For Agostino Tuzi (pictured) and HomeEquity Bank, the customer experience has always been a critical part of building a successful relationship.
In fact, said Tuzi – the company’s national partnership director, mortgage brokers, and a panel host at the upcoming Canadian Mortgage Awards – that relationship with customers and partners has taken on an even greater significance in recent years, not least because of advancements in technology driving the mortgage process.
Those digital leaps forward, Tuzi said, mean that customers now have more choice than ever in searching for their mortgage, with the onus on brokers to elevate their service and provide insight and commitment that technology couldn’t.
“People are now more educated than ever,” he said. “Compared to 20-30 years ago, many will now go online for their mortgage. That’s why it’s critical that as a mortgage professional you bring to the table all the best options for your client.
“Mortgage professionals have to make sure, whatever that option is, that all the heavy lifting is done by the broker, and that they leave the client with a very positive feeling about the experience.”
Tuzi described the mortgage agent as the customer’s “problem solver,” a role that requires complete focus and attention on clients’ issues. “The most successful brokers put the client at the centre of their universe,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the transaction is: more often than not, a client has a problem that needs to be solved.
“That could be buying a house, and needing financing; a refinance to consolidate debt; or a reverse mortgage, like HomeEquity provides. There’s a client at the end of each that needs to solve a problem.
“If [the mortgage broker] can alleviate stress from that client and make that process as smooth as possible, then they’ve done their job.”
Not only will the customer leave with a positive impression of their interaction with a broker; they can also help generate further business for that broker through referrals and recommendations. “If they leave feeling good, they’re going to talk to their partners, their neighbours and their friends,” said Tuzi.
With that in mind, Tuzi said it was important to focus on more than just the bottom line in dealing with clients. “Lenders and businesspeople are in the business of trying to make a profit; however, if that is the only focus, more often than not it doesn’t end well,” he said.
How to maximize relationships with customers and deliver exceptional service will be just two of the topics on the table during a panel discussion, hosted by Tuzi, to coincide with the HomeEquity Bank Award for Outstanding Customer Service by an Individual Office at the upcoming Canadian Mortgage Awards (set to take place on April 29).
Tuzi said that the discussion would centre around each panelist’s approach to delivering excellent customer service, particularly during the disruption and turbulence of the past year. “Traditionally, mortgage brokers have relied on that face-to-face interaction, whether with their referral sources or their end clients,” he said.
“For the most part, it’s been eliminated. I’m going to pose the question: ‘How have you been able to succeed from a customer experience perspective with the challenges posed by that new reality?’”
The discussion, he said, would give leading figures in the industry the chance to elaborate on their approach to customer experience, and how they build it into their overall strategy – with viewers also set to glean some valuable pieces of information.
“Personally, I’m a firm believer that you can learn a lot from people that are doing things well,” he said. “Anybody who’s listening to the discussion can really learn what they need to do, and see how they can improve or re-evaluate their own approach.
“Whether they’re a broker that’s new to the industry that can learn from an experienced broker, or someone that’s been in the business for a little while and are looking to grow their client base, every broker at every experience level can take something away from this.”
The big day is getting nearer. Make sure to register in advance for the Canadian Mortgage Awards on April 29, and stay turned to Mortgage Broker News for all the buildup and news ahead of the mortgage industry’s biggest event of the year.