Look around you
Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)
Firms operating within the intermediary marketplace are in the solutions business. We should always be learning from a variety of sectors, but this is especially apparent in a time when technology is changing the face of how we all work and live.
Let’s look at a few brief examples of how firms are evolving beyond our mortgage bubble.
· Go Instore has partnered with Brompton Bicycle to launch a Live In-Store Expert experience, which matches in-store Brompton Junction product specialists with online customers via a HD live video platform.
· Marks and Spencer have launched its first home delivery service, just ahead of its highly touted partnership with Ocado.
· Ikea has created a series of backgrounds for use on video calls during the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, the UK Department for Education has hired Google and Microsoft to support remote schooling, as school closures continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to play a prominent role in finding solutions to present and future issues.
Research from ABAKA, in conjunction with Key, recently explored how retired consumers aged 65-75 were exploring their use of digital channels to research financial products and services.
Participants indicated that online platforms such as Money Saving Expert, as well as the websites of providers, were often their first port of call when researching equity release options.
However, respondents were reluctant to share their contact details for fear of being called too early in their decision-making processes.
When researchers explained that conversational chatbots could offer participants personalised answers to questions, many agreed that they could represent a good starting point in their research.
Participants felt they were in control of the discussion with chatbots, and suggested the anonymity offered by a chatbot was positive, allowing them to ask questions as many times as they liked without judgement.
They also noted that chatbots were faster and less frustrating to use than ‘web chat’ platforms with human customer service teams, and were more likely to willingly provide their contract details to a chatbot once they felt well-informed enough to progress and speak with an adviser.
The research helps underline how integral, and commonplace, technology has become for a wider variety of people. And how firms need to listen to their customers/clients and be as flexible as possible in terms of their service offerings and in supporting their own business needs.
Systems and solutions need to be highly customisable to cope with shifting user demands. For example, OMS is not an IT system created for mortgages, it’s a mortgage system created by brokers, for brokers, packagers and lenders, saving time and effort with the minimal of inputting.
Simplified mortgage journeys will also be welcomed by lenders who are having their own service issues – in terms of handling mortgage payment holidays, pipeline cases under pressure from lingering valuation issues and future mortgage business.
Advances in automation between lenders, intermediaries and the end borrower will simplify and speed up the mortgage process and partnerships with tech providers will be key to survival and future prosperity during these tough times and beyond.
Many questions have been asked of mortgage-related technology in the past, especially when it came to the impact it might have on the advice process.
However, the value attached to advice and technology has never been higher, and it’s a successful combination of these elements which is changing the way all firms in the mortgage chain work now, and in the future.