The Mortgage Advice Bureau is the UK’s leading mortgage intermediary brand. With over 1,600 advisers across the UK, they offer expert mortgage advice on a local, regional and national level to UK consumers.Read The Story
Availability API, Enterprise Connect
“We've been so impressed with Cronofy. They showed us how easy it was to achieve all the functionality we needed with their tools, whereas when we assessed other providers, they were unsure how to meet all of our requirements."
The Mortgage Advice Bureau was founded in 2000 by CEO Peter Brodnicki, with a mission to provide a specialist network to intermediaries working with UK independent estate agents.
Fast-forward to where they are today; they’ve become the leading mortgage network as well as the UK’s most recognized intermediary consumer brand, winning over 150 national awards for the quality of its advice and service. They have over 1,600 advisers working for them, handling over £16 billion of loans annually.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau covers all aspects of property-related lending including schemes such as Help to Buy, Buy-to-Let, and Affordable Housing schemes, and searches thousands of mortgage deals to find the right one for the customers' needs.
The ambitious company already has an extensive portfolio of UK-based operations, and has recently opened an office in Australia as part of their expansion plans.
An important part of a mortgage advisers’ role is to optimally manage their calendars, using their time strategically and fitting clients in where they can. The issue was, the Mortgage Advice Bureau had outgrown the processes being used to organize their escalating number of appointments. An adviser would traditionally have to engage in email back-and-forth or pick-up the phone to find a time to meet a client. This process was wasting precious time for both the client and the adviser, creating a poor customer experience and losing business for the Mortgage Advice Bureau. This was something the team wanted to change - buying a house is already stressful enough, and securing a mortgage is very time-sensitive.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau’s software development team responded by focusing on building a platform that would improve the customer experience and connect them to advisers faster. This needed to cater to all three of their customer types: the end customer who was looking for advice, the adviser, and the introducer who would usually be an independent estate agent or builder.
To complicate matters further, their advisers work over many independent mortgage firms, all needing to keep data and information separate from one another. By nature, the platform had to be multi-tenanted, which makes the task of creating a scheduling solution that was accessible to everyone extremely complex.
“We've got quite a complicated use case where we have a lot of tenants, so we have to keep things separate. And because we wanted to have all three of our customer types be able to book appointments, it was ruled out very quickly that we were to do everything ourselves with that system because we were already going to have to bespoke a lot of it.”
Richard Betteridge | Solutions Architect
They concluded that they would look for a company that offered booking system technology that could be integrated into their new platform. Now it was just a case of finding the right fit.
They shopped around for a scheduling solution company that could provide what they needed, most of which met one or two of their requirements but fell short of the full list. A particular challenge they found was with security and privacy. As the Mortgage Advice Bureau deals with thousands of clients’ sensitive financial data, they’re FCA-regulated and must meet their governing standards. Many of the tools the team looked at didn’t meet the level of security they required. When they found Cronofy it was a different story.
Following a discussion and demo, it was clear Cronofy could deliver everything the Mortgage Advice Bureau needed. A crucial deciding factor was the privacy and security certifications Cronofy holds. The team stressed the importance of this; as they deal with thousands of clients’ sensitive financial data, they’re regulated by the FCA and must meet their governing standards. They found that Cronofy’s level of security measures was unmatched by any of the alternatives they had considered.
“Compliance for us is a big thing. We have our own compliance department, and because we have to work with the FCA, we have to provide a certain level of security for everybody. Cronofy was able to meet these needs where others couldn’t.”
Richard Betteridge | Solutions Architect
After assessing the Mortgage Advice Bureau’s requirements, it was decided Cronofy’s availability API combined with its Enterprise Connect functionality was the perfect fit. This solution puts the scheduling power in the customer’s hands. A client can look into the calendars of not just one but multiple advisers to see who is available at their preferred time. This functionality wasn’t offered by any of the other vendors they looked at, and hugely improved the likelihood of a customer finding an appointment quickly at a time that was convenient for them. The API also integrates seamlessly with all major email providers, for easy appointment scheduling no matter which platform the customer uses.
Although most advisers work primarily from one office, many do move around and therefore need to be able to book appointments for other locations. Cronofy was able to set up rules so even if an adviser was working from a different office than they usually did, their calendars would still be blocked out. No danger of double-booking mishaps.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau needed a solution that could connect the calendars of their 1,600-strong network of advisers without jeopardising security. Usually this would be a huge task for the IT team to manage, and each adviser would need to authorise access individually. Enterprise Connect solves this problem with ease. This tool just needs authentication from one service account and all the calendars within the business are synced. The IT team only has to manage this one service account rather than that of an entire workforce. Enterprise Connect also makes data security tighter than ever. The permissions can be changed to restrict access as much as a business needs, which was ideal for the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
As with any business dealing with money, there needs to be a level of trust established between customer and provider. The human element of the advice process must be upheld; people don’t want money advice from a robot. The Mortgage Advice Bureau needed automations that would enhance rather than detract from their interactions with customers, allowing the relationship and advice to sit center-stage. Cronofy’s integrations allow the advisers to dedicate more time to the customer and their needs.
It only took the team three months to launch the initial release of the entire new system with the new Cronofy scheduling capabilities embedded into it. The team rolled out the system in phases, and now over a third of the firms the Mortgage Advice Bureau works with use it. The solution has received a resoundingly positive response; clients are happy as they’re being seen quicker, and advisers save time on tedious admin work while upholding rigorous security standards.
Their Cronofy integrations have been able to scale with the business without any issue. The Mortgage Advice Bureau deals with billions of pounds worth of loans, so their solution needed to handle that amount of data while never compromising on security.
“We have had no problems with scaling. Our system is all configured so that if we encounter higher volumes, it automatically scales. And as we've been throwing more traffic at Cronofy, it hasn't had a detrimental impact on anything. So that's good because obviously, we get a lot of traffic; we’ve processed thousands of loans. So that's a lot of information.”
Richard Betteridge | Solutions Architect
As the new system has made scheduling simpler than ever and has saved advisers substantial time from their day, the business has grown and taken on more clients. Since June last year, the company has booked over 6,000 appointments, with the frequency of these bookings increasing each month as more people are put into the system.
The company uses an Net Promoter Score to measure the functionality of its entire platform. Due to the improvement in the booking system, with its ease of use and multiple features, their last recorded NPS was 64, which places the platform within the ‘excellent’ category.
At the crux of this project was the thing that everyone wants more of: time. Advisers needed more time to focus on their clients, and their previous processes were detracting from the relationship-building stage between adviser and client. Cronofy aims to save substantial time on admin through automation, and the Mortgage Advice Bureau wasn’t disappointed. The average time an adviser spent on finding a customer the right mortgage and protection offerings was previously around 10 hours – after implementing the new system, this has been slashed to under half of that time. Getting appointments booked faster with Cronofy has played a big part in this acceleration.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau is currently launching their services in Australia. As Cronofy provides a key functionality for Mortage Advice Bureau, they will also need to embed scheduling in the Australian version of their platform. Cronofy has multiple data centers, including one in Australia, meaning the team can launch the platform there without issue. The data is completely secure and hosted in the region, which is important to meet their regulatory requirements. Cronofy will continue supporting the business as it expands, creating a smooth and streamlined scheduling experience for everyone.