Mobile Assistant: Easy, Intuitive Way of Capturing The Dictation From Advisors

Based on an interview with Corey Westphal,

Founder and CEO of Mobile Assistant

Site: http://www.mobileassistant.us
Founded: 1998
Value proposition: Mobile dictation service for financial advisors
The executive team: Corey Westphal, Founder and CEO


Mobile Assistant is shaping the way people capture and consume ideas, thoughts and conversations. The solutions they provide combine cutting-edge technology with the human touch to deliver the highest quality dictation service to the financial and insurance industries. Their redesigned Talk It Mobile app includes a built-in Assistant feature designed to help guide financial advisors through the dictation process with the use of templates. Corey Westphal, the leader of the Mobile Assistant’s team, today answers the questions about what has made the company a success.

To begin with, in your mind, what was the key aspect that made Mobile Assistant a success? What makes your platform unique? 

Corey Westphal: Without a doubt, the differentiator for our company, contributing to our success and making us unique, is the combination of cutting-edge technology with note accuracy that can only be delivered with the human touch.

To elaborate, the effectiveness of a dictation solution requires two important components; 1. Accuracy of the transcribed notes to eliminate the need for editing and protect against compliance concerning errors, and 2. Providing an easy, intuitive way of capturing the dictation from advisors.

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We have built a dictation solution that checks both of those boxes. To address transcription accuracy, we employ only US-based, professional transcriptionists with quality assurance editor support to ensure the notes we deliver are error-free. If there is a question in a dictation, our transcription team sends the note to our quality assurance team to ensure we get it right.

The second core component of a dictation service, how advisors can communicate their dictation efficiently to our service for transcription, has been reimagined with the introduction of our Talk It mobile app technology innovation, the Assistant. After a client interaction, advisors open our Talk It mobile app, navigate to the Assistant, then choose a default template (Activity/Task, Client Review Meeting, Phone Call, REG BI), or create their own. The template questions are displayed on the mobile device to guide advisors through the dictation process as they speak their notes.

Dictation templates are available only with Mobile Assistant, and have transformed the note-taking process into a structured, well-organized solution.

Which decisions and/or implementations made Mobile Assistant a success? Which of them proved to be a good lesson for the future (if any)? 

Corey Westphal: There has been pressure over the years to cut costs by sending our clients’ dictation overseas to be transcribed cheaply, or running the notes through automation and eliminating the human cost component of our operations. Staying true to our mission statement and not losing focus on the importance of note accuracy is in my opinion the major reason for our success.

Our mission statement: The right people, combined with technology, provide the most powerful solution to our problems. At Mobile Assistant, we believe people make the difference.

Mobile Assistant’s commitment to our technology investment has proven to be a good lesson for the future. Our Assistant innovation has been a game-changer for advisor workflows, affirming that our innovations that help solve advisor problems, i.e. lack of client meeting note structure with typical dictation services, is the way to ensure our company’s future success.

How did you choose team structure, tech stack, project architecture for this product?

Corey Westphal: Our team structure has been built with client experience at the forefront. We’ve expanded our Client Services and Client Success teams significantly in the last year to help onboarding new customers, and quickly provide support to existing clients as we grow.

Our tech stack internally has been built to allow for quick resolution of questions internally and to encourage teamwork. It’s more important than ever for companies to equip their teams with technology that allows for collaboration, which results in better customer service. Mobile Assistant has made this investment and it has resulted in customer service that our clients know they can count on.

Our project architecture will continue to be focused on improving the client experience. Innovations such as the Assistant template guide, migration of our system to the cloud, are great examples of project architecture driven by the needs of our clients.

Do you consider any new integrations? What criteria are characteristic for you when deciding to integrate a platform or not?

Corey Westphal: Mobile Assistant integration with CRM platforms has always been key to streamlining the note delivery process that is so important to advisors. Delivering client meeting notes directly where they are needed, i.e. the contact record in the CRM, is one of the keys to advisor adoption of our service. For this reason, Mobile Assistant will continue to search out new platforms where integration of our service adds value. There are so many new, innovative technologies in the financial industry, and Mobile Assistant will be an integral addition to many of those technologies.

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New integrations are always driven by one criteria; the needs of the financial advisor community. We will continue to listen to our clients for new opportunities.

How do you engage advisors in shaping your tech product roadmap? Is that right to entrust roadmap only to the end clients? 

Corey Westphal: Mobile Assistant has a very holistic approach to our tech product roadmap design and implementation. Our innovations have specific impacts to the advisor’s client meeting workflow, but these enhancements also make us stronger as an organization. Our tech roadmap is driven by “listening” to our clients, and what the financial community as a whole is telling us. Focusing on what the pain points are for advisors, and then what innovations we can bring to market that will help solve those difficulties, we believe is a winning strategy.

We started a Beta club a couple of years ago that allows our advisor clients to test, demo and provide feedback on new features of our service before the final stages of development. This approach ensures we build our technology by listening to our clients first, and not building what we think they need.

Another aspect of our tech product roadmap is focused on increasing efficiency of our internal operations. Innovations in this area of our roadmap often not only help our team internally, but also positively impact our clients, i.e. migrating our dictation/transcription platform to the AWS cloud in 2020 improved processing speeds, further reducing dictation turnaround times for our clients.

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Tell me more about the talent acquisition and onboarding processes at your company. Is that a problem to hire talented engineers today? What does it take to select people sharing your corporate values while having all the necessary skills?

Corey Westphal: Mobile Assistant, from our origin in 2008, has been operationally structured as a WFH company (modeled after our parent company, medical transcription focused US Transcription). Our remote work team model has served us well for a number of reasons. First, the ability to recruit transcriptionists throughout the US has given us a tremendous advantage over other dictation companies who require their staff to be located at one location. We are able to securely recruit and retain the very best transcriptionists in the country with the flexibility that comes from working at home, and the stability that comes with full-time employee compensation and benefits. Our investment in the security of our system is a key factor in our WFH model, and the reason broker dealers and advisors trust us to safeguard their data.

If you could come back over time and build, for example, another business model, or choose another tech stack, etc., what exactly would you do the other way round and why?

Corey Westphal: I wouldn’t change our core business model, but in retrospect, I would improve an aspect of our communication to the financial advisor community to focus more on teams. We’ve learned over time that dictation is not only valuable from an individual advisor level for documentation, but can have dramatic impacts on the streamlining of internal office communication. Leveraging dictation templates have given advisors the power to communicate action items after client interactions to specific team members, which has proven to be a game-changer.

Do you observe any prominent but underestimated service gaps in the market right now? Is there something that is able to surprise the community in the following few years?

Corey Westphal: There has been a gap in the client interaction process which I believe is now being addressed by a positive shift in advisors’ focus on workflows. I give advisors a lot of credit for recognizing that opportunities can slip through the cracks without an efficient and accurate way of documenting client interactions, and Mobile Assistant is proud to be part of that process. We have big innovations on the horizon that will further empower our clients to improve the way they document and communicate with their teams in a secure, accurate and simple way.

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