmed by choice and expectant of expert advice in real time.
To find the right person for the role, here is a downloadable job description detailing the skills and character they need:
Download the job description template: Head of Digital Advice
Feel free to contact me if you want to learn how you can use Digital Advice to influence your business growth.