Actionable Insights. How to use the right data at the right time to power the adviser/customer relationship.

14 June 2022

AdvisorsConsumerConsumer DutyDataInsightsMindful ofMindful OfTechnology

Expert: Caroline Clarkson-Lund, VouchedFor. Facilitator: Alex Whitson


  1. Collecting reliable and consistent data is a challenge across the industry
  2. The key to insights is to start with the customer problem
  3. Asking the right questions is key to surfacing insights
  4. Data needs to be easy to interpret and action
  5. Data should be relevant and specific 

Discussion points:

Several parties highlighted their frustration with collecting reliable data. Often, their systems don’t talk to each other. The data sources can be fragmented as a result of legacy systems or data being stored poorly, for instance in PDFs. The data collection methodology is often not consistent and frequently relies upon adviser input, making it manual, time-consuming and prone to error.

What is required are live, integrated systems that ‘talk with each other’ in a ‘seamless’ manner and which collect uniform data, and involve the client’s input.

Whilst there are no easy or quick answers to this problem, a tip here is to go through a full assessment of the purpose of each data source, setting a clear and unique purpose for each. You can then decide what each system is best at, and which parts to replace.

Many firms wrestle with what data they really need. A good starting point is to really lock on to the consumer problem you are trying to solve, rather than just the firm level problem. For instance, client data on fewer systems may make your management team’s life easier, but how does it benefit your clients?

Not locking on to the customer problem can lead to collecting lots of data without being clear as to its value.

The group had no shortage of examples of issues that they know their customers face.

A useful tool here can be mapping out the customer journey, and then thinking through the "minimum viable data" needed at each step to drive improvement.

A common pitfall to collecting data, particularly when it comes to client feedback, is to ask the wrong questions. Asking ‘do you agree’ type questions often leads to ‘closed’ responses, and this can mask useful insight.

Carefully thought-out multiple-choice questions can be more open and reveal greater insight. For example, ‘do you understand how you are charged for your advice?’ is a less valuable question than ‘how are you charged for your advice?’ Survey questions also need to be consumer-focussed. Questions such as ‘are you interested in a pension?’ may not resonate with a client. Instead, it’s important to get at the heart of what stimulates the client. For instance, ask questions related to their goals, rather than your services.

Data is only as good as the end to which it’s put. Data must be easy to interpret and actionable.

Once data is collected, it needs to be easily accessible, readily available, and actionable. This builds upon the requirement for consistent and reliable data collection. Once the data is structured and malleable it can be transformed into dashboards and visualisations that deliver a consistent message to advisers and consumers alike. As such, careful consideration should be paid towards user experience and how these insights answer the consumer problem(s) that you have identified.

A good tip is thinking through what action you want the viewer to take when they see this data - and designing the UX around that.

Not all consumers are the same, hence the data should be able to segment and target specific sectors. This is more important than ever, given the upcoming Consumer Duty regulation. For instance, are clients with a low level of financial knowledge having as good an experience as clients with a high level of financial knowledge?

It’s important to understand the experience of different client groups at different stages of their journey, and monitor how these change over time and in light of market conditions. This links back to asking the right questions to surface insights, and also highlights the need to capture data at regular intervals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ultimately, the data you collect should help transform traditional businesses into forward-thinking, truly client-centric businesses
  • Read the Consumer Duty paper, the final paper will be released in July 2022, and understand its implications for your business
  • Understand what insights you need to surface or customer problems you need to solve. Identify the data you require to do this effectively
  • Do an inventory of your systems. Work out which are good at what and streamline where possible
  • Stay calm. No one has all the answers. Getting data right is a multi-step journey