Think back to the last amazing customer service experience you had. What made it so memorable? Was the person that you interacted with friendly, helpful, and engaged? Now, consider a terrible customer service situation you’ve been in. Chances are, that situation jumps to your mind much faster.
Unfortunately, that’s the double edged sword of customer communication. You are much more likely to remember the terrible experience, because frankly, it was horrible.
So, Why Should You Care About Customer Service?
As a loan officer, you may not always consider the importance of client relationships in your business. However, the reality is that your job is just as much about great customer service as it is about managing paperwork, compliance, or interest rates.
So, how do you leave your clients with a great customer service experience? Even better, how do you give them a memory that is so amazing that they can’t help but tell their friends and family about you?
First, we’re going to discuss why consistent and meaningful client communication is important. Then, we will dive into how to obtain those glowing customer relationships that should be the foundation of your business.
After you’re done reading this post, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to not just serve your customers, but delight them.
A Great Customer Service Experience Increases Trust
The first reason that consistent communication with your clients is important is that it builds trust. Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions that most of your clients will ever make in their life. As a loan officer, you’re literally funding that decision. It’s part of your job to make the process as smooth as possible.
It’s not possible to guarantee a seamless mortgage experience for every single one of your clients. You can strive to keep them informed at every step of the way, however. You will find that this is one of the best ways to earn their trust.
Dimensional Research found that when customers were asked what impacts their level of trust of a company, excellent customer service was ranked #1. Now that’s a stat you should want to get behind!
Why Is Creating an Environment of Trust Important?
Increasing customer trust is the first step toward making loyal customers for life. Plus, happy customers are more likely to be the borrowers that you’re excited to work with.
After all, you know how negative a loan process can become if you don’t like working with a particular borrower. Often, that negative experience is coming from a lack of communication. Or a borrower may even feel like they aren’t being included in the mortgage process.
Consistent Communication Increases Knowledge
Great customer service goes way beyond building trust and creating loyal customers. Keeping your borrower’s informed of the loan process can make a very confusing situation much clearer. This empowers the customer to feel like they are truly included in the process.
Not only does including the borrower in the process make them feel more comfortable, it increases education. It may sound strange to say that your goal should be to increase your borrower’s knowledge of the loan process. But, in reality, a well-informed customer is one of the biggest assets you could want for your business.
Additionally, good client education is important to diffusing the myths surrounding the mortgage industry. If a borrower feels like the process of buying a house is straightforward and transparent, they are much more likely to do it again in the future. And then, they will maybe even use you for their mortgage needs!).
Amazing Customer Relationships Increase Referrals
Clearly, the first two points funnel directly into this third, most critical reason to pursue amazing customer service. Happy clients are customers who will sing your praises to their friends and family. Loan officers rely on customer referrals very heavily, and for good reason. People are much more likely to pursue a business if someone they know recommends that business. Plus, it’s also an excellent way to bring in highly convertible leads.
The Financial Value of Repeat Customers
According to Esteban Kolsky, a Customer Strategy expert, attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one. In the mortgage world, this may not feel quite as attainable since applying for a mortgage only happens a few times in the lifetime of most customers. However, this theory can be applied to the idea of client referrals.
Earning a client’s referrals may take a lot of time and effort, but ultimately, it could gain you a new customer (or multiple new customers) without a penny going directly to the lead generation process.
Your Communication Strategy Goes Way Beyond Just Clients…
You probably already guessed this, but customer service goes way beyond just your clients. These rules can be easily applied to anyone you work with: realtors, professional partners, and even your team.
No one likes feeling left out of the loop, and communicating clearly and consistently with everyone you work with will show them that you trust them. This is critical to building profitable professional connections. Not to mention that it is also the key to creating meaningful human relationships.
So How Do You Stay Consistent with Your Client Communication?
Okay, so at this point, you’re probably convinced that excellent client communication is important. But, what now?
The first step toward growing your business’ customer service methods is to make a plan. After all, the key word in this whole discussion has been consistency. And consistency doesn’t happen by accident.
Sit down and consider the ways that you currently stay in contact with your customers. What works? What could be improved? How often do you want to be in touch with past clients? Current borrowers? Possible future customers? What have your customers said is meaningful to them?
