• From Seeing Results to Understanding How They See the Results

“The customer’s perception is your reality.” –  Kate Zabriskie

We must of course look at the results of how we are helping our clients and that their circumstances have improved. But a Trusted Advisor goes much further and evaluates how the client perceives those results.

It’s not enough to say to yourself, ‘Mission accomplished, I got the client a much cheaper rate than they were going to get without me.’ Instead you need to focus on how your client sees the process and the outcome. Rightly or wrongly, if your client isn’t happy it doesn’t matter how great a job you feel you did or how much work you did behind the scenes.

Do you assume your client’s reason for coming to you is to get them the cheapest rate?

According to’Consumers on Brokers’survey in the Mortgage Professional Australia Magazine (May 2015), the most popular reason for using a Mortgage Broker was ‘Help with the application’ (38% of respondents).

The next was ‘Access to specialist lenders’ (28%), followed by ‘the cheapest interest rate’ (25%).

So whilst you are working to get your clients the cheapest rate you can from your panel of lenders, and may feel you have then done a great job for them in this regard, you need to be aware that they are also largely judging you on how easy you made the process for them.

This can be very difficult for a Mortgage Broker as we rely so much on third parties that we do not control. Our role is to maximise the client’s chance of successfully getting a loan, and the chance of getting the lowest cost loan, whilst at the same time making it as easy a process for them as we can.

Easier said than done when there are a lot of moving parts and people out of our control.

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter

The best you can do is to provide the best service you can in terms of getting them a good loan, but also focus heavily on the communication you provide back to your clients throughout so they know you are their top priority. There is nothing worse a Broker can do than getting a loan underway and assuming your client knows you are on top of it. You need to be in frequent communication with them ensuring they know what you are doing for them, because when they don’t hear from you the message they do get is that you don’t care.

Even when everything goes perfectly in your eyes, that doesn’t mean your clients see it that way. Their expectations and understanding of what is happening may be completely different to yours. The concerns and issue they do have will likely go unspoken, unless you can establish open and honest communication with them.

I recall a refinance we organised for a client that settled within five weeks of their initial inquiry to us. The client was located interstate to the Broker so everything had to be handled remotely.

There were some delays as the client sent through blurry copies of documents and on two occasions we had to request clearer ones. Of course you never like to be bothering clients but we handled it as diplomatically as we could.

The final loan was the same one I had refinanced for myself recently and was substantially cheaper than their current rate or from any other lender on our panel. So I was very comfortable in saying we provided a great result in a reasonable timeframe.

Unfortunately, though, the client didn’t see it that way and went as far as making a COSL complaint that the refinance took too long. Looking at the client’s file I couldn’t see any errors made by us nor could I see anything in the communication from the Broker to the client that I would significantly change.

The end result was although we felt we had produced a good result, justified or not, the result was bad in the eyes of our clients. Yes, he was probably a difficult person prone to complain, but it is when people complain that you have an opportunity to learn where you can improve.

I take a couple of lessons from this:

  1. If this person would formally complain about a minor delayed situation like this when we had provided a great loan for them, how many don’t tell us they aren’t happy when we think they are?
  2. The client didn’t trust us enough beforehe started the loan process such that minor issues were able to develop to bigger ones. Our expectation of how things would unfold were quite different to his.