September 2018 – Decoding Robo Customers: Analysis of Corporate Insight’s 2018 Digital Advice Investor Survey

In August 2018, Corporate Insight conducted the industry’s first in-depth survey of digital advice customers and prospects. The survey was designed to create a complex profile of digital advice customers, uncovering their expectations, behaviors, preferences and satisfaction rates with their robo provider’s technology offering and overall service. To help our clients formulate impactful marketing and prospecting strategies, we also surveyed a number of individuals who do not have a digital advice account but are interested in opening one, as well as individuals who have no interest in this relatively new service model. The survey gathered perspectives on such key areas of interest as website and mobile platform usage and feature importance as well as satisfaction with a variety of different aspects of the relationship, including fees, planning, performance, security, websites, mobile apps and, in the case of hybrid customers, human financial advisors. We even explored customers’ interest in various value-add services (e.g., tax optimization) and emerging offerings from digital advice firms (e.g., thematic portfolios).

Our research indicates strong overlap between digital advice customers and a highly coveted investor segment in the financial services industry: high earners, not rich yet (HENRYs). Nearly half of our digital advice customer respondents are Millennials. More notably, 49% of Millennial digital advice customers report annual household incomes of $100,000 or more before taxes. The picture that emerges here is one of a customer who has an increasingly complex financial life and is poised to become a higher earner in the future. Digital advice customers place a high degree of importance on their provider’s technology offering, with 89% and 72% assigning top-two box ratings to the website and mobile platform, respectively. Fortunately for firms, overall satisfaction with providers’ websites (83%) and mobile apps (72%) is quite high. However, deeper analysis of individual website and mobile features uncovers a number of opportunity areas that firms, particularly incumbents, must prioritize if they wish to retain and grow customer accounts in the long term. Goal tracking, planning tools and mobile account opening all represent areas where incumbents’ digital advice technology resources risk falling short of customer expectations.

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