The Growth Series

Tech Can Help Brokers Meet Growing Consumer Expectations

Consumers’ expectations of brands aren’t the same today as they were even five years ago - and technology has played a big part in driving that change.

More than ever, people expect the organisations they spend money with to understand their individual tastes, preferences and circumstances, and then respond accordingly.

For example, there are more ways of getting in touch with customers and clients than ever before, so it’s crucial that companies in all sectors know which methods each individual prefers, and how frequently they want to be contacted.

That’s particularly important because people’s preferences may change over time. In fact, a study by Attest found that while 59 per cent of people were happy to receive email marketing from brands at least once a week in 2020, this has since fallen to 53 per cent.

At the same time, consumers want to transact with companies that reflect their world views. According to the Attest survey, 42 per cent of people want to see brands take a stand on issues such as climate change, poverty and inequality, while 31.5 per cent would like them to express a view on racism.


Emotions influence consumer habits

Another change in consumer habits that is perhaps relatively recent, is that many people want the organisations they work with to make them feel a certain way. 

For instance, a study by Mintel has concluded that consumers are craving a sense of control over their lives as they navigate uncertain times but are finding it increasingly hard to find information that allows them to make informed decisions. As a result, Mintel believes brands have to work harder to provide their customers with reliable information and allow them to have more control over when the services they want are delivered.

Meanwhile, the Attest study found that 37 per cent of people want motivational and reassuring messages from brands. That’s particularly important if people are going through tough times, as many will be right now, as the cost of living crisis deepens. 


Brokers must catch up with consumer preferences

So, what does this all mean for you as a mortgage broker? Well, it’s really important for you to understand and know your clients and keep up with their ever-changing and increasing demands and preferences. 

Technology can play a key role in helping you do this, as it enables you to easily gather, store and use client data and manage your customer and stakeholder relationships.

A recent study by Accord Mortgages found most brokers agree that technology can help improve the mortgage journey for clients. However, the same research revealed that nearly three-quarters don’t currently have plans to invest in technology for their business.

This lack of take-up and engagement could be hugely costly to brokers in the long run as competition in the market becomes more intense and this apparent reluctance to engage is proving frustrating for the tech companies that develop these products.

Sarah Green, Head of Customer Acquisition at Virgin Money, recently told the Financial Times that while considerable funds went into developing their fully integrated Twenty7Tec platform, the take-up has not been as high as it hoped for.

“It's got to be a two-way thing,” Ms Green commented. “We can build it but we expect people to come. [Brokers] really need to lift their heads into that fintech space."

Ms Green noted that while fintech is talked about in the broker community, it’s uncertain whether brokers “really know or have explored what’s on offer”.

“Actually getting brokers to engage with full fintech is the difficult part,” she added.

This means it could be much harder for brokers to deliver the service that both existing and prospective clients demand and expect.

At the same time, brokers that don’t update their infrastructure and processes may risk pushing people straight into the hands of more progressive, forward-thinking competitors who can deliver on their expectations.

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