In two weeks, HLP will have reached the milestone of sending out one million client newsletters in 2020, on behalf of our member ARs. This is part of HLP’s strategy, in cooperation with our members, to engage existing customers on a regular basis and strengthen the relationship between customer and adviser.
Our research has shown consumers who haven’t had any subsequent contact with the adviser who arranged their mortgage are unlikely to go back to that source for further assistance when they need to remortgage. With individual circumstances changing all the time, particularly as we face the economic changes brought on by the pandemic, and the high percentage of fixed rate mortgages reaching the end of their terms, the chances are they won’t go back to their adviser at remortgage stage.
For the adviser sector, this is not just disappointing considering the role that remortgages will play in the medium term it is potentially devastating. Once the current purchase boom subsides, the market will be dependent on remortgage activity and advisers who have failed to maintain contact with existing customers could find that they have already moved on.
In the longer term (2+ years) the mortgage market should return to steady growth as consumers seek to get plans back on track and are more confident in making major financial decisions. Normal levels of remortgaging are anticipated but if advisers are going to hold on to their customer bases consistent communication between advisers and their clients is paramount, because the choices for customers, as to where they can go for help, are growing. Matters will only get worse as preferences for longer fixed term products increase the lifecycle and ultimately reduce the opportunities for customer engagement.
It is often cited that the reasons for poor communication are a lack of time, knowhow and resources. One of the advantages of being a member of a proactive network such as ours is that the core technology provides advisers with reminders about customer contact, the client newsletter helps to keep the brand and the adviser firm in front of clients on a regular basis and data driven campaigns identify opportunities and send targeted communications to maximise remortgage and insurance reviews for advisers.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software might have been considered a luxury not so long ago, particularly in the mortgage sector. The threat from the internet and the potential of the erosion of advice by the proposed expansion of execution-only type deals, as well as just good old competition for your customers, means that every mortgage broker needs to make sure that they are properly equipped. Moving customer information from the filing cabinet to a system that can tell you in a very few clicks, when customers are due a call, tell you when a renewal is imminent and, well in advance, tell you when that fixed rate is due to revert to the lender’s variable rate, is a ‘must have’ not a ‘must be joking’.
As we stagger or swagger to the end of 2020, depending on your disposition, challenges are going to remain whether a viable COVID inoculation appears or not. The purchase boom is likely to peter out well before the end of March, unless the Chancellor is minded to extend the stamp duty holiday. All advisers who have traditionally relied on a strong purchase market will need to have a Plan B to shore up their new business. What price a good CRM system now and the will to use it in 2021?