I recently took advantage of low interest rates to refinance my mortgage with my original lender, a large, national bank. For all the stories of large banks and poor mortgage practices, this one went pretty smoothly, from the solicitation stage to completion.
Here are 5 things I learned about customer experience from the refinance:
Proactively reaching out to your customer is important
I had refinanced from an adjustable to fixed mortgage a few years ago.
As the rate had fallen since then, I had ample opportunities to refinance again. I received emails, phone calls and reminders from the bank teller in my branch that I was eligible for refinancing, and I eventually acted on it. If I had not received those reminders, I could have been poached by competing mortgage companies.
Location doesn’t matter as much as it used to
I live in downtown San Francisco, two blocks from the bank branch where my mortgage manager works, and I have never met her in person. My mortgage was handled day-to-day over email and phone calls by her assistant and the bank’s contact center in Los Angeles. I completed the mortgage refinance process on time, and the only person I physically met was the escrow agent, who came to my home for the final signature.
Persistence across channels is important
There is a lot of discussion about the need for customers to have a consistent experience across channels. Another important factor is the persistency of information across channels.
When I submit information that the bank asks for, each of the bank’s business units that work on refinancing should get my information simultaneously. I should not get an email from one group asking for information that I already provided to their colleagues in a different group, or requesting the same form I had already submitted.
Unfortunately, that did happen a few times during the process, but it was quickly resolved.
Communicate across the channels that the customer prefers
During the refinancing process, there were numerous checkpoints, and with my work schedule, my preferred communication medium was email, which I can respond to faster than voicemail. Fortunately, that was not an issue and I was able to address all the bank’s questions without too many phone calls.
Make sure your customer database is up-to-date across all channels
It’s been some time since I successfully refinanced my mortgage, yet whenever I go into my bank, the teller will invariably say, “I notice you have a mortgage with us. Have you considered a refinance?”
It’s a minor inconvenience, but I would have expected the system to have flagged that information already and perhaps displayed an updated offer like, “Thank you for recently refinancing your mortgage with us. If you have any other loan needs like automotive, please keep us in mind.”
5 Things I Learned About Customer Experience Management While Refinancing My Mortgage