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Prepare for the future of wealth with client journey mapping

Jul 07, 2023

The landscape of the wealth management industry is evolving rapidly: Younger generations are bringing new expectations, and an unprecedented transfer of wealth is on the horizon. For wealth management firms that want to stay prepared for these changes, understanding the client experience is key.

To understand how your firm is managing the client experience, turn to client journey mapping. A client journey map creates a detailed, visual guide of the processes and people involved in the major steps of client interactions. For example, you could start with these journey stages:

Image of client journey mapping 

Having the discipline to complete a mapping exercise positions your firm for continuous improvement while giving insight into how you can build relationships, develop trust and enable personalized service for clients. And when your firm puts the clients at the center, you’re better able to maintain and grow assets under management (AUM), even amid an ever-changing environment.

Why you need client journey mapping

A client journey map gives you a plan for handling every stage in the client life cycle, making it easier to:

Grow AUM

AI-powered recommendations and marketing is quickly making personalized customer experience the norm. High-net-worth clients are also customers and are expecting that same exclusive experience, and if they’re not finding it at your firm, they’re not likely to increase the assets they’ve entrusted to you.

A client journey map helps you identify how to better tailor your interactions, services and support. For example, you may need to better leverage your CRM to track a client’s hobbies, goals and life events. Or maybe your firm needs a stronger communication plan to address opportunities for clients to increase their investments through new touchpoints.

Understanding gaps in your client interactions can help your firm capitalize on more personalized outreach.

Connect with wealth inheritors

It’s estimated that $84.4 trillion in assets will change hands through 2045 as the baby boomers and silent generation transfer their wealth. Wealth management firms that are prepared for the future understand that managing relationships isn’t just about current clients, it’s also about their wealth inheritors.

Too often, wealth inheritors switch financial advisors because their previous advisor never made connections or built a rapport. But, according to the Nuveen Wealth Inheritor Research Study, “80% of the wealth inheritors who first met their family advisor as a child or teen decided to work with the advisor — compared with 54% of those who first met the advisor as an adult or young adult.”

By developing a communication plan for wealth inheritors as part of your client journey, your firm can be proactive about preparing for the future of your AUM.

Manage knowledge transfer

If an advisor becomes unavailable, does your firm have the processes in place to provide their clients with the same level of expectations and service?

Client journey mapping can help you prepare a plan for how to keep relevant staff educated about your clients and their expectations. It should be easy for staff to access the information they need to understand who the client is, what it is that you’re managing for them and where there are opportunities for them to grow their assets with you.

How to create an effective client journey map

Understanding the client journey entails looking at every touchpoint and experience a client may have to see where it can be improved. It can be an overwhelming process, made more challenging by the fact that departments within firms are often siloed.

Instead of taking on the entire organization at once, it helps to center your focus on three key areas where clients will interact with your firm: people, process and technology. Beginning your mapping process with one of these three categories makes it easier to identify how you can enhance the client experience and increase retention for the long term.

1. People

Understanding who a client interacts with, and under what circumstances, is crucial to creating positive client experiences.

When creating your client journey map, your firm needs to evaluate:

  • Touchpoints: Identify where and how clients typically interact with your firm, be it through relationship managers, the support team or their financial advisor.
  • Roles and responsibilities: Define who in your organization will be responsible for the different aspects of the client journey.
  • Skills: Identify areas where a lack of training and development may be making relationship building challenging for employees. Keep your people updated so that they’re capable of offering the level of service your clients expect.

2. Process

Mapping processes in your firm involves evaluating every scenario that a client could undergo and how you can make it as streamlined as possible.

To help remove friction for clients, your firm should:

  • Map the different steps and stages that are needed for processes, such as onboarding and account management. This will help your firm maintain consistency and identify areas where these processes can be improved.
  • Create a more seamless experience by increasing collaboration or integrating systems. When client data is accessible, it’s easier for your people to guide clients in getting the support they need.

3. Technology

Firms that improve their digital experience will be better able to appeal to the younger generations of wealth inheritors, many of whom are digital natives. Technology also helps your firm optimize internal processes, making it easier for employees to focus on value-added work.

When creating your client journey, evaluate how your firm is using technology to manage:

  • Digital touchpoints: Your firm should be providing clients with convenient ways to communicate their needs and access information. Consider options such as personalized dashboards, secure document sharing and real-time performance tracking.
  • Integration: Integrating your data into a CRM or other platform can help your firm store and track client data more effectively, making it easier for staff to build client relationships.
  • Personalization and automation: Technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, can help your firm offer personalized services, including tailored investment recommendations and support. It can also be used to automate routine processes, such as data entry.
  • Compliance: Cybersecurity concerns are increasing in the digital age, as is regulation. Keeping your technology current helps you stay in compliance and maintain client trust.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli is ready to guide your wealth or advisory firm in creating a quality client experience. We work with you throughout the client journey mapping process, helping your firm ensure that your people, processes and technology are all operating effectively. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve your operations. And explore more wealth and asset management firm services.

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Michelle Joseph, MBA
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