View more on these topics

Intermediaries need retention strategies too

The big debate in the lending world at the moment is about retention strategies.

This is not a particularly new development as lenders have always been worried about the strategy of heavily discounting products at the front end only to see customers leaving them when their product is about to go into profit.

But HBOS’ retention policy has focussed all our minds.

We are regularly bombarded with questions such as “will an intermediary still broke a case or will they just leave it with an HBOS lender, saving them work while they still pick up a proc fee”?

If lenders are waking up to the fact that it makes little business or marketing sense to put their efforts into getting business in and simply hoping that consumer apathy leaves them with a profitable business at the end of a discount period, what are intermediaries doing about the problem?

Sadly, judging from my discussions with brokers, it seems the answer is not much. The issues that still dominate intermediaries’ minds are compliance and getting in business.

It is a fact of working life that business managers are often so involved in the day-to-day detail that they have no time to contemplate the future.

But in respect of customer retention strategies, contemplating the future is something intermediaries must find time to do.

The bottom line is that an intermediary cannot rely on a consumer automatically returning to them when it comes to their next financial need.

Unfortunately, customers may not be aware of all the services offered by an intermediary and so go to another one for their next financial purchase.

I recently read an article that claimed Brits have spent 22 million hours in the past two summers in search of properties abroad and that 2.2 million UK nationals already own a property abroad.

I would guess that intermediaries in this country assisted few of those 2.2 million foreign home owners. And worse, from a customer retention point of view, I guess that few intermediaries know if their customers are among that army of foreign property window shoppers.

I have a saying – if you don’t satisfy a customer’s need, someone else will. If intermediaries want to call their customers ‘clients’ they have to earn the right to do so by treating them as clients. That means everything the business does should be geared around long-term relationships.

The starting point of this exercise should be a good and comprehensive client ag-reement whereby the customer knows what they can ex-pect from the intermediary firm.

Such a way of working has a double benefit for brokers. First, a shift in the business balance from chasing new customers to writing new business for existing customers will help boost profits.

Second, developing relationships with consumers is a fundamental premise of Treating Cus- tomers Fairly. Isn’t it strange how regulation forces businesses to work smarter.


Flats become more popular

Research by Halifax shows that the traditional image of British life is changing, with home owners preferring to live in flats rather than terraced or semi-detached housing.

Badger chosen as new name for Townends Group

The Townends Group has rebranded as Badger Holdings after an employee competition to find a new name. The Townends Group, parent company to Townends & Regents estate agents, Dot Financial Services and Tyser Greewood, adopted the name after a short list of five options was presented to the board. The name Badger holds significance in […]

MBSL links up with the Exchange

Mortgage Broking Service Ltd has chosen The Exchange’s Exweb portal service as its preferred technology and ecommerce partner.All 130 advisers within MBSL will gain access to Exweb’s online services, which includes quotations, e-submissions, research and back-office integration.Jonathan White, head of strategic relationships at The Exchange, says: “This is a significant deal for The Exchange and […]

Estate agents and homeowners differ on home improvements

Research from Alliance & Leicester Personal Loans shows that consumers and estate agents are differing on their views on the type of home improvements that will add value to a property. To add value, estate agents are more likely to favour improvements that create space or improve decoration, whereas consumers are more likely to support […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up