During the silly season for news back in July, the press took interest in a survey by online mortgage broker, Trussle, claiming that 3 out of 4 people questioned did not know what a remortgage was. We have to admit to being a little sceptical at the time, as to our way of thinking the clue really does lie in the word itself. However, just because the industry has its own terminology, it does not necessarily follow that the average customer is going to be as clear on the vocabulary which we use, even if it is to describe moving a mortgage to a better deal.
So, does the industry come up with a simpler word to describe this particular activity, which might be difficult given that the word ‘remortgage’ is shorter than ‘mortgage shifter’ for example, or do we engage in communicating with customers better? Personally, We would subscribe to the latter for the simple reason that the vocabulary just needs to be explained clearly rather than changed and who better to provide that information than professional human mortgage brokers?
We think Trussle has done us a favour by inadvertently reminding us why human advisers are so important in ensuring that our customers have a clear understanding of mortgage terminology.
In the wider scheme of things, this might not seem like a priority and yet it goes to the very heart of the role that we occupy as professional advisers. Customers might be able to access a mortgage on the internet, but if they have not really understood the terminology being used, what are the chances that other parts of the mortgage process or even the product chosen have not been fully understood too?
Unlike robo-advice brokers and lenders, as advisers we are in the best position to ensure that not only is the product chosen the right one because we can engage in face to face discussion as to the reasons why we reached our recommendation, but also that we can field any questions that a customer might have, which would include an explanation of mortgage terminology.
As we all come to terms with the challenges posed by robo-advice, it is worth remembering that if 75% of people do not understand what the word ‘remortgage’ means, they are more likely to need the services of a human adviser, who can provide a full advice service and also be in the best position to answer the kind of questions that robo-advice can only cover in a glossary or FAQ section. No contest!