Jacqueline Dewey is chief executive of Smart Money People

Much like in our day-to-day personal lives and how we’ve kept in touch with each other, the interaction model between business development managers (BDMs) and brokers has had to change over the last two years.

In our latest edition of our Mortgage Lender Benchmark overall broker satisfaction with BDMs was 77.3%, a level that has remained fairly static since the end of 2020.

At Smart Money People we wanted to understand how, with the fast adoption of different technologies and communication methods, brokers wanted to have a relationship with BDMs going forward, and in their eyes who was doing it well. Our latest Mortgage Lender Benchmark Report for H2 2021 explored this aspect in more detail.

How brokers prefer to contact their BDM:

· 59% telephone

· 41% virtual

· 38% face-to-face

· 35% email

Our research found that telephone is by far brokers preferred channel of contact with their BDMs, with virtual channels (e.g. zoom) their second choice.

Brokers told us face-to-face is not essential, but the response shows us that it’s clear that they prefer ‘voice communication’ to non-personal channels with email the least preferred option. However, they are happy to use email in combination with telephony, with 28% of brokers selecting this combination.

What important to brokers in their relationship with BDMs?

Our research found that being able to choose how they contact a BDM is the most common theme mentioned by brokers for those lenders who they rate top for BDM contact, with over 36% of brokers mentioning this.

“He will offer face to face but just as happy to do Zoom or phone.”

29% of the comments we received showed that brokers want to manage the level of contact, valuing that their BDM is there to help when needed and provides timely, appropriate updates but importantly, isn’t hassling them or spamming them with emails.

“They are there if we need them, quickly, and don’t hassle us for useless meetings that really only benefit their KPIs and are pointless for us.”

Responding quickly is the third key theme our brokers highlight, with over 24% of broker comments highlighting this. Brokers want to know that they can rely on the BDM to come back to them in an appropriate timescale to resolve the query or provide the necessary information.

“Our BDM is 100% reliable, always answers phone calls, doesn’t hit overkill with contact and biggest plus doesn’t ask the ridiculous question

“Have you got any other cases on your desk I can help with” at the end of a phone call.”

“Our BDM is brilliant. Always comes back to you asap, if you ever miss him, which in itself is rare, he will call you straight back.”

So what does this mean for the future of BDMS?

Over the last two years we have seen lenders mix up their strategy for BDMs, with some lenders downsizing or removing their BDM roles, or shifting to a combination of head office and on the road teams.

However what our research has shown us is that brokers continue to value the relationship with their BDMs and they continue to play an important role in the experience brokers have with a lender.