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  • 15/02/2002
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Billions of dollars were invested around the world on the assumption that website hits would turn in...

Billions of dollars were invested around the world on the assumption that website hits would turn into real buying transactions. This theory was misplaced and the majority of that money was lost.

The internet is perfect for browsing, and even buying ‘immediate satisfaction’ products such as books or groceries. But consumers have displayed a stubborn unwillingness to enter more complex relationships, such as mortgages and long-term savings, without human contact. You will therefore be able to mitigate the problem, but not ultimately solve it.

The problem is that customers go to the lenders directly or via other IFAs and this is faced by any organisation advertising a standard product that could also be purchased from the lender.

You will note that high profile advertisers such as Charcol and Savills never mention the name of the lender until the customer comes in for interview. It could help if lenders were referred to as a large building society or a household name lender.

Better still, see if you can negotiate an exclusive angle on your favourite products so that the customers cannot by-pass you.

The design of your website needs to be changed to recognise its role principally as a browse facility. The customer must be encouraged at all times to call your helpline or click onto a reply mechanism under which you can give product details by email, post or a return telephone call. Human interaction is the only way to turn some of those hits into customers.

Gina Collman


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