This week Mortgage Solutions asked our experts how they reward loyal clients and how successful their efforts have been?
Craig Parkinson, mortgage and protection consultant at Continuum Financial Services, explains that a loyalty programme can have noticeable success.
Gemma Bacon, brand and marketing director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, suggests brokers should use a tailored contact strategy to find ways of developing long term relationships with customers.
David Hollingworth, associate director communications at London and Country Mortgages, notes that reducing a broker fee or recognising referring customers can help client loyalty.
At Continuum we are committed to delivering exceptional client service through real lifetime relationships.
Our aim with every client we have is to help make their financial future real and the desire to achieve this is core to the culture of our business.
Our brand loyalty programme was designed with this in mind and ensures that our clients are able to experience value through us 24/7.
This unique initiative gives our clients exclusive access to a variety of discounts and rewards, helping save time and money while giving them the exceptional client service we believe in.
This programme is now firmly embedded into our rapidly growing business while also forming a key benefit to employers. This scheme can be easily implemented to the business owner and has proven to be a real success for employers who continue to face the ongoing challenges of attracting and retaining quality staff.
Our extensive research shows us that clients see real benefit in this service with almost half of all members using the scheme on a weekly basis and recent survey results suggesting that nine out of 10 customers would recommend our services.
Incentivising customer loyalty when we are conducting what is a very infrequent transaction for most is always going to be a challenge.
Unlike lenders, as an intermediary, we don’t have rewards or existing customer deals to encourage brand loyalty. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find other ways of developing long term relationships with our customers, it just means we have to play to our strengths and understand what our customers want and when they are likely to need it.
Building customer loyalty has to start with the service we provide. We know this is the biggest financial commitment most consumers have and for many, whether it’s a home move or a remortgage, the process is perceived to be complex and time consuming.
Having a strong sales process underpinned by technology means we are able to remove the perceived complexities, delivering a much simpler approach.
Our experience shows us that customers will remember and recommend a first-class customer experience.
Nevertheless, relying on that customer experience to be memorable in at least two years’ time is not enough. A tailored contact strategy, based on customer profiling, is an effective way of maintaining meaningful contact between deal periods and will ensure the best chance of success when it comes to that customer returning.
The typical approach to rewarding loyalty in a retail environment is to give a discount or points that will ultimately result in discounting or other tangible reward. As an intermediary selling the mortgage products made available to you, there isn’t the same control to alter the price of the product.
Exclusive broker deals can offer your clients better value than they could secure from a lender direct, which can give an edge, and the advice they receive will hopefully save them more money and stress than they may ever know. But that’s not specifically rewarding loyalty and should be consistent for all customers.
The pricing factor that can be in a broker’s control would be their fee.
Reducing the broker fee for a loyal customer effectively gives that loyalty discount that customers increasingly expect. However, we don’t charge a broker fee so that isn’t a lever available to us.
We hope that no broker fee is one of the benefits that our customers recognise and keeps bringing them back.
Certainly, there’s evidence to suggest that we do see a large number of customers who have dealt with us before returning and is in fact our single largest source of applications.
Not only do our customers keep coming back but they also refer their friends to our service. Referrals from our existing customers are the third biggest source of applications.
We recognise that endorsement by placing the referring customer in a biannual prize draw. The lucky winner and referral will both have their mortgage payments paid for 6 months to the tune of £750 per month.