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Insights From Broadridge, The Fintech Industry’s ‘Back Office’


Have you scratched your head from time to time at how some communications sent en masse to consumers (from credit card companies, utility companies, fintech, wealth management, health insurance, and on and on) come off as redundant and waterlogged while others can appear streamlined, even sensible? Why some corporate customer communications are immediately in one ear and out the other, while others zero in on what you really want to know–in the case of a statement from your retirement plan, for instance, how your investments are performing in relation to your goals?

I decided to find out.

Coming to the rescue, both of the communication recipient and of this article, was Broadridge Financial Solutions, the company that serves as something of a “fintech back office,” helping “create more engaging customer communications experiences,” as Matt Swain, Broadridge’s Managing Director and Practice Lead, Communications & CX Consulting, puts it.

Picking up on my retirement savings example, Rob Krugman, Broadridge’s Chief Digital Officer, says that’s where we find “the dividing line between the kind of communication that consumers perceive as noise and the kind that they find as meaningful and actionable.  A ‘noisy’ communication from your financial advisor will give emphasis to the sorts of numbers and terms that no ‘civilian’ recipient could ever find interesting.”

By contrast, says Krugman, a relevant communication will cut through that noise to tell you (and, ideally, show you) what you need to know: “how your investment is performing compared to the plan that you’ve made.  Are your investments performing right in line with your plan, and therefore–to the extent these things can be known–on target to reach your goals?” Or is something going wrong because of unexpected factors and is it time to consider rebalancing?  Or, even, are you unexpectedly overperforming, which can be an indication that there is more risk in your portfolio than you were led to believe? “If this essential data is lost in the fog, you may never find it, either because it is buried or because you get, understandably, in the habit, of never reading your monthly statement.”

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Does Krugman and the rest of the team at Broadridge always succeed in convincing their client companies to let the data fog lift so their consumer recipients can clearly see what’s important?  Not always, they concede. There are indeed entrenched goals within some companies, and they can be a challenge to overcome, for example, a corporate priority to spotlight “Initiative X,” whether or not Initiative X is of likely interest to the particular slice of the market set to receive the communication in question.

“We’re getting there,” says Matt Swain, Broadridge’s managing director & practice lead for communications & CX consulting. “It’s true that the company sending out the communication is our client, but in our minds, we think of the recipient as the true target, the hero, if you will, of the effort, because if we please them, we succeed for our client as well.”

*****

It seems to me that the insights that Broadridge brings to consumer communications have applicability for entrepreneurs and businesses in nearly industry. In the course of our conversation, the following principles emerged that seem salient for any business striving to do its best when sending out customer communications; the answers to these questions can help you determine if you are sending your customers more value or more noise.

Whenever preparing to communicate with your customers, ask yourself the following:

1.     Does your communication offer an opportunity to create a conversation? For example, in digital, is there an attractive way or ways for the recipient, if so motivated, to respond right there, in-message?

2.     Does it spotlight the information that’s likely to matter to the intended recipient and downplay (or, if permitted by regulation, even leave out) what doesn’t?

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3. When sending multiple communications on varied topics, do they sound like they’re coming from a unified organization, even if different departments were part of their “origin story”?

4. Are you using the appropriate channel or channels? And, where practical, are you giving your customers a choice of channel(s) rather than enforcing a migration on them for the sake of your company’s goal of efficiency or modernization?

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