The importance of good relationships

Kevin Tunnicliffe

December 5, 2017

Kevin Tunnicliffe is managing director at SortRefer

The importance attached to both existing and new relationships is clearly attracting much attention at the moment. We have the EU and the UK relationship, which has been on rocky terrain since the Brexit announcement was made in 2016.

We’ve also got the more recent relationships (or lack of) between Donald Trump and North Korea. These are perhaps bad examples, but these show how relationships end up without clear communications or without working for one common goal. Relationships should form a solid foundation to every successful business.

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Santander were born out of the merger of Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester back in 2010. In the industry and around the world, it’s these relationships that allow companies to flourish and grow.

A primary thought of any business owner operating within the service industry should be to view each and every client as a potential client for life. And this should be built around the best possible service standards and excellent relationships with a range of providers/partners. Successful implementation will not only encourage clients to continue doing business with you in the future, but to also share their positive experience with others.

The importance of relationships in the financial services industry area is underlined by the numerous layers within the house purchase chain, all of which have to work together to ensure a seamless transaction.

With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at some of these relationships.

The broker and the client – Usually the first point of contact in the process. How this transaction pans out could well prove the difference between it being a successful long term relationship or a one off deal. If the relationship is successful, the broker will have a long-term client, being able to assist on each and every purchase in the client’s lifetime and similarly, the client will have a professional they can turn to whenever they need mortgage assistance.

The broker and the lender – Historically, a relationship which had its challenges with some lenders only offering direct to client propositions. However, since HSBC paved the way with bringing their products into the intermediary market, many have followed, with a higher percentage of business to lenders coming from brokers.

Support, communication and transparency should provide the bedrock of any good lending proposition. When combined with a clear understanding of products, policy and criteria – from a broker perspective – this will help ensure that clients have access to the right type of deal and a worry free journey from offer to completion.

The lender and the conveyancer – This relationship is all about the safety net. The conveyancer manages everyone’s expectations as they’re acting on behalf of the client and lender, making sure the right balance is struck on each transaction. Performance monitoring will help ensure that this relationship remains intact and mean that their clients are receiving the best possible service along the way.

The broker and the conveyancer – An important relationship, but one that doesn’t always exist. When I was a broker, I always recommended a conveyancer. Whilst it’s important to undertake sufficient due diligence, if you have a good relationship with the conveyancer, it makes the whole transaction much easier to manage.

A strong component within any good conveyancing option should be easy access to innovative, technological tools which work to streamline and simplify workloads. For example, utilising an online portal will offer the ability to instruct and comprehensively track an individual case. Access to a system which successfully integrates the time consuming vetting process and facilitates all client needs is a must in the modern mortgage market.

The conveyancer and the client – All clients have differing demands. Inevitably first-time buyers will have a greater number of enquiries and will require some additional reassurance throughout the transaction due to their inexperience.

On the other side of the coin, an investor will usually need less support and guidance. What they do have in common is the need for good communication throughout the process including timely responses and clarity when it comes to answering any queries. Again, technology can play a major role in supporting this engagement process.

Relationships across all links in the purchase chain should be treated as a strong partnership. Trust needs to be established and there should be clear communication if and when issues arise. In theory, if these relationships have been nurtured across all steps of the process, it should make the whole transaction quicker and easier to manage for all parties involved.

We hold the relationships we have built with our customers and suppliers very close to our heart, and we are constantly evaluating them to make sure they are working for all parties. There is nothing ground-breaking in this, it is simply good practice.

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