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:

Avaya at GITEX 2017: Moving to a True Omnichannel Customer Experience

As all too many companies have discovered, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy is easier said than done. And when you fall short, customers have a lot of channels where they can complain—or worse. Avaya’s recent Customer Experience in Banking survey shows that approximately 38% of consumers would change their bank as a result of poor customer service. One in three would make it a point to share their bad customer service experiences with friends and acquaintances, with nearly 16% voicing those frustrations on social media platforms. Visit Avaya at GITEX 2017, where we’ll show you how to manage, leverage, and thrive in all of the contact channels your customers are using today.  Avaya will be at Stand Z-C20 in Za’abeel Hall, Dubai World Trade Center, October 8-12.

Supporting an Omnichannel Experience

Companies are competing in an era of countless customer touch points. They’re tasked with matching a rapid pace of innovation and anticipating customers’ evolving needs. This has made the concept of an omnichannel customer experience integral for success.

Research shows, however, that companies across the board are still struggling to get omnichannel right. Again, according to Avaya’s Customer Experience in Banking survey, getting the same level of experience and service regardless of how they choose to contact their bank was cited as a top-three priority for consumers in nearly every market surveyed. The insight here is that customers want to see “one bank,” and banks need to see “one customer” regardless of the channels through which they communicate. However, one 2017 study of the retail industry found that 44% of companies struggle to provide a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. In industries like finance and utilities, this number can be as high as 90%.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

Fortunately, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics are at the forefront of reshaping customer experience design. These technologies ultimately help customers do what they want to do as fast and effectively as possible. By deploying AI chatbots and using AI to automate and enhance typical processes that customers would undertake, businesses can respond to their customers faster and reduce waiting times for key services.

The use of advanced analytics—enabled by AI—can also provide businesses with deeper analysis of customer interactions by bringing together relevant data previously siloed across SMS, web chat conversations, social media platforms, phone calls, and video interactions.

Consumers today expect nothing short of a highly-sophisticated customer experience. Bold technologies within an increasingly digital economy have thrust enterprises into a world of limitless capabilities—and that world is just getting started.

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?