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Unbiased advisers under pressure to cut response time

Unbiased advisers under pressure to cut response time

Unbiased has installed a rating system on its website to help consumers see how quickly advisers usually respond to enquiries. 

Rather than being scored by consumers, the Response Rating, which is out of 10, will be generated automatically to try to give an objective and accurate assessment.

Every adviser starts on a level playing field with a 7 out of 10 rating, which they have to maintain or improve by ensuring they check their enquiries daily, and either accept enquiries they want to follow up or reject those that are not suitable.

According to the adviser directory, this system will help ensure that enquiries are matched more quickly with a professional.

Consumers will also be able to see which advisers are more likely to respond in good time, which Unbiased said could help them make a decision about which adviser to contact.

Michael Ossei, head of adviser product and services at Unbiased, said: “In today’s world, when people want something, they want it as soon as possible. 

“Online services of all kinds have risen to this challenge, such that consumers now expect a rapid response with minimal waiting.” 

Mr Ossei said some consumers has complained that advisers were taking too long to respond or said they had not heard back from advisers at all, with some thinking it was Unbiased's website that was to blame.

“Out of the 18,000 advisers, some of them do take a long time to respond which isn’t always their fault because they are busy,” he said, pointing out that some were just waiting for enquiries to expire after 12 hours rather than rejecting the request.

Last year, Unbiased overhauled its website by giving consumers the option to be matched automatically with a number of suitable advisers, which Mr Ossei said had reduced waiting times. 

“The Response Rating feature builds on that progress by encouraging some positive yet simple behaviours from advisers who list with us. 

“By encouraging more of our advisers to check their messages daily, we should see not just faster but more accurate matches,” he said, pointing out that fewer enquiries will be allowed to expire.

But the head of adviser products said advisers’ attitude to the new rating system was split, with some concerned that this centred on how quick advisers were, rather than the quality of the advice they give.

Mr Ossei said all the recent changes to the website are there to strike a balance between advisers and consumers, adding: “What advisers want is clients, and consumers want professionals who can answer their needs.

He pointed out that more than 1.3 million consumers visit the website every a year.

“We have got a lot of consumers that need a good service, and without them these professional businesses wouldn’t exist.”