User Experience (UX)
UX refers to the user experience, for instance, the experience a broker or borrower has with websites, systems and apps. The aim of UX design is to create easy to use, intuitive websites and applications, which are delightful to interact with.
UX is increasingly a key differentiator, and our recent Mortgage UX report showed that it is an area the industry lags behind in. Mortgage websites and systems with good UX reduce the speed of finding information for customers and brokers, as well as the speed of processing cases no matter what device is being used.
Responsive websites automatically adjust to the device (mobile, tablet or desktop) and screen size and deliver an experience tailored to that device. Many lenders and brokers don’t have fully responsive websites, despite mobile devices now dominating web traffic usage.
Short for Property Technology, PropTech refers to the new startups and technologies taking on the real estate market. Examples of well-known PropTech companies include Rightmove, Zillow and Zoopla.
CRM (short for customer relationship management) is the method or system that companies organise and handle interactions or relationships they’ve had with either current clients or potential prospects. For instance, many companies use a CRM software to track their conversations for sales and marketing purposes.
APIs (short for Application Programming Interface) enable systems, services and websites to talk to one another. Typical uses for APIs in the mortgage world include: plugging your website and CRM together so that website enquiries automatically appear as prospects (meaning no re-keying) and showing latest rates available from your sourcing system on your website.
Blockchain was initially created to power Bitcoin, offering a secure, transparent global ledger that is distributed to all that used the cryptocurrency. Think of it like a giant, interactive spreadsheet with control processes to ensure the integrity of the data.
For the mortgage sector, this has the potential to fundamentally transform how legal and financial transactions take place, from origination all the way through to secondary markets, reducing the risk of fraud and decreasing transaction times. In practical terms, tamper-proof, single shared copies of legal agreements and full electronic audit trail of changes could greatly speed up the conveyancing process. But this technology is in its infancy and will not likely affect the workflow of brokers for many years to come.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
CRO tools enable you to create experiments on your website and test which content and design tweaks will make your visitors more likely to convert into a mortgage enquiry. A simple example would be to test whether a blue or a green “Get Mortgage Quote” button is more effective, with 50% of your visitors seeing the blue button and 50% seeing the green button. CRO tools track which button creates more conversions, enabling you to make data-backed decisions on your website.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has moved from science fiction to the real world, from self-driving cars to smarter automated decision underwriting. This will undoubtedly impact the mortgage sector in the years to come. For brokers, this presents risks as well as opportunities. While lenders may look to automate and increase their direct consumer business the value of a mortgage broker for anyone with non-standard income would increase. The broker experience with lenders could also improve with AI being used for underwriting decisions and case turnaround time in general.
Robo-advice is a term used to describe online mortgage advisers. In essence, instead of chatting to a human, customers will have the ability to discuss their mortgage requirements from any device. This is thanks to smart AI-based tech and algorithms which combine the key elements of a borrower’s financial lifestyle with real-time mortgage rates to produce an indicative monthly payment.
Habito launched one of the first digital mortgage adviser services last year with many other players launching such as Trussle, which was first, and Dwell Mortgages.
Chatbots offer the user a ‘live chat’ experience, but without a human typing responses on the other side. These are typically being driven by an AI-based application that responds conversationally – much like a human would respond – and is constantly learning and improving based on its performance. Microsoft and offering frameworks for developing this functionality forward-thinking brokers should be considering how this could improve their business processes and customer experience.
Mortgage brokers are typically gathering lots of information on their potential customers, perhaps without even realising it, from their website, CRM and email marketing tools. It is no longer feasible or efficient for a human to mine this data and spot patterns. Predictive analytics tools solve this problem by mining all your data sources and making automated recommendations to you on how to target content and services to your user segments to get more conversions.