Write it all down, and then read on to decide the best way to approach this new challenge.
The first and most obvious way to stay in a client’s mind is by calling them. However, as a busy loan officer, calling clients may fall to the wayside far too often.
We discussed the importance of a strong call strategy recently, and you can read more about it, here.
The Content Matters
It’s also important to consider the content of your calls with your clients. After all, a terrible phone call is worse than no phone call at all!
Before dialing even one number, brush up on a customer’s history. Where are they in the loan process if they are a current borrower? Do they have any hobbies? Are they just returning from a vacation with their family?
Overall, you want to consider how to connect to each customer as an individual, because after all, they are.
Once you have a plan, just start calling. Call reluctance is a real thing, but only if you let it stop you from picking up the phone.
Texting with clients may feel impersonal compared to some of the other options on this list, but it is a great way to connect with your customers. Texting shouldn’t be your only touchpoint with borrowers or partners. However, many people prefer texting to other forms of communication.
During the loan process, try sending quick text updates on the status of a borrower’s application. This is an easy way to include them in every step of the journey. This will save you from fielding phone calls from borrower’s who are curious about the status of their loan. It also makes your referral partners feel confident that you are doing an excellent job on their client’s loan.
Perhaps the easiest way to offer amazing customer service is becoming a master of the email. But no one wants to be spammed by useless emails cluttering their inbox.
Your clients and business partners will love to hear from you in the form of loan updates. You could even send interesting pieces of educational material, or the occasional holiday or happy birthday email.
You can save you or your team a lot of time by creating email templates for different common situations. Maybe you write a heartfelt congratulatory email to send to your borrower’s when their loan is clear to close. You can personalize the note to match a particular customer, but it will save you time and energy in the day to day.
Reducing any friction that is stopping you from consistent communication with your clients is an excellent way to stick to your plan.
It may seem “old-school,” but traditional, face-to-face meetings can still be one of the best ways to build amazing customer relationships. When it comes to setting up these types of meetings, it can be helpful to set goals for yourself. It can be overwhelming to decide to meet with customers on a regular basis, especially with your already busy schedule.
Try committing to one or two customer check-in coffee dates or happy hours a week. Once you’ve mastered that, up your goals. Say you’ll meet with past or current borrowers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then, time block your schedule accordingly.
Why Is Face-to-Face Still Important?
There’s no magic formula to how often you should be meeting your clients, but there is magic in doing so. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn in these conversations. Maybe they share that their neighbor is moving and you can see if they are needing a mortgage for their next home.
Or, perhaps you can offer helpful advice on your client’s financial situation. This strengthens your relationship with them, and increases their loyalty.
Tools to Power Your Amazing Client Relationships
There’s a variety of ways to approach building a customer service plan, ranging from more traditional to technology-driven.
Use A Paper Calendar
You could utilize a paper calendar to plan out your communication plan. For instance, write down who you want to call, text, or contact in the next month. Then, check in every day on your progress.
Use A Digital Calendar
If you want something a bit more digital, you could use a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. Or, enter your communication to-do list in your Gmail or Outlook calendar so that you are reminded to touch base with your borrowers.
For a software powered option, you could also utilize phone dialers. Platforms such as Phone Burner, help you whip through your call list for the day.
If you’re looking for a more complete client communication platform, you could consider a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Jungo’s mortgage specific CRM offers full automation of your client communication plan.
With pre-made email templates, SMS texting, and automatically triggered workflows, you can manage all your communications from one place. Plus, you won’t have to log out to access loan information. Jungo’s LOS sync and other platform integrations allow you to work all day on a single platform.
When it comes down to it, great client relationships are built on consistent communication. Treat your borrowers (past, current, and future) like you would want your best friends to treat you. Be transparent and helpful, offer value, and be generous with your gratitude.
Your customer service experience shouldn’t be just about getting more closed loans or referrals. It should go much deeper than that. After all, earning money is only a portion of what keeps you in this industry.
Getting people into the home of their dreams is a huge motivating factor. Beyond that, providing a pleasant customer experience should be another goal of a top producing loan officer.