Individualized and personalized advisory is increasingly seen as a key success factor of financial service providers. The problems providers face in advising their customers are manifold, however, most of the issues identified by their customers are related to the inherent information asymmetry (in general, the advisor is more knowledgeable about the topic, respectively has access to potent information systems) and the processes' lack of transparency and - strongly related - trustworthiness. Along with the sold products' performance these seem to be the major drivers of customer satisfaction and therefore also important factors of retention and - indirectly - revenue.
Clearly, these problems are multi-faceted: they involve different actors and perspectives (customer, advisor, other stakeholders of the bank), their (possibly opposed) goals and processes as well as their (technical) infrastructure.
In our research we aim to address these socio-technical systems by both introducing advisory processes and providing supportive technical systems. Thereby our initial perspective is strictly customer-oriented: we attempt to understand their interests and needs. Our proposed solutions, however, also consider other important stakeholders, first of all the advisor. We aim to bring together advisor and customer in an equalized, collaborative advisory process.
Following the notion of value co-creation we build process patterns and suitable artefacts empowering the two main actors by providing shared information spaces that are collaboratively explored. We believe that such an approach is valuable to both the customer (enabling active engagement in the process) and the advisor (providing sophisticated patterns and technical support for advisory). Additionally, we can identify benefits for other stakeholders: while more effective and efficient processes appeal to managers, the integrative architecture of our proposed software systems also considers the requirements of today's IT managers.
Our research is based on the premise that the low satisfaction of customers with today's financial advisory services is a function of several shortcomings: the lack of transparency and comprehensibility of the advisory processes, the fluctuating service quality (depending on the advisor) - summing up: the low level of trust banks and advisors are able to establish.
Trust and trustworthiness being a central construct in advisory services, we strive for advisory processes that are (1) customizable (i.e., adaptable to the specific customer's needs), (2) cooperative and interactive (i.e., allowing for a higher level of customer participation), and (3) transparent and comprehensible and therefore trustworthy.
In our current research on such advisory processes (and how to support them), we focus on the following aspects:
Intentional design of advisory situations that is tailored to the customer and her needs
Cooperation and Interaction
Configuration of the advisory process and its goals
Higher level of customer inclusion, leading to joint responsibility and stronger commitment to the results
Shared Information Spaces
Advisor's information accessible for the customer
Integration of trustworthy information sources (according to the customer's preferences)
Transparent and understandable progression of the different advisory activities (such as requirements planning, risk profiling and creating an adequate investment strategy)
Documentation of the process
- Nussbaumer, P., & Matter, I. (2011). What You See Is What You (Can) Get? Designing for Process Transparency in Financial Advisory Encounters. Accepted for presentation at INTERACT 2011, September, Lisbon.
- Schmidt-Rauch, S., & Nussbaumer, P. (2011). Putting Value Co-Creation into Practice - A Case for Advisory Support. Presented at 19th European Conference on Information Systems 2011, Helsinki
- Nussbaumer, P., Matter, I., Slembek, I., & Schwabe, G. (2011). Information Search Behavior of Financial Service Customers and the Role of Advisory Services. Presented at 19th European Conference on Information Systems 2011, Helsinki.
- Nussbaumer, P., & Schwabe, G. (2010). Gemeinsam statt einsam: Kooperative Bankberatung. Mensch & Computer 2010. Fulltext available here.
- Schwabe, G., & Nussbaumer, P. (2009). Why IT is not being used for financial advisory. Presented at the 17th European Conference on Information Systems 2009, Verona. Fulltext available here.
- Nussbaumer, P., Slembek, I., Lueg, C., Mogicato, R., & Schwabe, G. (2009). Understanding Information Seeking Behavior in Financial Advisory. Presented at the 11. Internationales Symposium für Informationswissenschaft (ISI 2009), Konstanz. Fulltext available here.
- Mogicato, R., Schwabe, G., Nussbaumer, P., Stehli, E., & Eberhard, M. (2009). Beratungsqualität in Banken. Was der Kunde erwartet. Was der Kunde erlebt. Dübendorf: Solution Providers AG. Short version available here [german] (external link to www.solutionproviders.com). Full version available here.