The broking industry is underpinned by customer service. A satisfied customer makes a powerful advocate who can play a significant role generating referral and repeat business.
In 2016, Advantedge reinvigorated our broker service offering by placing a renewed focus on delivering value and great service. We wanted to share what we have learned in our journey towards broker centricity. In our most recent broker satisfaction survey, we received an overall NPS score of +44 across seven of our white label home loan brands. This is testament to the fact that if you put your customers first, everything else will follow.
1. Build trust and place customers first
One of the most important ways to develop a customer-centric organisation is to prioritise your relationship with your customer. Being accessible, approachable and helpful may seem obvious, but living and breathing these traits can go a long way. Furthermore, trust is critical as customers rely on brokers to guide them through what can be a complicated loan process. Brokers from across various aggregators gave Advantedge 8.5/10 when it came to being ‘trustworthy’ – a score that is well above the industry average. Brokers can emulate this by proving to customers they will go the extra mile, and are well-positioned to provide expert advice by being across industry trends and keeping up to date with lender policies.
2. Deliver quality service
Referrals remain the most important way brokers generate new business, and delivering high quality customer service is an important way to secure referrals. A simple, yet crucial, way brokers can deliver outstanding customer service is by answering customer queries in a timely manner – including responding within 24 hours to online leads, which is almost expected in our digital world. We certainly aim to deliver great customer-service at Advantedge. In our broker satisfaction survey, we found that the traits brokers valued most with Advantedge BDMs were providing quick responses, being easy to deal with, personable and always willing to help. Speed, responsiveness, access to and flexibility of credit assessors are often specifically called out by brokers, and these are the key drivers of strong NPS.
3. Invest in retention and grow loyalty
Pre-empting the needs of your customers is an important way to retain them and earn their loyalty. Many brokers put their heart and soul into finding the right loan for their clients – but once the dotted line is signed they can lose touch with their customer. An example of how to think long-term is to have an embedded customer retention strategy. Communicate and engage with your customers at the right time with the right message. Look at your database and the information that you have. For instance, home loan anniversaries are a great trigger to re-engage with your customers. Deloitte and the MFAA recently produced the report ‘Customer Experiences of Using Mortgage Brokers’, which showed 18% of broker customers don’t hear from their broker after settlement, yet 60% of broker customers truly value these ongoing interactions. Furthermore, almost all customers expect to be contacted by their broker after settlement. If you clearly position yourself as a long-term partner for your customer, then you are more likely to be considered to assist them across their spectrum of lending needs.
Differentiate with great service experience
By putting customers at the centre of everything, brokers will be rewarded by loyal, long-term customers who are likely to be advocates for their business and frequent referrers. As more brokers enter the market – the channel has increased from just 18% of market share in 2002 to 53% in 2016 (RBA ABS Comparator Quarterly Surveys). The market is also becoming more competitive and brokers will need to differentiate their offering. Key ways to do this will be providing great service, building strong relationships that add value to customers and helping them throughout the course of the customer lifecycle.
Advantedge aims to truly support brokers as they deliver this ongoing service to their customers. Our goal is to empower brokers to own the client relationship, and to ensure fast turnaround times so brokers can in turn get back to clients quickly, giving them that great experience. We have truly embedded this approach and have seen the benefits – the opportunity is there for the taking.
General Manager, Advantedge