Advisors and financial institutions looking to garner greater satisfaction from their clients are finding success by using apps, according to the J.D. Power “2023 U.S. Wealth Management Digital Experience Study.”

The 6,217 full-service and self-directed investors who participated in the study evaluated full-service wealth management mobile apps and gave them an average score of 776 out of 1,000 points. The score is 11 points higher than the average score for a full-service wealth management website, the study found.

The self-directed wealth management apps also beat out their website counterparts. The apps scored an average rating of 738, out of 1,000 points, while the websites scored 704 points, the study said.

Apps have become the primary tool investors use for their finances, including banking and investing. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are easy to use and convenient, since many savers and investors have apps on their phones, according to Craig Martin, executive managing director and global head of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power.

“We’re finding that a number of firms are starting to lean more into the app,” he said. “So a lot of their investments at this stage tend to be mobile centered, and that’s starting to impact the mobile experience more so than the web experience.”

It is important for investors to enjoy their time using the app, because oftentimes a positive app experience translates into overall satisfaction with a financial firm, the study found. 

Those full-service investors who use their wealth management firm’s app every day ranked their overall experience at 798. In comparison, those who use the app only once a year evaluated their satisfaction with the firm at 745, and those who never use the app rated their overall satisfaction at 701, the study said.

Firms are becoming more comfortable with using technology and digital media as complements to the in-person services they can offer. They see it as another tool to improve the client experience and not as a replacement for an advisor.

Martin said that the technology allows firms to offload some tasks and yet still be involved in the client’s life “day in and day out.”

“What humans are really good at and where their value is, is being empathetic and asking questions and engaging the customer,” Martin said. “That’s really the critical piece.”

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