Fears of broker-replacing tech unfounded

by Miklos Bolza10 Jul 2017
While rapid technological change will never completely eliminate the need for brokers, there is a need to adapt to the ever-shifting sands of the current environment, the head of one online brokerage has warned.

“The threat is from changing consumer demands that are forcing brokers to adopt technology,” Viktor Desovski, director of mybrokeronline.com.au, told Australian Broker.

“Technology is improving the customer experience and is now complementing the finance journey. The digital landscape allows consumers to get more satisfaction in real-time about their situation and is a faster way to provide that service.”

The change currently occurring across all industries is designed to support those who adopt new technologies and eliminate those who ignore them, he said.

However, Desovski said that fears of technology completely removing the broker from the lending equation are unfounded.

“The platform has to be executed correctly and the consumer has to want to use it entirely on their own for the whole process. In our experience, most people use technology to research and compile the facts yet still want someone to cross-check that information with them.

“Removing the broker and connecting lender and borrower directly through technology relies on the assumption that the consumer knows or understands the terminology and complex lending structures they’re dealing with. Some people will be fine with that but others will want a professional to look at their loans and get advice.”

Desovski said there were three reasons why brokers will be around for the long-term regardless of advances in technology:
  • Brokers with experience in a range of clients and scenarios can make insights that technology may miss
  • Brokers can take into consideration information that the client does not know and then educate them
  • While technology may be able to offer a solution, it may not be the optimal solution for the client
“There is always going to be a small part of the market who know what they want and understand it and who may choose those newer technologies. But they’re not the majority of the market which is why I don’t think that the broker is at risk of going extinct.”

Assisted self-service

To keep up with these tech advancements, Desovski recommended brokers adopt an ‘assisted self-service’ model designed to meet client support needs amidst changing demands.

“It means giving the client easy access to valued information through real-time, proactive notifications alongside assisted service from highly skilled brokers giving relevant education and advice. The key in this model is that it relies on the broker-client relationship as a major component of the finance journey.”

Additional tools can be used to help the client self-service their journey, he said. For instance, online loan applications can be done in real-time when convenient for the customer or e-signatures can do away with faxing or posting documents.

“It’s improving the customer experience as they use the tools that are relevant to them at that point in time. It’s not about removing the broker; it’s about collaborating through the platform.”

Making connections

mybrokeronline.com.au has built software around this assisted self-service model which clients can access through the website itself. The firm is also partnering with aggregators and lenders to deliver an end-to-end process. This extends from the front-end tools that brokers use to the back-end platforms for aspects like loan processing.

“We use the platform to collaborate and interact within this whole journey from the front-end to the broker and then to the back-end. That whole journey is seamless to the customer and allows us to scale and offer a frictionless customer experience,” Desovski said.

The improved website will let brokers offer better advice and interact with clients in real-time while also containing additional digital offerings such as document upload tools and video conferencing facilities.

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