Sometimes customers are not fully aware of the benefits they can get by using a mortgage broker.
So, Mortgage Solutions asked this week’s Marketwatch panel, how brokers can strengthen their relationships with clients.
Dave Pinnington, director of intermediary relations at Finance 4 Business
Customers are at the heart of all businesses and developing strong and fruitful relationships with them is essential to the growth of your business.
In this current low interest environment, customer competition is intense as is lenders’ appetite, the relationship you have with your clients will be a key differentiator with your competitors.
In finance it is commonplace that a competitor will have access to the same or similar products and customer retention is vital.
I once read a startling statistic that translates across numerous industries. Retaining your existing customers is seven times more cost effective than trying to acquire new ones.
How we retain customers is not exactly rocket science, you do not give them a reason to look elsewhere. How we do this requires the one resource that is most valuable to us all, which is time.
Maintaining regular contact with your existing clients is essential to your relationship, people’s situations change unexpectedly, not just when a particular product may be expiring, or they have a particular investment or home move on the horizon.
Regular contact over time builds trust and when you have someone’s trust along with it often comes loyalty.
Then there is value, these days we must try ever harder to provide and communicate value in everything we do. Customers have an overwhelming abundance of choice and Google makes life quite easy to access this choice.
They have high expectations and little loyalty to spare if we fail to meet them.
We work hard to get new clients but this is going to be more challenging in the coming years.
In this world of doing everything from a smartphone, how do we get across our value as a broker and justify charging a fee like most of us currently do, especially in areas where property prices do not provide sufficient income from procuration fees alone?
New entrants like Habito along with their nationwide advertising campaigns and the inevitable rise of AI systems will have a significant impact on direct future customer acquisition, especially younger generations.
It is likely that the proportion of new client acquisitions for brokers will reduce so the general consensus is that brokers will need to provide a more specialist service, where charging a fee will not need to be justified for customers with complex needs.
Future “cookie cutter” customers, especially the next generation’s, will automatically use their phones to search out the best offerings as they do for everything else.
We need to move with the times and ensure a more robust presence on the internet rather than having the usual standard (non-interactive) website presence, it will need to be continually refreshed, interactive and facilitate data capture.
Having an active social media presence will put a human aspect to your business and an edge over impersonal institutions.
Follow ups are even more important to ensure client retention, especially closer to a product expiry date.
This is where the introduction of CRM systems can be a great help; even a yearly birthday or Christmas card, as opposed to an email, is a reminder that you are still around and providing a human service.
Nicholas Morrey, product technical manager at John Charcol
In order to deepen our relationship with clients beyond what we already do, we have reviewed what clients really need during their purchase journey above and beyond the actual mortgage.
The spotlight has fallen on improving our all-round proposition, ensuring that we continue to deliver the service our clients both expect and deserve.
As the first and primary point of contact for our clients we are in a unique position to reduce the administrative burden on our clients.
To help with the often stressful administrative tasks that moving house generates we have launched a moving concierge service, organising utilities, removals, change of address and cleaning services for our busy clients so that they can start enjoying their property sooner.
In addition to that, we have been working on our general insurance offering, which will now incorporate a system that only asks a homeowner five questions to generate the quotation.
This makes it easier for clients to arrange cover and ultimately reduce the time taken on form filling leaving more time to consider one’s requirements.
We believe that if clients can deal with one company for everything related to their family home with the products, services and procedures being constantly reviewed then the ‘one stop shop’ will be theirs.
The added value created for the client who now only needs one telephone number or email address for everything cannot be underestimated – especially when the internet has created innumerable options to potentially complicate decisions.