As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, June 2012.
The loan process can be a stressful event for clients, especially when it comes to new-home loans. Clients buying a new home are dealing with Realtors, home inspectors, sellers and moving companies, as well as a host of complications that can occur in the homebuying process.
Stressed-out clients often can make for stressed-out brokers and originators, as well. Tense situations can escalate to unpleasant customer experiences — unless you’re properly prepared. Taking several key steps can help you lessen the anxiety of your clients by managing their expectations, thus ensuring that they’re pleased — and at ease — from the beginning of a transaction to its closing.
Step 1: Communication
Brokers and originators should always begin client relationships by letting clients know what to expect. For instance, let them know what documents they’ll need, what will happen after they’re locked in, how long the underwriting process may take and what kind of communication they can expect from you in the future.
This may sound simple, but it can be easy to grow used to working in a certain way and simply expect clients to be familiar with that manner of working, as well. This can be avoided by taking the time early on to walk the client through the process. It’s helpful to let them know that problems can arise in the loan process, especially when it comes to issues that delay paperwork.
Step 2: Organization
Many companies don’t have an internal platform that allows their originators to perform their job functions from anywhere at any time. You need to make sure that you have a system that ensures every step of the loan process is being carefully outlined and tracked.
Employees should know what’s expected of them at each step of the process — and clients should be familiar with this process, as well. Rigorous and transparent organization can help put clients at ease, while also assuring them that nothing will accidentally fall through the cracks.
Step 3: Teamwork
Getting buyers into homes requires careful coordination among closing attorneys, Realtors, homebuyers and brokers. Emphasizing the power and quality of this team is paramount to a positive customer experience. When something goes wrong, there’s often the potential for one side to blame the other, but building relationships with other involved professionals can help avoid this.
Doing a good job in this respect also can help you build your pipeline, as Realtors like doing business with originators who can get their clients financed and keep their customers happy. Proper teamwork is at the heart of managing a client’s expectations and ensuring more business will be referred to you in the future.
Step 4: Problem solving
Even with excellent communication, organization and teamwork, problems still can arise in the loan process. If and when you hit a bump in the road, address it as quickly as possible. Clients may not be happy when a hiccup occurs, but they’ll be grateful that you were upfront and honest with them.
Remember, most problems are hidden opportunities, so brokers and originators should perceive them as ways to forge even deeper relationships with clients. After all, if you’re the one who can solve a problem, you become a hero in the eyes of your customer.
Jim Schmidt is a branch manager for Poli Mortgage Group Inc.
He has extensive management, origination, business development and marketing experience that spans more than two decades and encompasses a variety of professional settings. Schmidt joined Poli Mortgage Group in 2001 as a loan originator and, in 2004, became sales manager in addition to his position as a loan originator. Reach him at (781) 801-1436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.