How brokers can use live chat to play into the hands of digital-savvy consumers

When looking to appoint an expert – be it a plumber, gardener or professional advisor – we tend to ask friends and family for suggestions.

How brokers can use live chat to play into the hands of digital-savvy consumers

Louise Wilson is head of the finance sector at Moneypenny

When looking to appoint an expert – be it a plumber, gardener or professional adviser – we tend to ask friends and family for suggestions.

When it comes to mortgage brokers though, it seems that web-based research has overtaken word-of-mouth advice for the first time.

According to figures from specialist lender, Pepper Money, 57% of people said they would go online to find a broker, while just 37% said they would rely on advice from people they trust – a complete U-turn on last year’s survey, when over half said they would choose a broker on the basis of a referral.

I am unsurprised by the data, but it’s clear that brokers must adapt in order to reap the potential rewards this shift in consumer habit presents.

We were digitally savvy before the pandemic, but now the nation is researching and spending even more time online.

Our propensity to share experiences about the businesses we’ve sought advice or bought products from, means that the internet has essentially taken the role of referrer.

For brokers, this presents a huge opportunity. If more people will choose a broker based on what they see online – brokers must ensure they present a positive, professional and engaging first impression on their websites.

A tool that’s increasingly used by brokers to enhance their digital presence and generate more leads is live chat – which Moneypenny provides to hundreds of businesses within the financial services industry.

Live chat can significantly strengthen the sales pipeline and transform brokers’ relationships with their prospects and clients.

The technology improves website engagement by 600% and helps to stimulate conversations that turn web visitors into prospects.

It also performs as a helpful website concierge to cut out the noise of a busy, content-heavy site and direct visitors directly to the pages they need.

This saves visitors time and reduces the risk of them getting frustrated if they can’t find what they want and taking valuable potential business elsewhere.

Part of the value of live chat is that it can stimulate engagement from people who wouldn’t ordinarily pick up the phone – be that because they haven’t got time, they’re not committed to that level of engagement, or they simply prefer other more text-based and immediate channels (often the case with younger mortgage customers).

The ability to ask questions and engage with a person in real time delivers immense value as it makes a broker’s commitment to client care and accessibility demonstrable. It also gives brokers an extra opportunity to engage with enquirers and nudge them over the line.

Live chat pop-ups can be used across different webpages to start relevant, proactive conversations with personalised auto-prompts such as “Are you a first time buyer?” and “Are you looking for help with equity release?”.

It also affords brokers the ability to be available outside of the traditional 9-5 – a necessity in light of the pandemic changing our collective working hours and routines.

37% of our chats occur outside the 9-5, a figure that has increased since lockdown began. Live chat can be managed 24/7/365 to ensure that every opportunity is captured, and website ROI is improved.

When you consider that 35% of live chat engagements lead to a new enquiry and clients are increasingly making their broker decisions online – live chat is a very worthwhile and timely investment.

For brokers keen to protect their client experience, convert more leads and bring brand values to life, live chat is an important communications channel and is becoming almost a hygiene factor for many clients – can you afford not to provide it?