5 Things I Learned About Customer Experience Management While Refinancing My Mortgage

Refinanced Mortgage

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

I hope you find these lessons useful. I am speaking at an Enterprise Connect-sponsored webcast on Wednesday, March 26th titled, “Deliver Legendary Customer Experiences One Interaction at a Time” with Eric Krapf, co-chair of Enterprise Connect and Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics. I invite you the watch the webcast here.

Related Articles:

Branch Banking vs. Mobile Banking: Is It Really An Either-Or Decision?

In a recent article, Dave Martin, EVP at Financial Supermarkets, talked about the future of branches as a differentiator for banks. He believes that branches will undergo a transformation from a place where customers go to conduct transactions, to a place of relationship-building and human interface.

The next day, Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group, penned a response, arguing that bank branches are not the differentiator, and that mobile/digital technology allows banking employees to connect to consumers, negating the need for physical branches in the future.

This got me thinking about my personal banking experiences with branches, as well as mobile/digital channels:

  • Branches were originally built to facilitate transactions (the teller) and relationships (the banker) with customers. Today, self-service and automated systems can support many transaction types without the need for a branch.
  • However, when you go to the branch in the morning, you will see many small business transactions–such as deposits and cash withdrawals in different denominations–that do require teller interaction and help build relationships with the local branch personnel.
  • When it comes to community banking, a branch gives a physical anchor for the brand and representation for local charities and social activities.
  • Ron is correct in that the interaction between bank employees and customers—which we at Avaya refer to as customer engagement–can be delivered effectively through mobile and video technology.
  • Perhaps the answer lies in not having to choose between the physical branch and mobile/digital channels, but the convergence of both. In the retail industry, consumers have come to expect an omnichannel shopping experience, with seamless interactions across physical stores, Web, social, the phone, etc. For banks, perhaps the solution is going to be the same, ultimately requiring them to be “on” with all channels, from branches, ATMS, phone, email, Web, social media etc., on all devices in order to differentiate.

To learn more about Avaya’s Solutions for Banking please visit our website or click here for customer case studies.

Addressing Technological Uncertainty in the Banking Industry

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review analyzes where certain vertical industries sit in an uncertain world, using scales of demand and technology.

It’s interesting to see banking and insurance companies face technological uncertainty, which can be attributed to the adoption of big data and other analytics technology and what (if any) effect those uncertainties will have in driving revenue.

New technologies and new competitors are hitting the markets at an unprecedented rate. Having the ability to manage the uncertainty generated by these disruptions is the key to enabling success.

While uncertainty is certainly increasing, it isn’t affecting all industries the same way and the Harvard Business Review article highlights this issue well, with some thought-provoking questions:

  • Are new technologies or startups threatening my company or my industry?
  • Over the past five years, have new competitors entered the market and captured 10 percent share by targeting our customers with a different value proposition than what we offer?
  • Over the past five years, have we begun to see customer preferences change, resulting in a different mix of products and services being demanded?
  • Have you recently started offering (or are planning to offer) a product or service that has never been offered before?

I encourage you to answer these questions and take a look at the “grid” and decide for yourself – do you fit where you expected to?

Is Big Data in the Financial Sector Just a Numbers Game?

Banking has historically been a very data-oriented industry, but there has recently been a significant push toward implementing “big data” strategies to refine processes and better understand customers.

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent IDC webinar that talked about this very topic, with a particular focus on how banks can adopt big data analytics and how this newfound surplus of information can be used in innovative ways.

Omni-channel interaction, hyper-personalization, and single-customer view are among the areas where data and analytics are enabling innovation.

“In-market adoption of big data and analytics has reached the point where the capabilities and applications these technologies enable are becoming mainstream for a growing number of financial services firms,” said Michael Versace, Global Research Director at IDC Financial Insights.

Big data analytics can help banking executives deal with a variety of business issues such as customer engagement, risk management, productivity, and shareholder profitability. This can provide banks a potential competitive advantage, which–let’s face it–is always well received in such a tough market.

Without doubt, mobility and big data are leading the technology needs in banking. When it comes to technology enablers, we tend to make a beeline to the CTO office.

In addressing some of the business imperatives mentioned above, and specifically relating to big data, we need to look beyond the world of IT executives. Why? Because data impacts beyond IT, and line of businesses in this sector are incredibly varied, very influential and need to be considered in bids.

With a coordinated technology lens we can help support global banks and enable them to “know their customer better.” Who wouldn’t want that?

If you are an IDC customer, watch the replay of the webcast here.

Click here to learn more about Avaya’s banking solutions.