The broking franchise has announced the opening of a multifaceted retail space designed to enhance the customer experience.
Mortgage aggregator Loan Market Group has launched a retail shopfront that it has dubbed ‘The Hub’, located on Melbourne’s Chapel Street, South Yarra.
The retail space was launched to improve customer service expectations of the financial services industry, with The Hub located in Melbourne’s cultural epicenter.
Commenting on the design of the store, Loan Market’s chief customer experience officer Jason Furnell said: “The Hub’s design replicates that sense of comfort that sitting around the kitchen table offers.
“Customers and our brokers are going to want to come here and work together to find solutions in a warm, free-flowing environment.”
Mr Furnell continued: “We’ve had some people pop in off the street to enquire what it is, and that is a reflection of us pulling back on the branding and typical industry lay-out to focus on the experience: creating a partnership environment where the customer is as important as the broker.
“Customers will come into The Hub for the specific purpose of finding the right mortgage product for them, guidance in their wealth strategy, essential insurances or utility connections for their next move. The Hub is specifically designed to facilitate that experience: it’s not a cold branding exercise. The last thing we want is for our clients to feel isolated in a plastic world of bright logos and empty slogans.”
The Hub will serve as a base for Loan Market’s Victorian support team and will also be open to all franchise businesses wanting to engage with their own customers.
“It also offers business owners ideas on what is achievable in terms of their workplace and how it can benefit the customer-broker relationship,” Mr Furnell added.
Loan Market engaged design specialists Koskela to determine the layout of the shopfront.
“We didn’t want customers to walk in off the street and be faced with a reception desk. We have adopted the travelling concierge concept: a staff member that moves around the space and not designated to one desk,” Mr Furnell said:
“By having natural timbers, ceramics, artworks, plants and a soft Australian landscape colour palette, we wanted it to feel like you were walking into someone’s home rather than a typical office space.”
He added: “We’ve even kept the graffiti on the externals of the building.
“Street art is one of the features that differentiates Melbourne from other cities, and we think it complements what we’ve done with The Hub – creating something that is different from all other financial industry retail spaces.
“The last thing we wanted it to feel like was a bank.”
Loan Market is currently planning roll-outs of The Hub in other states.
[Related: Major brokerage to boost store footprint]