Customer service is no longer centered around the adage, “the customer is always right.” Instead, it involves delivering a novel experience that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Makes mortgages sound quite exciting, doesn’t it? No one is telling you to juggle red balls or balance plates on a stick, but I am suggesting you create an experiential strategy that leaves your clients feeling positive all the way around.
Happy customers are return customers. They’re also significantly more likely to pass on additional business through word-of-mouth referrals and glowing online reviews. Are you aware of what else comes with an elevated experience? More revenue.
The numbers don’t lie. American Express found 60 percent of its customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. The Temkin Group also discovered that companies earning more than $1 billion annually can add an extra $700 million to this over three years by simply investing in the customer experience.
Delivering experiential service is a start-to-finish operation. It begins at the first touchpoint. This could be the minute a prospect finds your website or social media pages, or when they initiate contact. In either case, a warm, welcoming and informative environment sets the stage for further conversations.
This is followed by a focus on the customer – their hopes, fears, goals, parameters, etc. Ask the right questions, listen, intently, to the responses, and utilize your knowledge and professional expertise to cultivate a plan that is advantageous to them.
We then move into communication. On their terms. If they send a text, you should send a text. If they leave you a voicemail, pick up the phone and call them back. Don’t send an email. And time is of the essence. A prospect may know they’re not your only client, but they don’t need to be reminded of it. I like to set the goal of returning messages within five minutes when possible, within 20 minutes when not. Responsiveness shows you’re invested in their pursuits, you’re knowledgeable and, most importantly, that you have time for them.
Follow up comes next. Stay on top of paperwork and deadlines. Don’t assume a prospect knows what materials they need or when. Be their advocate. Create checklists and timelines to keep them organized, but remain their overseer as they navigate what can be a tricky, complex process for many. Send polite and friendly reminders (through their preferred form of communication) well ahead of important deadlines or regarding paperwork that can be difficult to obtain. Hold their hand through the application process. This will allay many of their fears while building trust – and loyalty – in you.
Finally, see this experience through until the end and beyond. A great first impression means nothing if the prospect feels left out of the loop in the approvals process. Your role doesn’t end when the application is complete, however. Follow up with your clients. Ask for their feedback and reviews. Send holiday cards and small congratulatory gifts when they finally find the perfect home. Remain on their radar by providing continuous education and you’ll remain their service provider of choice when it comes to loan origination.