MReport April 2021

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M R EP O RT | 33 FEATURE How Your Vendor's Customer Service Affects Your Bottom Line Learn the '5 Principles of Superior Customer Service.' By Larry Avery W hat's the worst customer service experience you've ever had? We've all had our share of horrific experi- ences, whether with a consumer brand or a business-to-business company. We know first-hand what it's like to be trapped in the labyrinth-like loop of an automated attendant, sitting on hold for what feels like eternity or getting passed around from so-called manager to so-called manager until you finally give up in frustration. When you experience these kinds of ordeals, you can't cut ties with that com- pany fast enough. However, when a company goes above and beyond with service that defies your expectations, you feel the exact opposite. You not only feel positively toward that brand, you feel a sense of affinity, even loyalty. But have you ever thought about how a vendor's great customer service can actually make your business money? Today, especially in commod- itized markets (like credit reporting), truly superior customer service is one of the only real differentia- tors. It's the one thing that allows a company to stand out from the competition, win more customers, and—most importantly—retain them. We know this because at Birchwood we've built our whole business around the concept of delivering service that's beyond our customers' wildest dreams. The thing most people don't realize, however, is that working with a company that focuses on delivering excellent service can actually make an impact on the bottom line. To help you assess a potential vendor's customer service, here are Birchwood's five core principles of outstanding customer service for credit reporting agencies: 1. Exceptional Response Time— Because You Need It Yesterday Time is money, so you don't want to waste even a minute waiting on hold or for a call back. You want immediate attention from someone who can actually help. This is why, at Birchwood, we don't use an automated attendant. We respond in real time. When the situation requires a follow-up conversation, we get back to customers as fast as humanly possible. They really appreciate that. 2. Flexibility—Because You Need Every Advantage You Can Get We know that one size doesn't fit all in the mortgage business, so we provide customized solutions that deliver substantial savings. We work with each customer to develop a service strategy that's designed to work perfectly with their particular business and budget. This gives them the edge against their competitors. 3. Borrower Support—Because Everything Hinges on Your Customer's Satisfaction Every aspect of the mortgage business revolves around the borrower. To help our customers keep their customers happy, we take on a back office role that fully and seamlessly supports our customers' customers. 4. Fast Issue Resolution—Because You Need Answers in Real Time Even with the best-laid plans, there will always be outlier situations that require unique solutions or additional support. Birchwood's open organizational structure is perfectly suited to ad- dress unexpected issues quickly and effectively. Our customers are family. They are "insiders" who always have our immediate support from the bottom up and the top down. 5. Protection for Your Business— Because It Never Hurts to Have Someone Looking Out for You With products like our Portfolio Protector, we help our customers identify credit shoppers before they sign on with a competitor. This helps our customers retain their customers, which we all know is a strong strategy for both profitability and growth. Great Customer Service—More Than Just Convenient O ur five principles of stellar customer service are, of course, most relevant to the busi- ness we're in as a credit reporting agency. However, they can be adapted to help you vet any orga- nization, so you can choose your vendors and partners wisely. Remember, this kind of service doesn't just make your day-to- day life easier. It also helps you make more money by saving you time and giving you a very real competitive advantage in your own market. Learn more about how to strengthen and grow your business by getting your credit reporting with the absolute best customer service in the industry at . LARRY AVERY has been with Birchwood Credit Services for almost two decades. He is the EVP of Sales, excelling in partnership over vendorship. SPONSORED CONTENT

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