The first came from Arron Bardoe, replying to the article: Four vital questions to ask that will improve your advice firm – Howells
Bardoe said: “While I appreciate the sentiment of the message, I feel it should be balanced against the basic attraction of using a broker, which is the human touch.
“Many of us are fed up with robot chats; press options 1-10 when calling a bank; and cut and paste auto responses. People buy from Amazon for price, ease and speed; but more importantly they tend to be used for most low value items.”
“A mortgage is different, as it is a complicated product and for most people their largest single expenditure,” Bardoe added.
Technology has its place
Bardoe continued: “There is some merit in elements of self-serve, as we for example get clients to fill in a mini fact find before our initial chat, but otherwise they appreciate the broker taking care of everything.
“We complete the applications forms with their baffling questions, we sit on hold to Optima for an hour to get an almost robotic service, we help them complete forms and the like.”
He added: “It is true that an automated email would save me one hour each month when contacting my renewals, but I find about half of them need a personal message and not just a standardised text. For example, how is the new baby, is your son home from university or did the wedding go as planned?
“These small touches show a real connection with them and hence a client’s relationship with their broker will be stronger than with Amazon. Amazon only has loyalty while its prices are competitive, but its customers – not clients – would and do happily shop elsewhere regularly.”
Bardoe said: “We should not stop embracing and exploiting technology, but it should not be used to reduce our personal contact with clients, but instead to make their lives easier in dealing with us.
“As we have all been taught, they are not an interruption of our time.”
Avoiding the blame game
The next comments were in response to the article: How brokers can show lenders the solutions to get cases through
Robert Drury kicked off the discussion, saying: It was refreshing to read this article and see Reuben’s comments on how building up a great communication with a lender helps to gain the right outcome for a client.
“Too many times in the last six months I have read articles which seem to pitch the broker against the lender when we should be working together during unprecedented times.”
He added: “Let us not fall into a blame culture but instead actually try to by civil, courteous and grateful for the assistance we are often offered. I for one find that a simple thank you or an acceptance of a situation, whilst offering an alternative view on an application, can reap dividends.
“Last year I was fortunate to have excellent service from both the smaller lender – Leek Building Society – but also the larger Nationwide Building Society and found both their mortgage department and their business development managers (BDMs) most helpful. This then led to further assistance on follow up cases during the year.”
Stuart Phillips said of the same article: “The problem is the communication. Those clients were lucky they had a dedicated broker, willing to put the time in to find a lender willing to have that conversation.
“With over 50 smaller lenders like Ipswich, these cases can seem like a huge commitment of time and effort and when you are paid only on successful outcomes. How many brokers would have moved onto an easier case?”
He added: “Unavailable BDMs, poor criteria documentation, lack of access to underwriters and long hold times with lenders.
“The present system is not making it easy for brokers to get to the right lender to even have those conversations.”