Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of new fintech firms entering the mortgage market, all using innovative technology to deliver a better customer experience. They have brought with them a whole new perspective on the customer.
With a seamless end-to-end journey – some of them all managed online – these challenger lenders and brokers have been able to take share from the traditional high street banks, building societies and brokers.
Their leading-edge technology is able to on-board consumers swiftly and process applications in minutes, providing a slick customer journey.
I think we would all like that, whether a customer or broker.
However, research by Accenture shows that consumers want a blend of digital channels and others, in which they can deal face-to-face with a member of staff.
A further two-thirds of consumers would prefer to speak to an adviser about complex products.
So how can the lenders and brokers add value to the customer journey and build loyalty and retention?
It’s been the same story since I entered the market a decade ago – the need to build a relationship rather than just perform a transaction.
Adopt ‘old school’ personal service
Blending old techniques with new ones can be highly effective, and delivering a traditional personal service is no exception.
Consumers value face-to-face advice and guidance with someone to speak to about issues and concerns.
For brokers working in niche markets, where they are handling more challenging applications, being able to speak to or visit the client to gather more information can make all the difference to securing the right mortgage for them.
One statement from an industry leader struck a chord with me: “People don’t want to deal with technology, they want to deal with people who use technology.”
This is so true. We only need to look at the learnings so far from tech companies who are disrupting markets, they have found that the limiting factor for them is consumers adopting the new processes.
Nurture a long-term relationship
Communicating regularly with customers through the duration of their mortgage term can build loyalty and ensure that when it is time for renewal they won’t be speaking with any other broker or lender.
Depending on your proposition and client bank there are so many options, for example a digital strategy or a traditional birthday and Christmas card in the post.
It really is horses for courses. However, a fair few of us will be guilty of doing little.
It’s so important to signpost the customer journey every step of the way. It’s easy to forget as a lender or broker that the process we transact everyday is actually very alien to most.
A good example is a friend of mine who runs a fabulous brokerage with a great conversion rate on his client bank renewals.
His customers understand that he will deal with everything. When they get the letter from the lender six months before the mortgage renewal, the first thing the customer does is picks up the phone and calls him. Surely, that’s what we all aspire for, no matter whether it be a phone call, or simple interacting with a digital system.
Slick application processing
Atom Bank has really led the way here.
Despite having some bumps in the road, it continues to push forward with the aim of delivering an amazing user experience, utilising technology as much as possible.
Currently, there is a huge amount of change in the mortgage market and Open Banking will revolutionise the industry.
Not only will it enable lenders and brokers to engage with customers digitally at an earlier point in the customer journey, it will also provide lenders and brokers to give near instant offers, thanks to the introduction of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to lenders’ systems.
Enhance your online reputation
Building a professional reputation online is vital.
More consumers carry out research online, checking out reviews and comments on Google and Facebook before they even make contact with a lender or broker.
Online reviews bring a great opportunity for lenders and brokers to enhance their reputation online and convince potential customers to get in touch.
In fact, reviews are one of the most powerful marketing channels to help drive enquiries.
Reviews and star ratings give lenders and brokers social proof, which helps consumers refine their research, and make quicker decisions on which local lender or broker they will contact.
In 2018, lenders and brokers have a huge opportunity to improve customer experiences and build long-term loyalty.