The third-party channel has largely benefited from the regulatory changes of 2015, which saw differentiated pricing introduced by many lenders and a number of policy changes announced. While many believed this complexity caused borrowers to seek advice from a broker, ING Direct’s executive director of customer delivery Lisa Claes is not one of them.
“One thing we do know is that complexity is increasingly not a determination of channel preference,” Ms Claes told The Adviser.
“Recently there was a view that if something in or outside financial services was complex, it required a face-to-face interaction or touch point,” she said. “That is no longer the case.
“Complexity is no longer driving the distinction. It’s the customer’s desire or need for personalisation that is driving the channel of choice, if you like.”
Ms Claes said that customers don’t think about ‘channels’ when they approach an interaction with a financial services provider.
“What they are looking for is transparency, personalisation, value and the ability of the provider to use the data and the information the customer has provided them intelligently and predictively,” she said.
“This puts an onus on the broking industry, which is a critical part of the financial services industry, to adopt or strengthen those aspects of their current service propositions. Brokers are already strong in many of those areas, such as value and personalisation.”
At a time when online channels and new digital players are entering the mortgage market, Ms Claes believes mortgage brokers are well placed to use customer data to provide a more personalised service.
“There is an expectation that you are using the data given to you under the umbrella of a trusted relationship for the purpose of helping that customer get ahead in their financial journey,” she said.
“Gone are the days when there was a high sensitivity around using data for anything but the binary one-transaction purpose. There is now an expectation and loyalty and advocacy if you intelligently use the data a customer has given you to further that customer’s financial needs.
“You need to be smart about that. You need to use data to retain, maintain and attain your customer.”
[Related: Broker market share set to skyrocket]