Customer Service. We all hear about it. We’re taught about it. We’re told we need to do it well. Heck, we expect it ourselves from others. Most likely if we’re honest, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. We all have bad days. Not to mention customers that don’t always lend kindly to us wanting to treat them well.
The mortgage business adds a very unique set of circumstances to customer service. Most likely your clients are making the biggest, most expensive purchase of their lifetime. The money is big. The terms are big. But more than that, it’s a home. Memories are going to be made here. Families are going to be raised here. And the majority of their life is most likely going to play out here. Doesn’t THAT kind of decision deserve some customer service?
Recently I refinanced our home with a different lender than I originally made the purchase with. In all honesty, I expected the refinance to go like a breeze. Looking back now, it really did. However the customer service aspect was completely different than when I purchased the home. Which makes a drastic difference when I’m referring others to a lender.
Obviously comparing a purchase to a refinance transaction are a little different. When comparing the service you receive though, there’s really none. I really found three different things that affected my experience with different lenders.
All in all, these three things things really went hand in hand. Most importantly, when communication was bad, it seemed like the other two followed suit.
The biggest difference between my two mortgage experiences was the communication factor. My first loan officer kept me up to date on everything that was happening. Returned every single email I sent within a timely fashion. And made sure I knew what was going on during each step of the process. All of this lead to me trusting him and the numbers I was seeing. When something changed, he told me honestly. When I was missing documents, I knew. The appraisal came back, and I found out immediately. Sent to underwriting, approved, closing date set. I was up to date. It made me comfortable with my decision. All of my questions and concerns eventually vanished. I expected the service and I got it. The only part I didn’t know, not every mortgage purchase goes this way. Not all loan officers were like him.
My refinance was the polar opposite. Now don’t get me wrong, this loan officer was extremely nice. But that only gets you so far when you are talking about my finances. I constantly had to email, call, and update the loan officer on what I was doing. Which seemed a little backwards. I felt like I was the one pushing the transaction ahead. Emails were hardly returned without a follow up email from myself. The numbers for closing seemed to go up and down all of the time. Once time higher. Then lower. Then by closing higher again. When documents were missing and underwriting needed them, I had to call to ask if everything was moving along fine. Approval from underwriting? No idea. Closing date. Once I emailed to see if underwriting went through, I got a return email asking me if I can close in 2 days. Frustrating to say the least. But I pushed through because, well, rates were LOW!!
Maybe my expectations were set too high because of my first loan officer. Maybe he spoiled me and ruined any chance for another loan officer to live up to the expectations he set. Possibly he set the bar too high for everyone else. But most likely, he’s closing a lot of deals. Gaining customers for life. Gaining referrals from every single customer he helps get into a house. He’s got every one of my referrals. Did he do something so extraordinary that no other loan officer could possibly ever do. No, he just used the tools he had and the understanding to make a customer feel important and involved.
He’s also on vacation right now in the Caribbean reaping the benefits of what he’s sown.
*Photo Courtesy of 401(K)2012