Products, websites and technology are all great tools – but many of their aspects can be replicated by others. It’s just the nature of the beast. Most of your competitors are aware of the selling points and pain points customers experience when they’re applying for a loan. Thus, we all try to be faster, cheaper and more transparent.

That’s all fine and good. You should strive for these very basic ideals. However, what no one in this industry can replicate is you. The people, culture and processes behind your business are yours and yours alone. It’s what you hang your hat on, what draws people to you, and what gets them to give you their business.

So take a look at your secret sauce or, in sales speak, your customer service approach. Identifying, refining and playing up what differentiates your customer experience from the myriad of others out there is what keeps you in business.

The best place to start is with your current customers. Loan officers often value new business over repeat business, which can be a huge mistake. Are you treating your long-time clients the same way you’re treating new leads? If not, it’s time to make sure that repeat order gets the same dose of secret sauce – if not more so.

Aside from regular follow-up, it’s imperative to act on feedback, both positive and negative. Studies have shown you can develop loyalty with up to 97 percent of consumers when you act on their feedback. So take it seriously. Post-transaction commentary should never be met with a shrug or an “oh well. Guess I’ll try harder next time” approach.

Failing to provide a response to feedback not only prevents that customer from becoming a repeat buyer, but it motivates them to go in the complete opposite direction. This can involve negative reviews on multiple channels, communications higher up the chain in search of a response and the desire to prevent others from “making the same mistake” by doing business with you. When you fail to advocate for the customer, the consumer will engage in their own form of customer advocacy, and that isn’t always pretty.

While price may always be a factor when selecting a mortgage provider, numerous studies show the customer experience will surpass price as a priority by 2020. That’s in, what? Less than five months! With so many options nowadays, LOs are practically forced to compete on customer service alone. So what does your approach say about you?

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.