Mortgage sales professionals know that capturing repeat and referral business from previous customers is essential for long-term success. When selling to former borrowers, the cost of acquisition is much lower than marketing to attract new customers. So, what does it take to keep customers coming back and referring their family and friends?
Simply put, lenders and originators must deliver an excellent customer experience. While this sounds straightforward, it’s not necessarily easy. According to Black Knight’s recent research, 80% of borrowers don’t go back to their original lender for future home loan financing needs.
This percentage should be alarming to mortgage managers across the board because it means that the sales force must continuously replace their pipeline with new customers. This difficult task is even harder if originators are order-takers without the skills to generate new loan demand.
As we move into a tougher purchase money mortgage market, sales leaders must make improving customers’ experience a top priority if they want to remain relevant. To complicate matters, managers and the front-line sales staff often define “great customer experience” differently. Typically, closing on time is the key metric used to determine whether a borrower will come back to a lender. While closing on time is an important driver of customer satisfaction, it is expected by borrowers and isn’t enough to guarantee repeat or referral business.
To truly wow a customer, lenders need to broaden their perspective and ensure that they are delivering excellent service at every customer touchpoint by all parties involved in the transaction – from originators and processors to closers.
To provide a high level of service consistently throughout an organization, lenders must establish benchmarks so employees know what is expected. Without uniform service requirements in place, customer service is left to chance – a risky predicament when so much future business is at stake.
Poor customer satisfaction isn’t just a mortgage industry problem. It seems to be everywhere. While lenders and companies say “the customer is king,” the reality is often far from it.
My recent experience with a financial institution underscores how clueless companies can be when handling current customers. I was interested in financing my car that is coming off lease. Roughly one third of all vehicles sold in the U.S. are leased so it is a common practice. I called my bank to get financing information. I had to give my checking account number to the representative and they promised to call me back. Two days later, someone finally contacted me with their current interest rates. When I told the person that I have CDs with the bank, they said that did not matter. Even though this financial institution has a great slogan regarding service, they couldn’t prove it by me. I would rate them an F and I have a 20-year relationship with them! This is a perfect example of a bank that markets one way and fails to deliver when a customer actually calls them.
What is a Great Customer Experience?
Financial marketing experts have defined “a great customer experience” as an interaction that is personalized, timely, relevant, seamless and remarkable. Over the course of a transaction, consumers may be speaking to several employees until it is finalized. This means that every employee must be trained on what to say and how to deliver a personalized experience to individuals who have numerous lenders from which to choose.
No question this is a tall order in a world characterized by extreme competition and out-of-control expenses. Add to that legacy computer systems, talent issues and increased competition from non-banks and fin techs and lenders are facing multiple challenges on a number of fronts.
But, according to Deloitte\’s recent 2022 global banking and capital markets outlook, “banks are at a make-or-break moment, the window for decisive action is closing soon.”
The report noted, “Now, more than ever, banks should be bold and aggressive in orchestrating change at the pace and scale that will drive results.”
I couldn’t agree more.