(Note: This is part one of a three-part series)
BLOG VIEW: One of the great technological advances in the mortgage industry has been in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These systems, designed specifically for the mortgage industry, empower the lender to engage, interact with and service customers better than ever. The lender is also empowered to better manage all aspects of the lending process, from initial contact and engagement with the prospect, to taking the application, to processing the loan, then on to post-closing and eventually, customer retention.
The first step in the process begins with initial contact, and that means responding to the prospective borrower immediately after he or she makes contact – either online, by phone or through email. And by immediate, I mean that literally. It has been proven that lenders that don’t respond to prospective customers within seconds of their inquiry risk losing them forever. And surprisingly, studies reveal that lenders fail to respond to nearly two-thirds of prospective borrowers who contact them: Either they don’t respond quickly enough and the consumers move on to another lender, or they fail to follow up at all. This information alone provides a huge opportunity, giving responsive lenders a major competitive advantage.
So this is where the latest CRM technology comes into play. Once contact has been established, the CRM system enables the lender to set up and put into action an automated communication strategy. This can include the initial calls to the customer, welcome emails, and drip/nurture messages that keep the borrower moving along in the process or, alternatively, re-engage the prospect if contact has gone cold.
To do this, of course, lenders need content. And not just any will do. It must be information that provides compelling and genuine value to the customer, whether it’s home buying or refinancing tips, or general homeownership information. Done right, these communications – delivered via email, text or regular mail, at the customer’s preference – can yield much higher conversion and closing rates. And once it’s set up, it keeps working without the lender having to do much.
The fact is, the opportunity for mortgage lenders to grow their businesses and increase their market share has rarely been better than it is right now. For sure, record-low interest rates have a lot to do with it. But they’re far from the only factor at work.
The wide availability of new technology that enables lenders to not only squeeze more business out of their leads, but, at the same time, enhance the borrower experience is a major factor for future success. Implementing new technology has also never been easier, thanks to the advent of software as a service and cloud computing. Now, any size lender can employ cutting-edge technology without the huge investment required in the past.
Indeed, with so many lenders using these tools, new technology becomes a must-have for originators that want to remain in business, never mind simply hold their own.
So, we’ve made contact with the borrower using the innovative tools allotted to us. What’s next? In the next article of this three-part series on finding new opportunities to engage and improve the customer experience, from origination to closing, I’ll discuss helping loan officers manage the loan process to make the process easier and simpler for the borrower. Today’s customers demand and expect an easier and simpler process, and lenders must deliver it. Technology can ensure that they can.
Josh Friend is founder and CEO of InSellerate, a specialized CRM system that enables lenders to connect with prospects while they are actively engaged in the decision-making process, manage their sales teams in real-time, and build strong long-term customer relationships through automated nurture marketing campaigns.