Securing a mortgage is just the beginning of a commitment—and relationship—that’s likely to last for many years. Effective mortgage servicing is critical to maintaining customer relationships, improving margins, and reducing the risk of customer attrition and defaults.
Customer engagement in mortgage servicing is essential to build trust, confidence and deepen relationships over the long term. And it’s all the more important with a renewed focus on mortgage restructuring since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Operating Complexity Undermines CX
Both banks and non-bank mortgage service providers face increasing pressure to deliver a high level of customer service, all while optimizing operations. Servicers want to deliver a unified customer experience while managing their technological, operational, and human capital needs. Loans originating from one bank can change hands and be serviced by a different service provider. So, inefficiencies in servicing can impact the borrower relationship across the board.
It’s Fairly Easy to Disengage Borrowers
Borrowers typically aren’t consciously aware of the channel they’re using when interacting with a servicer. They just reach out using the pathway-to-the-servicer that makes the most sense for them at the time. They don’t think about how (or whether) the channels are integrated inside the servicer organization and they don’t expect a different experience when they shift from one pathway—or channel. Inconsistent channel experiences and issues related to payments, paperwork, long waiting times, etc. can all lead to borrower frustration and disengagement.
Create a Seamless, Unified Experience for Today’s Channel-Less Borrower
Achieving seamless, unified engagement using a borrower-centric approach is crucial to delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Instead of deploying more human capital to address the challenges, mortgage service providers must recognize the importance of digital investment…and use it strategically to improve customer retention. A truly omnichannel approach reduces the need for contact center calls, both inbound and outbound. Integrating capabilities such as conversational AI, advanced IVR, social media, text, in-app messaging, and portals can help greatly improve mortgage servicing.
Here are just some of the core components of any customer experience transformation strategy for mortgage servicing:
- Customer journey mapping and design thinking: Perfecting digital engagement requires closer alignment with customer’s actual journey. With customer journey mapping processes and design thinking, mortgage service providers can better understand the pain points of their customers and the obstacles they’ll encounter all along the servicing journey. Service providers can then address key friction points, creating a pathway to achieving effective customer engagement. Mortgage lenders simply cannot afford customer attrition due to a poor customer experience. So, assessing the customer journey process is crucial to improving overall customer retention.
- Enabling self-service: Borrowers typically share a set of frequent inquiries in common: They ask about interest, arrears, penalties, payment schedule, calculations on accelerated payments, etc. Also, events such as a regulatory change or a fall in interest rates can result in a spurt in inquiries. These frequently made inquiries can be addressed effectively with the help of self-service portals. They reduce time, confusion, often expensive human interaction, and the borrower’s need to make a call. In managing defaults, self-service portals prove more effective with lower-risk borrowers, freeing up agent resources to deal with higher-priority accounts. Also, disputes can often be handled without any human intervention leading to a ‘zero touch’ dispute resolution.
- Contextual engagement using analytics and artificial intelligence: A variety of insights can help service providers engage borrowers contextually, improving customer satisfaction levels. Insights from the history of customer interactions—using speech and text analytics—can help make corrective measures, preempt borrower needs, and personalize the engagement. When managing defaults, the complexity starts right from tracking and monitoring delinquent accounts to determining the right strategies for treatment. Analytics are essential for segmenting and deploying such strategies. Instead of a write-off, or a settling of payments with losses, strategies such as gamification can encourage repayment.
- Human-centric omnichannel customer engagement: Constantly fluctuating servicing requirements demand that the provider find a balanced approach, using both technology and staff. Ideally, human interaction can be limited to just those servicing needs that can’t be automated or managed by conversational chatbots. The strategies can differ by provider to suit their business needs. But with the right omni-channel model, servicers can have effective communication with borrowers while driving down costs.
By including the above four elements in a customer experience transformation strategy, mortgage servicers can minimize the possibility of customer disengagement. It can reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve the overall customer experience.