Every year, tens of thousands of UK homeowners take out a mortgage with Barclays. More than 60 percent of these mortgages are arranged via external brokers. A pioneering community platform, built on Salesforce Communities, helps Barclays forge deeper relationships with these brokers — all 16,000 of them. “Our community platform will fundamentally transform how we engage with mortgage brokers and our customers,” comments Steve Weston, CEO of Barclays Mortgages. “We are not turning the dial slightly, we are turning it right up.” From interest rate calculators and knowledge articles to mortgage application updates and online chats, the community platform will provide brokers with everything they need for doing business with Barclays. “Our broker community is the first of its kind in the market,” comments Jackie Uhi, UK Managing Director for Barclays Mortgages. “Brokers will no longer have to search in different places for information; there will just be one platform — and it will be accessible from any device.”
Making life easier for its broker was the key driver behind the new community, which went live with a pilot group of users in May 2015. “Having great products and great people is not enough in today’s competitive marketplace,” explains Weston. “Mortgage brokers are pressed for time; they want to work with lenders that help, not hinder their business.”
Although Barclays had an existing portal for its intermediary mortgage business, it did not provide brokers with a seamless experience. As well as having to log on to multiple systems with different passwords, some core tasks, such as checking the progress of a customer’s mortgage application, could only be done by phone.
Brokers’ lack of access to information became evident when Barclays’ mortgages business fell behind its competitors in terms of its Net Promoter Score (the industry measurement of customer loyalty). “We listened to the feedback from our broker community, and joined forces with Salesforce to create something that’s unique,” comments Uhi.
Barclays already had a history of using Salesforce CRM within its intermediary business. In 2013, it deployed Sales Cloud to track its broker relationships and the volume and type of mortgage deals being arranged. “This project has joined up the dots. It’s enabled us to bring everything into a system that we already trust and take it to a new level,” adds Uhi.
The broker community is founded on Community Cloud and Service Cloud, which have been customised using Force.com to enable single sign-on, a responsive design and cross-platform support.
“Salesforce takes our ideas and translates them into something that’s sustainable, usable, and efficient,” comments Sidney Wager, Intermediary Partnerships Director for Barclays Mortgages. “It doesn’t just help us deliver on time, but ahead of time.”
Speed is critical to Barclays’ competitive advantage, with both digitisation and the mortgage market moving at a rapid pace. “Speed is the new currency of business,” Uhi explains. “We needed to develop the community platform and bring it to market in a very short timeframe; I am overwhelmed at just how quickly we achieved this with Salesforce’s help.”
Velocity isn’t the only priority for Barclays; it also has a reputation for innovation. The broker community is the latest in a long line of firsts for the bank, including the world’s first cash machine and the UK’s first debit card.
“We are leading the digital charge and working hard to ensure that the communities we serve are not left behind,” comments Weston. “The community platform will help us take our brokers on that same digitisation journey.”
Thanks to the new platform, brokers will have immediate access to information, whether they are using their smartphone on a train or a laptop in a customer meeting.
“The status of every mortgage application will now be visible via the broker community,” reveals Wager. “Mortgages are not a commodity; we are facilitating a customer’s life and dreams, and the broker experience is fundamental to that.”
Brokers will also be able to use the community to get advice on mortgage applications, view new products, connect with their Barclays relationship manager, schedule tasks, confirm commission payments, and track lending trends.
“The community platform gives brokers everything they need in the palm of their hands,” adds Wager. “Everything about their relationship with Barclays will be in one place. As mortgage products become increasingly vanilla, it will be our quality of service that differentiates us.”
As well as helping brokers, the hub will enable Barclays to better understand its mortgage business and develop competitive products that meet the needs of its customers. “The dialogue between our relationship managers and brokers is going to change dramatically; instead of talking about obstacles, they will be able to talk about opportunities, for example how to optimise lead generation sources,” reveals Weston. The platform, which will also be used by members of the bank’s staff, will be rolled out across Barclays’ broker community over the coming months. “We need to keep our business fresh to survive: we celebrate our 325th anniversary in 2015, which makes us older than the Bank of England and even the United States of America,” says Weston. “With Salesforce, we will be able to evolve faster and smarter, and lead the way in changing how banks engage with their customers.”