SEVEN PLATFORM IMPROVEMENTS
As demand for financial planning rises, so too does the need for platforms to evolve to keep pace with technological advances.
Like any other piece of kit being used by advisers and paraplanners to help them serve clients and run their businesses, platforms are being compared to tech elsewhere and held to the same standards, quite rightly so. User journeys and interfaces need to keep pace with those found in consumer-facing software.
In a recent survey of the UK platform market, Platforum found that 50% of advisers rank usability and 52% rank service as a top five factor when assessing platforms. While some respondents said they prioritise ease of navigating around a platform to find the information they want, others conceded that they are unable to achieve the full benefit of the platform due to complexity of navigation.
Zurich interviewed key personnel at 40 advisory firms across the country to try to gain an honest understanding of what advisers really want in a platform partner.
Our findings show that speed of sourcing the most pertinent information to client portfolios and ease of placing new business onto a platform come top of advisers’ wish lists. While each had specific wants and needs, the resounding feedback centred on simplification and flexibility within the new business journey, simpler navigation and easy access to the client information that platform users really need.
In a reflection of this, and to ensure that the Zurich intermediary platform continues to be one of the strongest on the market, we have redesigned our platform to make it quicker and easier to navigate. This includes making significant enhancements to the look and feel with the aim of providing a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.
Below we outline seven ways in which we have improved the Zurich intermediary platform:
1. NEW DASHBOARD
A new dashboard page allows users to find and report on the information they need the most often with greater speed and ease. This page acts as the central hub of information, both for each advisory firm and for its clients’ portfolios.
2. QUICK LINKS
Quick links on the page allow users to access the areas of the platform they use most often and a new search function enables users to source client accounts quickly.
3. WORKLOAD TRACKING
A new section on the dashboard allows user to see a status view of work items submitted to and authorised by Zurich, including when the crystallisation of funds is authorised – all of which is updated in real time.
4. NEW BUSINESS
Placing new business onto the platform is now an easier and more flexible process. In some scenarios, time spent inputting client data will be reduced by up to 50%. The journey will better reflect the ways in which platform users on-board new clients by moving away from a fixed input process over a series of pages to a single page application that allows users to enter a client’s personal and financial information in a flexible manner. Our research shows that this better reflects many advisory firms’ own way of capturing client data.
5. PENSION ILLUSTRATIONS
Obtaining a pension illustration is easier too. This can now be requested during the new business journey without the need to go through a separate process.
6. MOBILE ENABLED
The platform is formatted for use on mobiles and tablets too, giving users the same functionality and user-friendly experience when they are on the go.
7. USER NAMES
The platform now automatically remembers user names so that signing in is a quick and hassle-free process, particularly for daily users.
We hope you like the refresh and as always welcome your feedback. Share your views with your business account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recent study by Platforum also found that usability has an impact on the way in which advisers interact with a platform.
“There’s probably a lot more on these platforms that I could use that I don’t, because I don’t know where it is”
“From our perspective, it’s just the ability to navigate around the site and get the information that we want”
Source: UK Adviser Platform Guide, issue 33, Platforum, March 2018
“This development will transform some of the key areas of our platform. Key information will be available quickly and on the go and new business will be a quicker and simpler process to complete. It shows our commitment to working with the users of our platform and to developing solutions that they need. There is more to come so watch this space!”
Richard Bedford, proposition manager, Zurich UK