If you think that your lender’s non-qm, super-jumbo or first-time buyer loan program is your Number 1 product, you would be wrong. The reality is your top product is the customer experience that your company delivers. Not too long ago, mortgage banking firms claimed the key to winning customers was to provide quality products or service. But things have changed. Customers wield all the power in their buying journey now due to the wealth of digital information available 24/7.
A customer’s experience is really defined by how borrowers perceive the company is treating them. According to noted business author T. Kulbte, “these perceptions affect the customer’s behaviors and builds memories and feelings that may drive their loyalty.” The question is how does the customer feel after every contact point with the company, whether it’s a phone call from a salesperson or email from an assistant? Each interaction reinforces a customer’s impressions and determines how likely he or she will be to recommend the company to friends or family. In today’s world, customers can make their opinions known about a company in an instant via online reviews. Unfavorable feedback in such a public forum can have a powerful ripple effect — one that extends far beyond the loss of a single customer to the borrower’s circle of relationships.
Whether it is online or offline, every customer contact point during the mortgage process must be executed with a higher standard in mind if a company is going to secure repeat business. Having a few below average performers involved in the sales process won’t work anymore. Hiring sales professionals with excellent customer service skills is more critical than ever because the customer will not tolerate a sub-par experience.
Whether it is a mobile app that does not work easily, an originator who doesn’t know the underwriting guidelines or a processor who is not friendly, companies can no longer provide a poor customer experience and expect to survive.<br><br>
In Clara Shih’s great book, The Social Business Imperative, she states that “customer experience has become so paramount that it is now the core pillar of the value proposition customers are buying. Because of the greater priority of customer experience, the salesperson must become a social sales professional and trusted sales advisor.”
According to Shih, “a social sales professional is comfortable engaging customers in person, on the phone or via social media.” Shih also states that “this new type of sales professional leverages technology to minimize administrative tasks. These individuals also make a habit of connecting with and maintaining quality relationships so that they can be personable on digital channels and build up trusted reviews and referrals.”
This is a tall order for companies, Frankly, the old methods of sales talent selection and recruiting must change. A standard of recruiting C players (producers who generate 2 to 3 units) and hoping that a lender’s LOS/ CRM systems will transform them into 7- or 8-unit producers is wishful thinking.( I can’t tell you how many times I encounter this thinking from sales executives.)
Today’s mortgage professionals need to possess not just relationship and drive skills but an expertise and comfort level with social media skills. As Shih argues, this isn’t just a nice to have skill set anymore, but a requirement if a company wants to deliver a superior customer experience and high level of interaction. There is no place anymore for sales professionals who can’t engage with customers in a social media environment.