We have moved quickly to develop and adopt sophisticated technology to continue business as usual, as much as possible; but, of course, it has not all been plain sailing.
An immediate challenge was finding a way for brokers to access, store and send client data securely from home.
This would not have been possible without the option to digitise data and host it via the cloud, making it immediately accessible and distributable from anywhere with an internet connection.
This not only saves hours for all parties by reducing waiting and admin times, but without it, the continuation of business of any kind would not have been possible.
Sophisticated technology can also be used to verify identity online, allowing a crucial stage of the mortgage process to continue remotely and safely.
The software underpinning this can be integrated into tech platforms and then tailored with lenders to ensure it meets their requirements. This is an innovation which we need to take forwards beyond Covid-19.
Use technology to maintain strong relationships
A further challenge the industry currently faces is the broker’s old enemy – product transfers (PTs).
The current market environment has made PTs an important way to keep activity moving, but this is not a trend which we should be comfortable with in the long term.
The complications of conducting home valuations and a dearth of attractive products has caused the number of PTs to rocket.
This has made it essential that brokers are finding ways to maintain strong client relationships so they can step back in as lockdown eases.
While they will never replace the real thing, video conferencing is the best way to do this – apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have successfully bridged the gap.
Video conferencing is likely to continue when ‘normality’ returns, as both brokers and clients recognise the advantages of cutting back on travel time and transport costs.
Keeping a workforce motivated
It is equally as important that managers and business leaders look after their employees, ensuring they have a motivated workforce which can continue to perform.
Studies have found that an employee’s motivation increases if tasks are engaging and rewarding.
It’s not rocket science, but minimising admin and repetitive tasks can boost engagement and create a more productive team over lockdown. Once again, intelligent tech is the answer.
As a by-product of coping with the challenges of remote work, our industry has found ways to eliminate the time spent waiting for the post or travelling between meetings.
We’ve created a more streamlined mortgage process for client, lender and broker alike.
What we took for granted
The changes enforced by Covid lockdown have led us to review and reconsider everything we previously took for granted or accepted as ‘the way things are done’.
There was nothing fundamentally wrong with many of these methods per se – from requiring paper copy documents for ID verification through to meeting clients face-to-face.
But we can all agree the innovative solutions embraced by the industry to help us navigate lockdown’s block on business as usual, have made us fundamentally better businesses.
The technology that is supporting us now is what will help us thrive moving forward.
Technology adoption is no longer an option for getting ahead of your competitors, it is a requirement to ensure you aren’t left behind.