The pandemic has rapidly accelerated digital transformation, with businesses across almost every industry evolving to either implement new online capabilities or enhance existing ones.
Six months since the initial national shutdown, Australians are now faced with a financial crisis that has heightened concerns around the future of their wealth. For brokers, the events of 2020 have been monumental in altering the way they serve their clients and carry out the new processes that will come to define efficient, trustworthy and future proof businesses over the next decade and more.
While digital transformation is not a new phenomenon, there is now an urgent, unequivocal need for mortgage and finance brokers to embrace sophisticated technology. If businesses don’t evolve quickly and embrace technology permanently, they’ll be left behind the curve as the ‘new normal’ manifests itself. But with great challenge comes great opportunity, and brokers can use the ongoing pandemic as the catalyst to implement the technology-driven processes that will serve them for years to come. If you’re a broker, here are some things to consider.
Digital transformation: A bridge over troubled waters
As a result of COVID-19, industries that may have taken years to fully realise technology’s potential have been forced to adopt new tools in a matter of weeks. In an industry that has always relied on human interaction to build trust, relying on technology can feel entirely foreign. However, as businesses are left to contend with a post-pandemic world, technology represents a bridge over troubled waters.
The benefits of a digitally empowered brokerage industry are undeniable. One of the biggest benefits is efficiency. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, more than a third of brokers reported that their workload increased. With time and money of the essence today, the need to digitally streamline processes has become crucial.
Whether you specialise in mortgages, wealth management, retail banking or insurance, leveraging integrated business management tools is essential. Integrated platforms that cover every process - from sales and customer support, to accounting and back office operations - free up your time to do the important things: engaging with your clients.
Building trust and safeguarding security
When it comes to finances, building trust is imperative in fostering positive relationships between brokers and their clients. This is especially true today as Australia experiences a sizable societal wealth transfer, with baby boomers transferring money to their millennial family members.
With concerns rife about how prepared this generation is for such a large financial responsibility, brokers will need to know how to navigate this milestone. With technology ubiquitous for many millennials, it represents a key platform for brokers.
While the need to build trust is at an all-time high, the need to digitise to adhere to social distancing measures and keep up with consumer habits has supplanted that. Traditionally, there have been two common hesitations when implementing more technology into wealth services; lack of privacy, and lack of personal connection with a broker. Managing the first fear can help you naturally resolve the second.
Our growing reliance on technology doesn't mean we should compromise on privacy - ensuring you safeguard clients sensitive data is of utmost importance.
In order to ensure your clients are protected, consider first the possible risks.
While technology is playing a crucial role in empowering businesses, diligence is required to ensure security measures are implemented across your business. Failure to do, after all, can have serious financial and reputational ramifications.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how quickly an established process can be rendered archaic and a new trend can replace it. Digital mortgage broking, for example, has grown in prominence over the course of the pandemic. To adjust to the new necessity of remote advising, lenders have altered policies to allow for these types of actions, and it could soon become the new status quo.
Digital transformation isn’t a case of ‘set and forget’ but a long-term commitment to implementing the sophisticated processes that evolve in line with both industry regulations and client preferences.
With the next six months set to be as important as the last decade in revolutionising the industry and enhancing, for good, the way brokers operate and serve their clients, digital transformation can no longer be ignored.
Vijay Sundaram is the chief strategy officer of global technology company Zoho Corporation.
As CSO of one of the world's most prolific software companies, Vijay leads the partner and channel programs at Zoho and is engaged in all aspects of Zoho's market strategy.
More than 50 million users around the world, across hundreds of thousands of companies, rely on Zoho every day to run their businesses, including Zoho itself.
Zoho has 45+ apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools.
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