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10 Unbiased myths busted

At Unbiased we like to have an open dialogue with the professionals and consumers who use our platform to offer and receive quality advice.

There have been a number of myths circulating about our service, so we’d like to take the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions.

Myth 1: Unbiased sells each enquiry to more than one adviser

We do not sell enquiries to more than one adviser and only one adviser can purchase each enquiry. We also take additional steps to prevent multiple enquiries being sent through our system, by blocking consumers from submitting the same enquiry for a set length of time.

On the rare occasion where a consumer has not heard from an adviser who has accepted their enquiry, they may decide to submit another enquiry. We ask advisers to communicate with consumers within an hour of accepting the enquiry, as many of our users are looking to speak to an adviser as soon as possible. Although we advise consumers that they will be put in touch with an adviser within 48 hours, we cannot guarantee that they will wait that length of time or that they will not seek advisers through other channels.

These occurrences are not frequent, but nevertheless, we continually review our processes, and both consumer and professional behaviours, to ensure that all who use our service receive the best experience possible.

Myth 2: Unbiased sells the consumer enquiry to any adviser willing to buy it

Through our platform, our advisers are given the ability to set criteria for their area of expertise and the type of consumer needs they are seeking to fulfil.

If a consumer asks to be matched with an adviser, then our matching algorithm analyses their needs to provide them with the most suitable fit - looking at their advice requirements, their location and the adviser’s strengths.

Myth 3: Consumers are put in touch with someone instead of picking them

Our service seeks to offer choice to both consumers and advisers. We offer consumers the choice between selecting an adviser from our directory and being matched with an adviser most suited to their needs. Some people are more comfortable with choosing an adviser themselves, while others find it difficult to select the right adviser from a list and require more guidance around who would be the best match. Both these journeys are optimised to ensure the highest number of connections between consumers and advisers.

We aim to give people the confidence they need to make important financial decisions and providing both options offers people more choice and confidence when seeking advice. 

Myth 4: Unbiased recently changed its homepage to signpost customers to its match service over the directory

As with any site, it is important to improve usability and ensure visitors find the information they need quickly and easily on any device. Many users do not enter our site via our homepage, but reach us directly via adviser profiles, tools or content pages.

We are currently running A/B tests on the homepage, which is standard practice for site optimisation. Naturally, some of our advisers will see the test homepage while many of our visitors will continue to land on the usual homepage. No tests are permanent; you may see other test variations over time and we are always striving to improve the experience for both consumers and professionals. If a test is proven to improve the overall experience then it may become permanent.

Myth 5: Unbiased is opaque in the way enquiries are distributed and the “fastest finger first” issue it creates

Unbiased looks to give consumers a choice in how they find their adviser, whether it is through the directory or the matching service. This is also true of advisers who can choose to accept enquiries from the marketplace or the matching service, or a combination of both. There is no mystery in this process and it is simply about offering choice.

Our algorithm searches for the advisers best matched to the consumer enquiry based on their preferences. The enquiry is then distributed to a random selection of these best-matched advisers, ensuring no single adviser is ever always first or always last in the process of selection, helping to ensure that distribution remains as unbiased as possible.

We advise all our advisers of the need to respond as quickly as possible to client enquiries. The longer an enquiry is kept waiting for a response, the greater the risk of losing that client. The algorithms in place are there to ensure that the enquiry remains as warm as possible and that the enquiry is taken up as soon as it is submitted. The process, therefore, works for the benefit of both the consumer and the adviser.

Myth 6: Quality of enquiries are poor this year vs 2019  

We have considerably increased our marketing budgets to reach a wider audience, educating even more people on the value of advice, allowing us to open the advice market to a wider audience with varying degrees of wealth to further satisfy our professional subscribers’ needs. 

As a result, we have seen an uplift in overall enquiry numbers across a broader level of wealth to ensure all consumers have access to quality advice that’s right for them.

Professionals can specify their preferred wealth requirements on their adviser profiles, and our matching service ensures that consumers of a certain wealth threshold are matched only with an adviser looking to advise clients within that threshold. We recommend advisers login to their accounts regularly to check and update their selections.

We allow consumers to input their advice needs and wealth information to inform our matching service and are continually reviewing this process to ensure the information provided is of the highest possible quality. 

Myth 7: The relationship with sites like Top Cashback have resulted in an increase in dud enquiries

We use a large number of channels to drive customer enquiries, and partner relationships have included Top Cashback. However, over 99.9% of our enquiries come from other channels outside of these partnerships. With Top Cashback, we have only offered cash back to customers who have had their enquiry accepted by an adviser, therefore, allowing us to control the quality and ensure that we aren’t giving rewards to poor customers. Since then we have reviewed our partnerships, and from July will no longer be working with companies such as Top Cashback.

Myth 8: It is harder contacting customers this year vs 2019

Unbiased provides guidance to both professionals and consumers on best practices for working together. It is important that both parties are respectful of each other's time and honour any communication arrangement.

We ask advisers to contact consumers within an hour after accepting the enquiry as the consumer will be more likely to answer when called. The longer the consumer is kept waiting for a call after the match, the greater the chance of them thinking that a call may not be coming at all. This is not a good experience for the consumer or the professional.

Although we encourage good practice as much as possible, unfortunately, we have no control over the relationship once the connection is made. Despite this being the case, we still seek to assist both parties where possible.

Myth 9: The level of wealth indicated by consumers is not accurate

Many of our consumers will seek to provide the information on their level of wealth as accurately as possible. Not all consumers will have a handle on this information (in some cases it is the very reason why they wish to speak to an adviser). As a business, we aim to make financial advice accessible to all people across a range of wealth levels. There will naturally be those who are less savvy when it comes to the details of their wealth, as well as those who understand their status well.

Myth 10: Unbiased dominates the market in the way Facebook does social media, and Google does online search. They have a responsibility towards advisers, planners and consumers. 

Unbiased is market-leading at promoting advice to consumers and is one of many businesses in an extremely competitive market making it uncomparable to multi-billion dollar businesses such as Facebook and Google that are monopolies. Our service seeks to enhance what our customers do, but at a greater scale and speed than they could achieve themselves. We offer a complete solution of brand awareness, pipeline management and business expansion in one place – ensuring that our benefits go far beyond lead generation.

We always remember we have a very serious responsibility to our advisers, our consumers, and the market generally:

  1. We are called Unbiased because we choose not to work with advisers and companies that are biased in the products they offer to consumers. We reject 1 in every 4 of companies who try to sign up. This is real revenue that Unbiased is not willing to take in order to ensure that consumers get the best impartial advice from professionals who are aligned with our values.
  2. We require professional & regulatory qualifications to be declared by advisers including, FCA numbers, which are verified against the FCA database every week. We also have a validation process set up with professional bodies and continue to look for ways to improve this process with them.
  3. We always welcome the opportunity to work more closely with professional bodies and industry leaders to improve standards of service to our advisers and consumers.

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