If we went back to the horse-and-buggy age,” says Ravi Vakacherla, PUB’s Chief Transformation officer, “people would probably have said they wanted a faster horse or a better buggy, not that they wanted a car.” Seismic shifts in the landscape are hard to envision—but critical to embrace. Such a shift is happening right now toward digitization (see Advice article), accelerated by the COVID pandemic. Financial institutions need to adapt if they wish to serve their clients in the ways the clients wish to be served.
At PUA and PUB we’ve been changing our business models to be more tech-aware for some years now. The latest development is our creation of a Business Transformation Office (BTO)—designed for our employees, with the mission of working even better with our clients.
“Transformation” Is a Big Word
If the name of our new initiative sounds revolutionary, it’s on purpose: We’ve been witnessing a sea change in the expectations of our customers, and we’ve been responding in kind.
The BTO’s focus is multi-pronged: digitization, product strategy, process automation, and the intersection of financial services and technology that’s called “fin tech.” The BTO gives employees more information and streamlines the work they need to do. But the BTO’s indirect audience is our clients. Actually, it’s hard to separate the two groups, because the technological leg up that the Office gives our Advisors and other staff professionals is for increasing their ability to provide better client service. We haven’t created this Office just because it was possible or because it was “ahead of the curve”: We did it because it made sense for us and for our clients.
Something New, Something Old
Ultimately, though, the BTO is one more tool in a large set. We think that it will make us better at what we’re already good at: knowing our customers and offering them superior service. For the moment, while the virus rages, our client meetings are mostly virtual. Soon, though, we hope, we’ll be advising our clients face-to-face once again.
But whether digital or in-person, it’s customized client service that has distinguished us. We intend to continue that tradition, augmented by every technical tool that we can easonably employ.
The measure of success that we’ll use in evaluating the BTO is whether our employees and our clients notice an enhancement of their experience. On the client side, we’ll find out by listening to you—one of very non-tech but crucial skills.
So we encourage you to let your Advisor know if we’re delivering on your needs and goals regardless of whether we’re getting together via Zoom, an old-fashioned phone call, or in-person meetings. We always take client feedback seriously, and it’s been the driver of many of our improvements.