We know that football fans of a specific ilk will have well-defined opinions of players or opposing teams, we know that public expressions of political affiliation could reflect what an individual’s stance over capitalism, socialism or yogic-flying may be, and that internet dating attempts to match people with similar interests potentially leading to one or more parties regretting their interest in walking as they catch hypothermia on an isolated mountain in November.
The danger of categorisation is that we begin miss or even discard the detail and nuance of what makes individuals, individual.
Recent developments and commentary over technologically enhanced advice (TEA) has seen a moderation that positions it as another method to engage and service clients. Something small that may catch on in the future if those millennials do something fancy with their gadgets, right? Digital advice is beginning to find itself neatly contained into a multi-channel strategy where intermediaries can service clients through different channels: online, face-to-face, remote, etc.
The assumption is that client will happily remain within each channel, but it is here where the danger of categorisation raises its wicked head. The reality is that clients may likely need to switch between these channels and in such a manner that their data effortlessly follows them across each one.
It is about recognising mobility through the way a client engages with an adviser, how intelligently that information is stored and used without the need for re-keying from either party and how ancillary technology can enhance the experience – an example being how chat bots can aid a process. This mobility becomes an omnichannel approach that allows clients to choose the appropriate level of service and where necessary, nimbly move between channels as their circumstances and requirements dictate.
This model will not work for everyone and “boutique intermediary” may become a much-used expression in the future for the mortgage and protection sector. Boutique signifies the niche that services targeted customer segments, but for those that provide a more generalised service for a wider range of clients, there is the decision on what channels the business will expose and is this suitability sufficient for the future?
If other internet disrupted sectors are to be compared against, boutique is a survival strategy of targeted categorisation, omnichannel recognises the diverse and different, allowing the individual to determine how they approach and engage.