"Training and ongoing support are also crucial in ensuring that all advisers can maximise the benefits attached to a CRM and all the additional features that can sit alongside it."
The recent pandemic has unwittingly shaped the future of many businesses. All firms have had to evolve and adapt over this period and many positives have emerged from this intense period of internal and external review. Technology has obviously played a massive role in the transition of front-line operations through to back office efficiency, and this is evident across the mortgage market.
A section within the fourth edition of the Mortgage Lender Benchmark from Smart Money People outlined that just over half of respondents (52%) believed that technology would have a high impact on their business in the next 24 months. Although 20% thought there would be no affect, or very little, and 28% thought there would be a ‘medium’ impact, the majority were convinced of the importance of technological advances.
As well as predicting a greater use of automated desktop valuations and e-signatures, 52% of brokers who thought technology would have a big impact, also expected more system integrations. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions received very mixed feedback around ease of use, while accuracy was suggested to be the key pain point for affordability solutions. The overall satisfaction across all broker technology solutions profiled stood at a highly respectable 81.4%.
The point around CRM systems is an interesting one. Such systems can help manage customer data, support sales management, deliver actionable insights, integrate with social media and facilitate team communication. And, here at OMS, we’re seeing an increasing number of intermediary firms utilising CRMs to transform their working practices and, when successfully integrated, they are swiftly being viewed as the backbone of entire operations.
Back to the point in hand, ease of use should be the main feature of any CRM system. However, there can be a few influencing factors.
1) a lack of understanding from the user
2) the system in question being launched before being fully developed
3) insufficient levels of training and ongoing support from the people behind the system
All these are important factors in their own right. Point number 2 really highlights the importance of intermediaries doing their research and ensuring they work with a system which is fully operational from the off. Not to mention ensuring that any further developments are fully detailed and incorporated into any payment plan.
Point 1 and 3 sit hand-in-hand to a large degree. I believe it’s important that users get the most out of their CRM system from day one. Training and ongoing support are also crucial in ensuring that all advisers can maximise the benefits attached to a CRM and all the additional features that can sit alongside it. After all, they are the biggest advocates and drivers of any future business, so why would you not?
Technological support extends way beyond CRMs. In recent weeks we’ve seen the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) e-mentoring scheme see a surge in interest as coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced. Online broker forum cherryplc.co.uk received a record 16,000 visits from more than 3,500 unique visitors in May, the highest number since its launch in 2005. Equifax and Accountscore also recently announced a new partnership with financial software, Click2Check, to launch Credit Assess, an online tool for mortgage advisers that uses Open Banking to deliver faster and more accurate credit and financial assessments of applicants.
These examples offer just a flavour of how technology is helping advisers to get better support from professional bodies, engage with their peers and access relevant information which will help them make the most of their valuable time. And these are all trends which will continue to rise in prominence over the rest of 2020 and beyond.