However, technology for technology’s sake can be a problem as well. Some networks can sell potential AR firms a system which on the surface looks like it has all the bells and whistles, but in reality offers very little. ARs must be fully aware of this when weighing up any network decision.
This should all be about the tangible benefits – not the parts of a system which are never going to deliver anything for the adviser or firm, but those that provide real efficiencies, that make the adviser’s job easier, and add up to provide the saving of resource cost and deliver additional income.
From my point of view, that focus should essentially all be about adviser productivity. How much more efficient can an upgrade to our system make you? What about a new portal? Where is the time-saving in using sourcing system A and its elements over sourcing system B?
At its core level, how many more cases can you do as a result of using the technology we provide to you? Years ago, without the quality of the technology advisers have at their disposal now, carrying out a handful of cases a week made you an efficient adviser.
But that’s not the case now and nor should it be. So, we are trying to develop the technology we offer AR firms to provide continual marginal gains.
A customer-facing portal that allows the customer to check on the status of the case, we believe saves one of our AR advisers at least one hour a day, primarily because they’re not having to field calls and emails from that client asking them for an update. They can see it right in front of them on the portal.
ID verification also used to be a highly labour-intensive part of an adviser’s case work as did re-keying data and information which has often been described as the bane of most advisers’ lives. Especially when it comes to producing multiple DIPs. But thanks to developments in technology, advisers can now save on average 15-20 minutes of re-keying time.
Add that up across the large number of cases most advisers will be working on, and you can clearly see the time-benefit for advisers in having access to this technology and using all that it offers. Provide further functionality like criteria and affordability hubs, where advisers can quickly get to the products that meet their client’s requirements and swerve lenders with poor service levels, and you’re saving both time for you and the client.
Not forgetting there’s the systems and tech functions that are available for protection, general insurance or conveyancing work, which again will all shave much-needed time off what was previously required to complete it.
These are the benchmarks AR firms and their advisers should be using when looking at the network technology offering. What efficiencies can it deliver and what time and cost can it save? Choose on this basis and you won’t go far wrong.