Modern borrowers, accustomed to customer-focused retail experiences, demand similar lending experiences. However, a recent survey shows that overall borrower satisfaction with lenders fell during 2019. According to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, overall borrower satisfaction fell from 869 (on a 1,000-point scale) in the first quarter to 853 in the second quarter – even while mortgage originations rose 54% for the same time period. To stay ahead, lenders have no choice but to adapt quickly to the evolving borrower trends by leveraging technology-based solutions. But, simply digitizing various sub-components of the lending process is not the answer.
Standing out in a complex environment
While a majority of today’s savvy borrowers prefer a digitized end-to-end loan application process, they also look for human support for certain challenging parts of the process such as loan closing. That’s not all. They expect a simple and seamless loan experience that not only gives them control of the process but also allows them to close on their loans quickly. Managing these complex demands requires lenders to invest in digital technologies to better understand their customers, and design simple and intuitive processes that deliver delightful experiences.
Here are four ways to turn customer experience into a key differentiator.
- Understand why your customers are calling: To begin with, understand why borrowers call and what’s confusing them. For instance, when borrowers originate with one lender and the loan is sold and resold subsequently, questions abound: whom to pay, whom to call, why is there a new lender in the picture and so on. Customer intelligence solutions can help you better understand the reason for the call and identify the source of confusion. This, in turn, allows you to optimize the mix of digital and voice channels to deliver exceptional service and transform internal processes to minimize confusion. Deploying triaging services can also help ensure that borrowers get quickly through to live support to have their basic questions answered, before they are moved to the right area for further assistance.
- Educate borrowers on relevant solutions: As a next step, nurture and engage borrowers through a lead generation process that not only provides self-help tools but also contextually relevant information, education and hand holding, every step of the way. Leveraging advanced analytics is a great way to deep dive into the end-to-end borrower journey to better understand your customer needs and offer relevant solutions at every touch point – including providing refinance offers and educating them on cash-out refinance or rate/term reduction opportunities.
- Enable omnichannel capabilities: While digital platforms are imperative to the success of any modern business, human interaction is still an integral part of our daily lives – especially when making major financial decisions such as getting a mortgage. Ellie Mae’s 2019 Borrower Insights Survey highlights the fact that borrowers still crave human interaction across a digitally-driven loan origination process. It’s therefore important to deploy digital channels in conjunction with voice, to offer highly personalized seamless interactions and solutions that increase engagement, conversion and retention across all channels. Determining the right mix of chat, chat bots (for certain events), voice, text and email to engage borrowers – on a channel and at a time of their choice – can help boost convenience, satisfaction and loyalty.
- Drive end-to-end digitalization: Invest in the optimal mix of technologies to enhance efficiencies, reduce cycle times and improve customer satisfaction. Leading lenders are adopting digitalization strategies that intelligently combine the following technologies to achieve the desired outcomes.
- RPA to automate routine processing and optimize workflows across the lending lifecycle – reducing manual intervention and allowing mortgage professionals to focus on higher value activities.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based solutions to classify, index and audit loan packages across pre and post-closing workflows – enhancing efficiencies and reducing turn times as well as costs.
- User-friendly mobile servicing apps to put the information that consumers are looking for at their fingertips – such as the ability to lock in rates, compare products or calculate payments.
Catering to the modern borrower
In today’s competitive lending environment, innovation and technology are fundamental to delivering superior service to the empowered borrower, in turn driving profitable growth. While technology-based solutions can help lenders improve borrower experience, innovative lenders understand that empowering mortgage professionals with the right digital tools offers the most potential to maximize borrower experience. Such a move not only helps streamline the lending process for the borrower as well as the lender, it also allows the frontline staff to deliver memorable borrower experiences for superior customer satisfaction and a larger market share.