CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A new Technographics Report from Forrester Research, Inc. finds that consumers with investable assets of at least $1 million are confident about the economy and market, secure in their wealth and optimistic about technology. As a result, Forrester recommends two approaches to reach those consumers – breeding loyalty and promoting a cohesive, relevant brand experience. “The bottom line is that retaining customers costs less than acquisition, and loyal customers buy more frequently and spend more,” said Ekaterina O. Walsh, Ph.D., senior analyst at Forrester. “Moreover, loyal customers are a firm’s best acquisition vehicle. One of the top three ways affluent investors learned about their most recently chosen financial provider was through some sort of referral.” The study also finds that all consumer experiences, ranging from online statements to branch visits, are rolled into an overall impression of the financial institution. Understanding consumer expectations of each transaction will enable financial providers to promote the unique benefit of each type of member experience through a unified message. Timely, relevant, and customized advice, which includes everything from picking stocks to tax planning, plays a key role in retention of affluent members. The affluent also expect this advice to be offered via multiple channels, with 84% of millionaires expecting online and offline advice to complement each other. The affluent look for high-touch service and privacy in branches and are less likely to move to a competitor when they find it. Forty-four percent of the wired affluent visit financial providers’ Web sites, compared with just 25% of their non-affluent peers. They are looking for accessible information and self-service when going online. The report adds that with today’s tight budgets, financial firms should offer cross-channel service and rapid responses to client email. “Since the affluent are seven times more likely to list referrals than ads as the way they heard about their current provider, firms can’t ignore the power of loyalty,” said Walsh.

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