Outsourced client care solves holiday season glitches in service, brand and revenue – Wilson
The Mental Health Foundation reported that 42 per cent of people were experiencing anxiety about the pandemic in February 2021. Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive revealed that work-related stress, depression and anxiety had risen to account for 51 per cent of all work-related ill health in 2019-20.
Your workforce doesn’t just deserve a break. They need one. With restrictions lifted, many are taking the opportunity for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Well-rested employees are more focused and productive.
But is their time off having a short-term impact on your clients’ experience? And could that have a long-term impact on your reputation?
This is where outsourced client care solutions can help.
Flexible holiday cover
People’s approach to annual leave is one of many things to have changed during the pandemic.
Now, it’s not so easy to hop on a plane to warmer climes for a week or two during the holidays. People are taking shorter breaks at different times of the year. Or, they may be more likely to take time off at short notice.
As a result, it’s not so easy to plan holiday cover, which could leave customer service-shaped gaps in mortgage businesses.
Outsourced client care solutions, such as telephone answering or live chat support, can help to solve this issue. It can be scaled up or down depending on requirements, ensuring you’re prepared for all eventualities.
Outsourced services can support in protecting the brand that organisations have worked hard to build, as well as playing an important role in handling queries and capturing leads.
When holidays leave you light on resource, outsourced help lets in-house staff continue giving warm face-to-face customer service, while calls don’t ring out or go to voicemail.
If a client calls with a concern, but is unable to speak to the correct person, then leaving a message with a friendly, knowledgeable telephone-answering agent will give them confidence that their business is valued, protecting brand reputation.
Quiet months are unavoidable sometimes. However, if your bottom line dips because you are unable to handle incoming enquiries, you have a problem.
You could be missing out on valuable new business. If a prospect can’t speak to someone online, or by phone, on demand – in a competitive marketplace like mortgage broking – they’ll get scooped up by a rival.
August and December are all too commonly less profitable months. Your services are needed all year round. Ensuring you have a client communications solution in place during holiday seasons will let you grab all the business you can.
You’ll see benefits, from improved customer care to a stronger pipeline, and a rock solid reputation to a happier, more engaged workforce.
How one first-time buyer completed a mortgage through live chat alone – Wilson
We deal with banks, retailers, utilities companies and service providers online and the popularity of instant messaging has rocketed since the pandemic.
Consumers appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions while browsing online and have come to expect to see a chat box pop up when visiting a website.
But should the method be reserved for customer service alone or does live chat have a place in more complex interactions?
For Ela Bayraktar (pictured), 26 from Wrexham, who recently arranged her whole mortgage without any meetings or phone calls – the answer is yes.
She explains how the process went for her: “I’m a first-time buyer, so I didn’t have any previous experience in dealing with brokers.
“I’d saved up my deposit, found the property I wanted and naturally, the first thing I did was search on Google for help with securing my mortgage.
“The options are endless and if I’m honest, it was quite overwhelming but after some searching, I found a broker who advertised no fees for first-time buyers and filled in a contact form to request a call-back.
“After a couple of weeks, I still hadn’t heard anything so rather than chase up my enquiry – I searched online again and found another provider.
“This one didn’t advertise any reduction in fees, but the website was simple to navigate and wasn’t jargon-heavy like some of the others I’d come across. I filled in a quick questionnaire and straight away, I was connected to an instant chat with an adviser.
“After a few more questions, the broker said they had everything they needed and within a few hours, I received an email with a list of suggested offers.”
Service must meet expectations
This experience is the perfect example of the evolving nature of communications, both in the sense of technological advancements and customer expectations.
And not only that, Ela’s decision to opt for another broker in the face of substandard service – despite the fact it may cost more – was extremely telling.
This was not a surprising story to hear. Service comes first nowadays – that’s simply the way it is.
People are time-poor and will almost always lean towards a business that can offer the support they need quickly and efficiently – even if it means paying a little extra.
According to Moneypenny data, 78 per cent of consumers will purchase from the first company that gets back to them following a contact request.
Furthermore, businesses that respond to new enquiries within five minutes are 21 times more likely to convert the lead than those who keep an enquirer waiting for 30 minutes or longer.
It really does pay to be available and attentive.
More open conversations
Live chat isn’t just favoured for its speed. Our research has shown that enquirers using the technology tend to offer more personal information than through any channel.
They discuss their circumstances openly and share their concerns, fears and challenges with ease.
It seems that the act of typing rather than talking helps prospects to be themselves and share the truth of their concerns, which presents a significant opportunity for mortgage professionals.
And it’s not just their individual circumstances that consumers are comfortable discussing online.
Ela not only sourced offers for her mortgage via live chat but also uploaded all bank statements, evidence of deposit and proof of identity via a secure online platform.
“I felt extremely confident from start to finish,” Ela continues.
“Perhaps the fact I work for a communications technology provider helped to allay any fears around cyber security and boost my confidence in the whole process, but it really was seamless.
“From my initial search to application and final arrangement, there was never an issue. No difficulty juggling diaries for a meeting or annoying hold music. I’ve moved into my flat now and couldn’t be happier.”
People like dealing with people, that will never change, but the ability to do so in a way that suits their busy lifestyle is priceless.
How and why Mortgage Bureau outsourced its telephone answering – Hyde
Grappling reduced resource, dispersed workforces and the huge spike in demand, brokers are putting themselves at risk of damaged reputation as customer service drops below par.
The shift to remote working unearthed limitations within legacy systems and processes for many, potentially sending them into a tailspin of clunky quick-fix solutions.
As soon as we entered lockdown, we recognised a change in client behaviour.
People wanted to talk for longer around more complex issues and lack of childcare meant that a significant amount of calls were coming outside of the usual 9-5.
We’ve been investing in telephone answering support to manage overflow calls for many years.
But as we were forced to make changes to the way we were working, we decided to outsource our inbound calls rather than route those to mobiles that may or may not have access to a strong signal.
The intention being that any client queries or potential leads are handled with care and client experience is never compromised.
Outsourcing used to be a dirty word, but its image has changed.
Outsourcing now refers to strategic relationships that enable businesses to overcome challenges and allow clients to take advantage of a level of service they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
In the wake of the pandemic – this could not have been more accurate.
Our whole team was suddenly working from home and in addition to this, the impact of Covid-19 meant that our sales team were spending much longer on the phone getting through to lenders.
Call volumes went through the roof and the leads coming in were more often than not from customers motivated to buy, but needing to be financially qualified in order to make a reservation on a new property.
We simply did not have the resource to offer the level of customer service we aim to deliver and a drop in quality wasn’t an option – there was too much at stake, commercially and reputationally.
We know from experience that people don’t hang around waiting for a phone to be answered and they certainly don’t leave voicemails.
If they’re not dealt with efficiently and professionally, a consumer will simply go to the next business they find on Google – that’s just the way things are today.
Rules for calls
We have specific instructions in place for each type of enquiry and our provider Moneypenny identifies whether a call is sales or admin related and handles accordingly.
This prioritisation tells us whether to progress with a follow-up quickly or leave less time-critical calls for a more suitable time, reducing waiting times and enabling us to filter and qualify leads more quickly.
Client experience has always been important to Mortgage Bureau but 2020 has seen demands and behaviours change drastically and put the spotlight on those businesses that truly care.
Investment in outsourced communications support has enabled us to be agile and available at a time when people really needed us.
We’ve not only survived but thrived and with another lockdown upon us, it’s business as usual.