Customer service. It is what most lenders promise to potential borrowers and tout as their competitive advantage. But what are the practical aspects of truly delivering on such a promise?
Unfortunately customer service often is lacking due to planning and executing a predetermined system for each and every borrower. Here are some practical suggestions you can implement today to ensure you can back up your claim of providing outstanding customer service.
- Send your proposal packets or illustrations when you promised. Don’t delay. If you do your competitors information will arrive first and they will see your delayed promise as a broken one. Even better send them overnight by Fed Ex (you can apply for a corporate discount) and then schedule a call to review the following day.
- Outbound phone calls: Ask what time of day is best to reach them. Be considerate. Then schedule your call with them on your calendar and ask them to do the same.
- Inbound phone calls: Return all calls the same day. Update your voicemail daily with the times you are available and when you will be out of the office or in meetings. This gives the potential borrower the reassurance you are not ignoring their calls and you will be calling back.
Application, HUD Counseling & Appraisal:
- Thank you. Once you have received or taken the signed application show some gratitude. Send them a personal handwritten thank you card. Include a short note inside that is personal yet professional. Send it first class in a nonstandard size envelope.
- HUD Counseling. Don’t leave it to chance. Offer to call or schedule a call with the borrower about 2-3 hours after the HUD counseling session began. Your purpose? To answer any questions that may have been raised or clarify concerns. For your borrower you are providing education. For yourself you are preventing objections and fears from killing the deal.
- Appraisal Sensitivity. Home values may seem like scientific and rational numbers but to your borrower it is immensely personal. Keep this in mind if the value is less than anticipated. Even better yet, precondition the borrower for a realistic value and keep expectations low. Under-promise , over-deliver. If a low value is upsetting show empathy and understanding. Look at the glass half full if the loan still allows a mortgage to be paid off or funds to be made available.
- Face it head on. Don’t hide problems during processing and underwriting. Your borrower will find out and distrust you and you are only slowing down your pipeline. Call immediately if there is a condition that must be cleared, home insurance that must be updated or any other issue. Offer yourself to the borrower as a partner and resource in working together to close their loan. You are in the business of closing loans in a timely manner for both you and your client knowing if you don’t you don’t get paid unless it closes.
Closing & Funding
- Don’t be a no-show: You’ve built the relationship and succeeded in closing the borrower’s loan. Good, but your job is not done. You should always be present at the signing of closing docs when possible. Sit at the table with the notary and your borrower to answer questions and also briefly explain or paraphrase each paper being signed. They know your time is valuable but also will appreciate the reassurance of knowing what they are signing in that huge stack of paperwork.
- If you sold the loan over the phone, give your borrower and the notary your direct phone number if they run into any problems or have questions. Schedule a call after the loan documents are signed to see how things went.
- Explain the funding process. Let them know how many business days until the funds are in their account or their mortgage is paid off. Remind them that mortgage payoffs have a buffer allowing for some extra days if funding is a day or two late. Schedule a call the day funds are in the account. Confirm with the borrower that the bank shows the funds available. They will thank you. By the way, this is the best time to ask for referrals when their mood is high.
Client for Life (post-funding)
- First mortgage statement. Call about 45 days after the loan closed and funded to review their monthly reverse mortgage statement. Ask them to read it to your over the phone or come to your office to review.
- Keep in touch. Schedule a call every 3 months to see how things are going. Any concerns? Are they using line of credit? Have any of their friends asked about their reverse mortgage? Encourage them to call you with any questions.
These are just a few practical ways you can deliver outstanding customer service to your prospects and borrowers. Make a system. Type it out. If you have a team you supervise get them to buy in to the plan. Review your performance and schedule reminders in your CRM (link to RmCRM) or calendar. In doing so you have now set yourself apart in an elite group. A mortgage lender who truly does deliver before, during and after the sale.