Several companies have emerged from this digital shift, employing artificial intelligence and 24/7 customer service to quickly find a mortgage for the end customer. It seems to be great news for those searching for a speedy route to buying a home, but for landlords looking for their next property in the buy-to-let space the traditional broker still holds irreplaceable customer value.
The traditional broker injects a human element that is vital to the lending process. For landlords, the tax and regulatory changes of the past two years have meant that real estate lending has become increasingly complex, and customers are demanding greater clarification and taking more care to understand the finer details of the process.
Traditional brokers are an essential source of advice and reassurance at this point.
More than a faster process, customers are searching for an efficient process that still finds them the right mortgage.
Technological advancements are a key part of this but, with so many changes occurring in the buy-to-let market in such a short space of time, it also means that human contact is more important than ever. If the new breed of online brokers evolves in time into a truly online-only service, firms risk limiting the human contact that customers can have with their team.
This increases the danger of a generic approach to customer queries and eliminates the possibility of a customer-broker relationship, which creates a scope for trust which exceeds that of any automated system.
But the existence of the traditional broker does not just depend on the advancement of technology. Customers themselves also dictate the movement of the sector and for them to value the contribution of the broker, it partly depends on the lender to support them in their work.
Specialist lenders have a responsibility to educate and assist brokers in an accurate and timely manner so they can get client queries and mortgage applications completed as soon as possible. This involves providing brokers with easy access to the lending team and being honest with them so they understand what’s possible.
Through a mix of select automated processes and tailored customer service, specialist lenders can simplify laborious processes, without compromising the value of a personalised experience.
Online instant DIP tools can save valuable broker and customer time. However, it is important not to lead customer enquiries with a tick-box approach and address the realistic customer journey, not just the one we would like them to take.
Technological innovation and automation is, without doubt, a great thing for the mortgage sector. However, technology should not and cannot be used to replace the most valuable of traditional processes. Every customer is different and it’s important that we give them what they want, not just what they need.
The broker is undeniably an essential ‘human’ part of this which is why they will continue to exist as a valuable source of customer guidance and support.