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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2012

Check Client Preferences

Integrate technology in your client-communication strategy

Effective communication with clients is a critical part of a loan originator’s job. It helps clients know where they are in the loan process and what documents they need to gather for key milestones. With various software programs and social media sites being an integral part of our daily lives, loan originators can use technology to ensure consistent communication with clients.

Here are five easy ways to build better communication through today’s available solutions.

1. E-mail status updates

These are simple to do and only take a few minutes. E-mail status updates are a great way for loan originators to regularly get valuable information to clients. These e-mails can follow a generic template that a loan originator or assistant fills in with loan-specific information. There are five key points where e-mail is an appropriate method of communication: pre-approval, conditional approval, appraisal ordered, final approval and funding.

In addition, e-mails keep everyone informed and help to prevent interested parties — like the selling agent — from having to call the loan originator for constant updates. The ability to stand out from the pack by providing good customer service can result in referrals from Realtors and their business partners through positive word-of-mouth advertising.

"Although technology can virtually eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings, it also makes it easier for loan originators to get out of the office."

2. Video updates

In-person meetings with a client often can be difficult to arrange due to outside obligations and conflicting work schedules. Mortgage originators can utilize video-conferencing services like Skype, Google Hangouts or ooVoo to set a virtual face-to-face meeting. Video conferencing allows loan originators to be in front of their borrowers and other referral partners in a way that helps humanize the process and helps you stay better connected. It also helps clients feel that loan originators are more accessible.

Although many mortgage professionals believe in the importance of video updates, only a few may actually be using this solution. Because many of us have access to a tablet, laptop or computer with a camera and access to the Internet, video conferencing is a simple way to communicate and connect with clients.

3. Messaging

Messaging increasingly is becoming part of business communication practices. More clients find it to be an effective form of quick communication, as well. If a client doesn’t have access to a fax machine or scanner, a phone camera can be used to take a picture of a document and then can be sent via multimedia messaging to the loan originator who, in turn, will be able to save it or e-mail it wherever necessary.

Texting also is a great way to get in touch with clients quickly. Many clients are more likely to look at a text and respond faster than they do via e-mail.

4. Online apps and portals

People have busy schedules, and loan originators can work with their clients to have as much as possible done through online apps and portals. They can enable clients, for example, to securely sign documents and have them delivered back to the loan originator.

Portals also allow busy clients to complete the loan process whenever they are available. In many cases, these portals even allow clients to start the process and come back to it at a later time, something that would be difficult to do during a face-to-face meeting. This self-service approach saves the loan originator time and gives clients the opportunity to read through documents at their own pace in the comfort of their own environment.

5. Face-to-face meetings

Although technology can virtually eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings, it also makes it easier for loan originators to get out of the office. What used to require a desktop computer connected to an office network now can be done on a tablet.

This technological mobility allows meetings to take place outside the office — in a coffee shop or any other location that’s convenient for the client. Presentations also can be given on a tablet without the need for a projector and a conference room. This face time with clients and Realtors also helps to build a strong rapport that can increase the number of referrals down the line and make everyone more open to meeting virtually throughout the loan process.

•  •  •

The preceding five strategies for communication via technology should be just one part of an overall client communication plan that originators tailor to their own clients’ needs. Mortgage brokers and originators who provide good service and good communication throughout the loan process are able to build a large base of happy clients, which in turn may lead to more referrals and more business.

With that in mind, remember there is no single solution that fits all circumstances. It is important, therefore, to check with new clients on their preferences in terms of communication styles and technology. Some may be more traditional and prefer face-to-face meetings, others may go for virtual meetings whenever possible, and many may prefer a mix of the two.

Note your clients’ preferred communication styles and be adaptable to their preferences. The most successful loan originators are those who learn about their clients and are able to work with them throughout the process in a way that best suits their clients’ needs. If originators do the opposite and expect their clients to conform to their ways of communication, they may set themselves up for failure.


 


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