COVID-19 Triggers Major Shift in Brokers’ Approach to Advising Clients
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced mortgage brokers across the UK to radically transform their approach to advising clients on property purchases and remortgage options.
Specifically, many brokers have spoken of the need to show greater empathy to the requirements and preferences of their clients, while others have spoken of the way lockdown forced their companies to stray from their usual comfort zones.
Mortgage Solutions recently interviewed three brokers from different parts of the UK, who in all instances said that the COVID-19 crisis triggered a major shift in the way they do business.
Remote Meetings the New Norm
Speaking on behalf of Andy Wilson FS, director Andy Wilson commented on how quickly he and his company needed to adapt to meeting with clients remotely and embrace video calling technology.
“The comfort zone I needed to step out of was the normal face-to-face meetings with clients,” he told Mortgage Solutions.
“I work in the equity release market, and for me, meeting my clients on their own territory, where they are most comfortable, has always been a mainstay of my business,”
“So, having to resort to providing some aspects of advice by video calls was alien to me and took a little while to adapt to. Fortunately, family quizzes each weekend soon taught me the capabilities of video calling,”
Likewise, Niche Advice partner Payam Azadi said that for his company, the challenge of shifting so quickly to remote working was initially difficult to adapt to.
“Even though we were geared up for it with an existing cloud system, we obviously had a main office that we worked from. So we had to set things up to ensure staff could work in the same way from home,” he said.
“With clients, the more challenging parts are when you’re dealing with them and all of a sudden they go quiet. When you finally hear back, they say they caught Covid and have been in hospital, so the mortgage application has to be put on hold. Or they’ve been furloughed,”
“Therefore we’ve had to be more understanding and compassionate. Not that we weren’t before but you could have someone self-employed, running a business for 10 years, making lots of money and they can’t get a mortgage.”
Focus on Improved Communications with Clients
Meanwhile, mortgage and protection consultant at The Mortgage Expert, Darryl Dhoffer, told Mortgage Solutions that the difficulties associated with COVID-19 serve as a reminder of the importance of strong and consistent communication with clients.
“What I have noticed is we have had to be more thorough and our planning has had to be more precise,” he said
“Communication has been key – we’re all guilty of not keeping in touch with our old client base. We’ve had to try to keep communication lines open and that’s been at the forefront,”
“We do this by making sure clients are aware of any new product release as soon as it comes out. We have to keep abreast, keep a diary, know where they’re at and keep communicating.”