An authority on customer service has hit back at Australia’s top broker after he claimed he refuses to do housecalls.
Last week, The Adviser’s top Elite Business Writer in 2013, Mark Davis, claimed his success was in part due to his refusing to visit clients at home – regarded by many as a staple service offered by brokers.
While brokers debated his method, with some even labelling the top broker as "arrogant", customer service expert Martin Grunstein told The Adviser Mr Davis was missing the point of the broker channel.
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“The mortgage broking industry only exists because the banks are arrogant and inflexible. Independent brokers could liaise between the banks and brokers, and their point of difference was being flexible and able to do business the way the consumer wanted,” he said.
“Mark displays the inflexibility of the banks. Mortgage brokers are selling stress management and convenience and that means being flexible enough to do business the way clients want, not making them fit with the way you do business.”
However, many brokers agree with Mr Davis and his attempt to make the industry appear more professional.
“Making clients come to you is spot on. Accountants, lawyers etc don't make house calls...this needs to change. Writing loans isn’t what it used to be and clients need to know your service is valuable. Good on him,” wrote one commenter.
Mr Grunstein, however, claims comparing mortgage broking with any other industry is a matter of apples and oranges.
“I understand what he’s talking about when he says that it’s about making the broking sector more professional, but becoming more like the medical and legal industry isn’t what customers want.
“The medical and legal industries didn’t come out of a protest against banks and inflexibility.
“Professionalism doesn’t come from having an office or making people wait on you; professionalism comes from knowing your product, knowing your customers, some level of empathy and people skills that make people feel they can trust you with their finances.”
As Australia’s top broker, Mr Davis has proven he not only writes the largest volumes, but also has the highest number of settlements – and Mr Grunstein acknowledges he is at least doing something right.
“If you can write $160 million and make people come to you, then hallelujah you go out and do that – but I don’t think it’s the right message to send to someone starting out as a mortgage broker.
“There aren’t many businesses that can get away with that, but if Mark can, then good on him,” he said.
Martin Grunstein will be speaking at the upcoming Better Business Summit in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.