Automated phone-based voice assistant technology has come a long way since Apple1 first introduced Siri® in 2011. Today, we are not only accustomed to voice assistants, we rely on them to find information, read us our to-do lists, and tell us when it’s time to go to bed. Now, Schwab Advisor Services is putting the best voice technology to task to enhance its service for independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIA).
In 2019, Schwab Advisor Services handled more than three million incoming calls from its advisor clients, or more than 8,000 calls per day. Schwab Advisor Services saw an opportunity to handle the volume more effectively by employing the latest developments in artificial intelligence. And although the RIA industry has grown increasingly complex, it became apparent that the number of incoming calls from advisors could be reduced by enhanced digital capabilities and, with improved voice-assistant technology, ensuring that when they do call, they get the right answers the first time.
Common calls, unique needs
Schwab Advisor Services analyzed more than 2.5 million calls to uncover the most common requests advisors have when they call. The reasons vary widely – address changes, trading questions, trust accounts, and alternative investments – but commonalities emerged. Essentially, advisors want to speak to the right person, the first time, to answer their questions.
“We saw a big opportunity to improve and simplify the interactions that advisors are having with us,” says Jalina Kerr, senior vice president, Client Experience, Schwab Advisor Services. “Instead of relying on advisors to navigate to the right person to answer their question, we want to do that for them.”
Our world-class service has set us apart for the last 30 years, and at the center of our service record is our relationships with advisors. These relationships are the cornerstone on which we make our business decisions about how best to support advisors’ ongoing growth and success.
- Jalina Kerr, Senior Vice President, Client Experience, Schwab Advisor Services
The voice of reason
Schwab Advisor Services' new AI-enhanced voice technology is designed specifically to get advisors to the right person the first time to resolve their questions.
While some voice-guided assistance is designed to prevent you from talking to a person, Schwab’s new technology is designed to do the opposite.
No menus, no entering information, no multiple transfers. The new voice technology is as simple as interacting with the natural-sounding voice, explaining the reason for the call, and being routed to the right person for immediate help.
Improving the advisor experience
“The voice assistant is part of our multi-year, multi-layered journey to deliver a more modern approach to supporting advisors,” says Kerr. “When we considered what it could do for advisors, it was clear it can help on several important fronts.”
Among the benefits:
- Easy. Advisors simply tell Schwab what they are calling about, and they get connected to a service professional who can help.
- Customized. Skill-based routing sends incoming calls directly to the appropriate professionals based on the needs of the advisor.
- Streamlined. Continuously decreasing and eliminating the need for calls to be transferred or put on hold.
- Deep knowledge. Strong tenure in Schwab employees who support advisors – highly specialized people handling complex subjects.
“As advisor businesses grow and evolve, so does our support for them,” says Kerr. “We need to handle inbound calls elegantly, because time spent on hold is time that advisor could be spending with clients and we could be spending more productively, supporting advisors and their businesses where they need us. Ultimately, the new voice assistant is designed to augment the relationships that we have with advisors. Our world-class service has set us apart for the last 30 years, and at the center of our service record is our relationships with advisors. These relationships are the cornerstone on which we make our business decisions about how best to support advisors’ ongoing growth and success.”
1 Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading, and support services of Schwab. Independent investment advisors are not owned, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab.(0220-0LCD)