Brokers with the right attitude and approach will be well placed to ride out the storm, writes Choice CEO Stephen Moore
As COVID-19 continues to reshape life as we know it, brokers with the right attitude and a proactive approach will be well placed to ride out this storm, writes Choice Aggregation Services CEO Stephen Moore.
Who could have predicted 2020 would play out this way? The coronavirus has turned the world on its head. The devastation the virus has created, in both human lives and livelihoods, is hard to grasp and unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes.
But we will get through it. And our industry, which has proven its resilience time and time again, stands firm to endure this challenge. But it’s going to take adaptability. It’s going to take proactivity. And it’s going to take the right mindset.
A more important role than ever
The important role that brokers play in supporting Australians is set to come under the spotlight once again as we, as a country, navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Brokers are much loved by their customers and will continue to support them as they work through major life challenges. It is the broker who will help Australians find relief in the numerous hardship assistance packages available to them. In the first month of this crisis, we have seen firsthand the great work brokers are doing to support their clients during this time, and this honourable effort does not go unnoticed. In fact, the bonds that customers forge with their brokers during this challenge are likely to endure for many years.
Keeping close in a socially distant world
Brokers can no longer enjoy close contact with clients in a physical sense, but technology has become a lifeline in fostering and maintaining relationships and delivering great customer outcomes.
Choice is supporting brokers to imbed Skype and Zoom video conferencing into their businesses, and we are seeing brokers really start to use these tools well. While we can always pick up the phone for a quick conversation, taking that extra effort to set up a video call ensures that vital face-to-face element of the broker-customer relationship is kept, which we all know goes a long way to building trust and a closer rapport.
This is not a short-term adjustment
Rather than thinking about COVID-19 as a short-term disruption, Choice’s advice to brokers is to consider this a six-month adjustment at the very least. There are encouraging signs Australia has the virus under control, but it is highly likely we will need to change the way we live and work for a significant period; taking this long-term mindset and investing in new ways of operating is essential.
Technology has a key role to play in supporting broker businesses to look after their customers and for many brokers, developing skills and business processes which harness new technologies is something that has been on the ‘to-do’ list for some time. What we are finding is that COVID-19 is the catalyst for all of us to invest time into new resources, and it is a worthwhile investment.
Finding some quiet time and headspace to plan strategically is worthwhile and could significantly influence how you and your business emerge in a post-pandemic environment. A proactive approach can also help you feel more in control, which can have a powerful impact on your mindset in an uncertain environment.
Some questions I would encourage brokers to contemplate include:
- What technologies and tools do I want to master and really imbed into my business? For example, have you seamlessly integrated digital ID tools and electronic signatures into your business processes?
- What are some positive, long-term changes I can make that perhaps I’ve been putting off or that this crisis has helped me identify as opportunities? For example, are you making the most of your CRM functionality to ensure a smooth process for online applications, documentation and communication?
- What do you want your business to look like in the future? What are the steps you can take now to ensure your business endures – and flourishes – in both the 6-12 months to come and further down the track? Have you identified a gap in your service offering that you’d like to build out? Now is the time to review your business and ensure it’s future proofed.
Take care and be kind
Maintaining a positive mindset can be a challenge during such uncertainty and negative news reports. Remember to look after yourself and do what you can to remain positive – whether it’s regular exercise, meditation or just blocking out time away from your desk. And keep connected. We need to be looking after each other, and ourselves, now more than ever. Whether it’s by phone, text, email, FaceTime or Zoom, there are many ways we can still be interacting. And only by looking after your own wellbeing will you be able to look after the wellbeing of your customers.
If you’re needing a little encouragement and help to maintain a positive mindset during these turbulent times, take heart. In times of uncertainty there is a natural flight to those we trust, and the critical role that brokers play in supporting customers is really going to be apparent during the coming months.