How one first-time buyer completed a mortgage through live chat alone – Wilson

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.

 

 

FCA replacing Gabriel reporting system

FCA replacing Gabriel reporting system

 

The regulator made the announcement as part of its Business Plan 2020/21 which was published today, saying it was focusing investment on technology.

It said the replacement system would improve the user experience and combine with its Connect system.

“We want to use technology to reduce the burden of regulatory reporting on firms. We will replace our Gabriel system with a new platform for collecting firms’ data,” it said.

“This will provide an improved user experience and will include a single identity log on with our Connect system.

“Following our Viability Assessment we, along with the Bank [of England], will take forward our work on Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR).”

The FCA added that it will explore “if and how to expand our sandbox services to foster and encourage the wider adoption of appropriate technologies, particularly for RegTech”.

 

Brokers should use technology to remove client roadblocks – Bennett

Brokers should use technology to remove client roadblocks – Bennett

 

Many providers do not really help themselves when they claim their technology is ‘disruptive’ when it’s simply new.

That’s the challenge for brokers. Anything that is cool but doesn’t gain or retain clients can be in your home, but not in your workplace.

 

Technology to gain new clients

A good example of technology that may not be the be all and end all for brokers is the perceived benefit of APIs and direct lender submissions.

These are great but not as important or as immediate a need for brokers as finding business tools that help gain new customers, add value and generate revenue.

One crucial thing to remember is that a broker’s technology needs to keep pace with client expectations but not overwhelm them.

Entrepreneurial intermediaries are blending different activities to generate new business, upselling protection and keeping clients engaged post-advice to increase retention.

Technology providers need to think in the same way and provide brokers with the tools to make the customer journey easier and more engaging.

Threats to broker market share emphasise the need to stay ahead of the game.

So, we need to focus on what will help brokers right now and that means focusing on where technology can assist the advice process and crucially either gain or retain clients.

Do I believe that APIs will generate efficiency if they deliver what is promised? Of course I do, and I applaud those progressing this technology, but if I’m a broker sat in my office needing more clients I wouldn’t give a jot.

 

Remove client roadblocks

I make no apology for having a single-minded focus on using technology to help existing and new clients actually engage with their broker.

Simply put, clients expect and deserve a frictionless engagement when trying to buy a product or service.

What’s more, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has expressed desire for greater customer interaction prior to any advice.

Therefore, it is incumbent on brokers to remove any and all roadblocks to this and instead reward potential clients’ engagement and effort.

What does this mean in real terms?

Well, let’s start by going beyond the web enquiry form and seamlessly enabling the client to start a digital journey so they are invested into the process.

We need to identify how business is actually being introduced and ensure this is efficient and keeps to the principals of visibility, transparency and communication.

When it comes down to it competing online should no longer be the provision of heavily invested disruptors, it has to be about those that are making things better, more efficient and engaging.

There’s an old saying that fits here I think – ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should’.

So please, always assess and evaluate every cool new technology in the same way; if it doesn’t generate, gain or retain clients it has no place in your business.