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How a Small Business Jumped Ahead of the Competition With Personalized Digital Experiences

womwoman shopping personalized digital experiences

Read how a small business owner in Dallas created a customer portal to deliver personalized digital experiences many big companies would envy.

When you visit the website of a major brand you expect a best-in-class digital experience (whether you get it or not is a different story). But what about the experience you get from a small business? Wouldn’t a personalized experience be a delightful surprise? Let’s look at how a small business owner in Dallas created a customer portal that delivers a personalized digital experience many big companies would envy.

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Simplifying content management and experience building

The Gardner Group’s mission is to help a select group of families manage their financial affairs. As the Gardner Group’s CEO and lead financial planner, Greg Gardner keeps busy – he manages his staff while delivering the one-on-one white-glove service his clients expect. But Gardner is constantly pressed for time. So is his team.

This need for more time inspired the Gardner Group to look for a way to devote less effort to fielding routine requests for information and meetings. They wanted to free themselves for more high-value, one-on-one interactions with clients. Plus, the team invested in articles to educate clients on many financial topics, and they wanted to automatically connect clients to relevant content.

Gardner decided to create a content-rich digital experience few financial planners match by taking advantage of CRM data as the foundation for personalization. This led the team to explore building a customer portal using Experience Cloud with the help of a local consultant. As the project progressed, the consultant recommended using Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to simplify the content piece of the experience.

“Our goal was for young families to see articles about topics that fit their financial concerns, like saving for college,” said Gardner. “People closer to retirement would get information suited to their stage of life, such as Social Security and required minimum distributions. Salesforce CMS let us do exactly that, helping us make our content work harder to drive results.”

A personalized financial portal

The Gardner Group tags content as they receive it, sorting by client stage of life, interests, and risk profile – criteria linked to their CRM profiles. When clients log in to the client experience, they receive targeted content.

“When it comes to digital experiences, we’re three to five years ahead of the competition,” added Gardner. “It’s like we have 150 different websites – one for each family we serve. We’re a small company, but we’re delivering the kind of content-rich experience you might associate with the biggest brands.”

Blending content with interactions

Within the digital experience, the Gardner Group created, clients can do much more than just read articles. They can request a meeting or a call, initiate a withdrawal, and review account information – all simple tasks that no longer require having to call someone on the phone. The portal also includes targeted instructions about how to read account statements, whether at Fidelity or Schwab. For collaboration, the portal includes Quip documents, streamlining planning between the Gardner Group and clients.

“Creating personalized experiences with content and more opened up a world of possibilities for us,” remarked Gardner. “Realizing those possibilities doesn’t take more than an hour or two each week. In fact, we’ve accomplished our goal of spending less time on mundane tasks and more time interacting with clients.”

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