Originally published on Mortgage Solutions on the 13th of January 2020

How do you engage with new and existing clients? Do you have a strategy or is it something that ‘just happens’?

Like it or not, technology has been proven time and time again to be effective at improving performance, winning clients and keeping on top of your client contact strategy. This doesn’t mean brokers need to be tech experts; what it does mean is putting well-designed solutions in place that go with the grain of both your business and your existing systems and which kick in even before you have spoken to a potential customer. 

Your interaction with potential customers starts long before this however. How should, and does, a broker start winning customers?  

Digital is increasingly important, so do you have a digital strategy or just rely on a website? How about social media?  

First point of contact 

There is a lot of research that shows clients prefer to research online but then want the reassurance of human interaction. This is particularly the case where a mortgage is concerned and even more so if we start to discuss more sensitive issues such as protection which is typically sold rather than bought. 

Ultimately therefore, the customer experience must be a blend of online and broker engagement.  Online shopping demonstrates that customers are keen to engage digitally but in return expect a prompt response and good service. If there is any hiccup in the process they are likely to ditch the transaction and move on.  

It is imperative to look at how prospective clients’ information is handled at the point of initial contact, what value you can add and also how you can use this initial contact to gather as much useful information as possible.  

Value-added digital communication 

A key question is: ‘how is the broker rewarding customers who engage digitally to start off with?’  

Is there any inherent value that you can provide? For example can the broker perform any affordability and criteria checks, perhaps before the first conversation, in order to highlight potential issues early?  This isn’t about turning people away – rather providing tools and valuable information that demonstrate the power of the broker over an online-only solution.  

Providing automated tools or information such as this, with a link to some element of confirmation to proceed, can form the start of a relationship and a basis for trust.  

Where the process includes gathering information about affordability and the type of mortgage the client is looking for, customers will expect brokers to use that information.  

If brokers can show they have already begun to understand that client’s individual circumstances, that will add value to the interaction and begin to build the trust vital to a healthy relationship. 

As that relationship develops, an effective CRM will enable advisers to look after that relationship much more effectively, as everything they need will be accessible through one central information hub.  

Being able to respond speedily is very highly valued by customers: buying a property or refinancing can be a very significant point in people’s lives, and they will want to get the sense that it is important to their adviser too.  

By showing that they are on top of the details and ready to swing into action on their clients’ behalf, brokers can build the trust they have from their clients still further.