Bruce Mau, the world renown designer of wonderful products and services in a recent radio interview said that great designs think on outcomes. Conversely, when we as stewards of outcomes fail, we have failed to adequately design for the desired outcome. That’s the way I challenge you to think of design the best client experience for your financial planning practice.
Designing for Outcomes
This way of thinking (of designing for outcomes) is a mental tool to help guide you whenever there are choices to be made and changes to your service or even when you are first designing your service experience. The outcomes that you lay out, helps you understand the end point that you want. Those outcomes should also align with your business goals as a company.
Besides, understanding deeply what your clients want, it’s perhaps even more important to understand what is the desired outcome of your services to them. In the hundred’s of in-depth interviews I’ve had with Financial Planners, I’ve come to the conclusion that the highest outcome one can achieve with a client is their full and undivided — engagement.
Outcomes Don’t Look Like This
In thinking of outcomes, I want give some examples of what outcomes are not, so that it might help guide you to think clearly what they should be. The best model of what they are not is thinking about the technology to use or what you can add to your practice to fill that void. The trouble with that is the review of the need is superficial and non-comprehensive. So as a very general rule, the outcomes should be always derived from looking at this from a design-thinking point of view. IDEO, the world’s leading design firm and the firm that was hired by Steve Jobs from Apple Computers to design the first mouse for them, talks about design-thinking first and foremost a human-centered approach and should integrate technology and the business into the fold for success. So what it takes is a good understanding of systems which include:
- People / Users
- Technology / Features
- Business / Market
Robo-advisors are NOT the True Answer
What this really means is that robo-advisors are not the answer. I’ll talk more about this topic in my next blog post, but suffice to say that great design, ones that look toward desired outcomes, looks at things comprehensively, holistically. Much like financial planning, when you are planning for a client experience, you need to look at the top level and the biggest aspects is that the technology should ‘afford’ whatever outcome you want in your clients and what is possible in the economics of the marketplace. This is the true way to look at how to design for an experience, otherwise it’ll fail to look at how technology can serve clients to meet their outcomes.
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