The Solution to Poor Online Customer Reviews

Patricia Sherlock

During my training classes, I always ask students to check online ratings to see how borrowers feel about their lender’s customer experience. I also review a lender’s Glassdoor ratings to gain insight on employees’ experience with a company. I was curious whether borrower ratings were similar to employee ratings or not. Did consumer ratings correlate with employee ratings? If so, how?

Here’s what I found: For many lenders, consumer and employee ratings were very similar. For example, if customers rated the lender a 3 out of a possible 5, Glassdoor employee ratings typically followed suit, deeming the lender average.

This does not surprise me because during my training sessions with employees, the lender’s real company culture often becomes evident. Lenders might say they have a positive employee environment but anonymous ratings reveal the truth.

Employees Drive Customer Experience

While mortgage executives regularly discuss the importance of delivering an excellent customer experience, I would argue that engaging employees first should be part of any successful sales strategy. Front-line employees who have frequent contact with borrowers are the drivers of great customer service. Most senior leaders believe that’s the originator’s job but in my opinion, any employee who interacts with a consumer bears that responsibility as well.

If lenders want repeat and referral business, every employee in the organization must be focused on providing the best customer interaction possible, whether they’re communicating by phone or email.

This is more than knowing investor guidelines and closing on time. Those are bare minimums to meet customer expectations. How lenders, originators and support staff make borrowers feel is what generates repeat and referral business.

Study after study has shown that engaged employees who routinely delight borrowers go above and beyond with every transaction. Too often, non-engaged employees will pass the buck and direct customers to processing, underwriting or back to the originator to resolve an issue. Who loses in this saga? The lender! Consumers will not tolerate poor service when there are so many other mortgage banking firms they can choose to do business with.

In today’s ultra-competitive lending environment, keeping employees engaged should be a top priority for mortgage banking companies. Better employee engagement translates to better customer experience. This is not rocket science. Yes, it’s common sense but it’s important for management teams to understand that optimizing employee performance takes much more than an annual sales rally. Ongoing training and employee development are essential for any lender’s long-term sales success.

Employer’s Engagement Maturity Rating Survey Results

Recently, Temkin Group rated 100 large corporations according to employee engagement competency and the results were shocking. Here’s what they discovered.

Temkin Group assessed employee engagement maturity at the top 100 corporations according to five levels from “damaging” to “maximizing.” The percentages are below:

Level 5. Damaging: 12%

Level 4. Neglecting: 39%

Level 3. Maintaining: 26%

Level 2. Enhancing: 19%

Level 1. Maximizing: 4%

A majority of companies (77%) received stable to negative ratings. Only 23% received a positive classification. It’s no surprise that customers likely feel the same way.

As senior executives finalize strategies to succeed in 2022, now is the time to level up employee engagement to maximize repeat and referral business amid a tougher marketplace.

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