Jan./Feb. 2021 Issue

It’s Time To Deliver A Better Borrower Experience

I find it interesting that the people who make their living originating loans believe they are generally not delivering a great customer experience, based on the results of a PROGRESS in Lending Survey where 50% of respondents said the borrower experience is average and the other 50% said it was poor.  That is in direct contrast to the effort lenders put into acquiring the highest review ratings possible . . . but I get that.  Ratings are really all about driving new business. 

You would think that there is a direct relationship between “better service = higher star ratings” but that isn’t necessarily true today.  Through the use of technology, lenders can drive up their star ratings on social media without delivering a similar increase in service levels.

So here are some thoughts on borrower experience and borrower expectations that might help.

Virtually everyone lives online today.  Consumers go online to review virtually every product or service they buy, including their mortgage.   Today’s borrower expects proactive service, personalized interactions and easy electronic access to information and updates, effectively, an “Amazon-like” buying experience, with a personal touch.  If you can’t deliver an experience like this, modern borrowers will not consider their experience as stellar and reviews will likely suffer. 

So how do you accomplish great service?  All of the basics still apply including not asking for documents multiple times, closing on time and communicating effectively throughout the process.   But it goes beyond that today.  You need to enable your customers and your customer facing people with digital tools that provide easy access to information and provide interactive communications to get the best results. 

Communications should guide the consumer, set accurate borrower expectations and provide a feedback loop so that you know customer sentiment at all times.  If your communications can detect when your customer is unhappy during the process, you have an opportunity to resolve the issue immediately and turn an unhappy customer into a fan. 

And if you find that your customer is happy, that is a good indication you are doing a good job and the perfect time to ask for a review.  Providing the consumer with the online tools to make the review process immediate and painless is essential.

Delivering a great borrower experience can be a real challenge due to the length of the transaction and all the opportunities for misunderstanding and poor communication.  Having the right tools in place to proactively manage this process will help you get to “better service = higher star ratings”.