So as a millennial, I can officially confirm that I definitely want and will use robo advice!
Why I want robotic help…
I would suggest that my generation has more regular contact with our peers than potentially any generation before us. However the vast majority of that contact is unlikely to happen face to face. We’ve mastered the ability to express our thoughts in only 140 characters on Twitter, and WhatsApp has become our favoured form of contact. But let’s be clear, our teenage years were spent talking to our friends through MSN Messenger, and WhatsApp is the evolution of that communication, we expect instant response to our messages.
But this lack of human contact isn’t limited to just contact with our friends, it spreads to the services we use. When I buy something, I’d much rather visit the self-checkout to save time, and even better is if that self-checkout lets me instantly purchase using Apple Pay.
Now self-checkouts would be the equivalent to execution only in the financial services world. True robo-shopping would be the ability for me to complete some kind of online form that asks me a series of fact-finding questions, and then an algorithm determines all the items from the shop for me…that sounds pretty convenient to me.
Outside of my weekly food shop, which I still do in person (for now), I do all my other shopping online. Whether I am shopping for birthday / Christmas presents, or if I’m just looking for a new gadget, I will do everything online. Providers like Amazon have made that even easier now. When I visit HMV and see a new Pop Vinyl that is out, I can simply open up my Amazon app, take a photo of it and my order is processed online instantly. Sorry HMV!
But how do you engage me with robo advice…
All I really want is for you to make it as quick and painless as possible. But as you know, I’ve lived through the recession; I’ve seen the mistakes that can come from poor financial planning decisions. So you’re going to have to instill me with the confidence that your service is reliable and safe.
Part of my confidence in the service will come from the ability to go back and check up on it. Let’s imagine last March I used your robo advice services to invest £15,000 in a Stocks & Shares ISA. We’re now coming up to another ISA season; wouldn’t you want to tell me how my investment is going? I’d suggest that if while I’m sat at my desk I get a little tap on my wrist and my Apple Watch tells me I’ve already earned an additional couple of hundred pounds on my investment, I would be inclined to invest with you again to see how it matures in 2016-2017. Or if as is the case this year it’s gone down in value by £700, don’t you want to reassure me that investment is for the long term and that now is a good time to top up taking advantage of more realistic valuations?
Once I invest another lump sum of cash through your robo advice services, I would then feel pretty engaged if you rewarded me somehow. The reward doesn’t have to be financial, you could take a page out of O2’s book and reward me in the same way they reward their customers with Priority Moments. I would love to enjoy a Starbucks on you!
Don’t worry, you have time…
I don’t really expect these sorts of services to be available now. In fact I would imagine that most millennials, who don’t work in financial services, haven’t given much thought to robo advice. But in the next 5 years, the spotlight is going to land on this.
In fact, I would definitely expect this to be available in 5 years’ when it comes time to renew my mortgage. It would be fantastic if my mortgage provider dropped me an email to let me know my fixed term is coming to an end, told me all the key information about my mortgage and then sent me to a website where I can enter my latest details, and be told what fantastic new mortgage offers they have for me.
However, as I’ve said before, I’ve seen the impact of poor financial decisions, so I would definitely want the option to give someone a call, or go and see someone face-to-face before making a final decision, because I really don’t want to make a bad choice!
As you can see, I would definitely be a user of these sorts of services. I expect in the short term, as I’ve alluded to on a couple of occasions, I would be looking for a service closer to Cyborg Advice (I told you we love a good buzz word), which lets me do everything online, but gives me the option to have a human step in.
Every generation has their own different challenges, and while you need to focus on Generation X and Baby Boomers who are your current main investors and retirees…Millennials are coming, and we really want to be serviced!.
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