We realised a long time ago that to maintain an advantage we had to ensure our organisation was at the forefront of technological innovation, providing our members with the IT tools needed to enable them to stay ahead of the pack.
But revamping your firm’s IT systems requires substantial investment and the ultimate objective must be to ensure that all your customers’ needs are met.
There are five golden rules to heed if you want to make sure technology focusses on your clients.
Development never stops. Our customers demand that we continuously update our systems. If we stand still we won’t deliver what they want.
An example of how customer demand has driven continuous development can be seen in our ongoing integration with third party firms such as sourcing systems. Initially this involved our main product systems but now includes direct integration with lenders such as Abbey. This means brokers now have to press just four buttons to pre-populate forms with data from fact-finds to mortgage offers.
Another example is the integration of a client ID verification system into our Toolbox platform so that hard copy ID documents are no longer required.
Customer involvement is pivotal. In our case this means brokers. They must be involved in systems’ initial development, testing and post-implementation reviews.
Control of the technology is crucial. We need to be in control of the systems we use, not the other way around.
As a network, if we can’t do this we cannot guarantee the continuous improvements we want to deliver as we’d be reliant on third parties’ development schedules, costs, values and priorities.
Treating customers fairly is imperative. Whatever is changed, introduced or designed must be continuously and rigorously checked against consumers’ requirements.
Everything the technology does must assist brokers to ensure that borrowers are treated fairly. This is not an afterthought – it is a regulatory requirement to ensure consumers are protected.
Support is vital. Any new system or changes to existing ones must come with the appropriate level of training to ensure brokers are able to use the technology effectively. This must be an ongoing process so that brokers remain up-to-speed with developments as they happen.
Technology is becoming a friend even for brokers that once saw it as an enemy. But it’s essential we follow the rules to ensure technology is not used for technology’s sake.