November 2012

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 79

FEATURE handling similar responsibilities at Amazon). "We have been a word- of-mouth company since our inception in 1922, with much of our growth coming as a result of members sharing their experiences with friends and family," he told a consultant back in 2010. In that sense, letting customers share their happy experiences online is just a stickier extension of the firm's previous base-building efforts. Making that wave of exist- ing customers happy is critical. Collecting "likes" on Facebook and followers on Twitter is one thing, but how do you get those patrons to come back time and again? Give 'em something they can use. Personal financial management tools and interactive portals give consumers a sense of ownership in their financial decisions . . . and a stake in the success of your brand. "The need to connect people to their money, to target cross-sell and up-sell messages and otherwise monetize account activity and data, is a big priority," King says. But your efforts don't occur in realistic, though—as any mortgage pro who's ever heard a would-be borrower mention Trulia or Zillow can tell you. If information wants to be free, disinformation does, too. Which means that for every high-info customer, there's another who thinks he knows all the rel- evant comparables and the interest rate he deserves, even if he doesn't know the difference between a BPO and a CDO. The challenge for lenders is how to combat misinformation on the web—about Those expectations aren't always just out of curiosity, I went to see if a certain major mortgage bank had any customer feedback on the site, too. Sure enough, there was this one-star review: "Its 'Customer Service' is HOR- RIBLE. Its business practices are DECEPTIVE. I caution all people seeking a loan to do busi- ness with another bank." Yikes! On Facebook, "It's complicated" has long been an acceptable option for users updating their relationship status, and it goes for businesses, too. complaints isn't just a good idea; it's the law. "For USAA, and any financial services organization, the two main challenges lie in letting go of brand and messag- ing control and ensuring proper regulatory compliance," Vaughn said. That's right: UGC can often provide the first tip about would-be Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP), as they're defined by the Dodd-Frank financial reforms. The flip side is that you'd better not make promises online that you can't keep, since the CFPB now reserves the right to review all your marketing materials for UDAAP violations, "including print, radio, television, telephone, Internet, or social media advertising." It's a good idea to keep a it's about what your customers think." Which means that, just like anyone trying to maintain a relationship, "you need to continuously listen." Of course, monitoring these a vacuum. If this is like online dating, your customers are likelier these days to be promiscuous. Thanks to Google and viral content sharing, high-information consumers are more numerous and fiercer than ever—they exhibit less desire for personal financial assistance, and lower tolerance for holdups and headaches in ad- ministration. Which means you'd better make the most of a first impression to earn some loyalty from online patrons. "The internet is undermining the meaning of customer relationships, as it is easy for customers to move around and search for better deals, write the analysts at Finland-based IT research and consulting firm Tieto. "And, because consumers are increasingly accustomed to sophisticated segmentation tools, such as the personal recommenda- tions based on previous purchases offered by Amazon, they expect specially tailored financial products that meet their needs. " 32 | THE M REPORT " Ann Minch took to YouTube to air her greivances with BofA's practices, garnering more than 500,000 views. where to seek help, who's looking out for borrowers, and what's re- ally going on inside the banks. It's helpful, then, to be patient and to be proactive. Know some places online that your customers can get the info they need—not just on your web properties, but reputable sites outside your control—to establish the trust that every relationship is built upon. "It's Complicated" T on the user-review site Yelp, and he other day, I was looking for a good local restaurant Today's lenders can quickly find themselves under attack, fairly or not, from customer complaints in user-generated content (UGC)— over the cost of a product, fees and penalties, points of contact, and more. If you don't act swiftly and smartly, you could end up "single" again. "There is a clear disconnect between the experience companies think they deliver and what customers experience, perceive and—more importantly—desire," writes Becky Carroll, a San Diego-based social media consultant. "It's not about what you think . . . . hotline open between social media managers and compliance officers. Schedule regular training and brown-bag powwows between the departments, so the online gurus can tell compliance what they see and how they see it, and compliance can tell them what to look for. For that matter, consider running text analytics on com- ments—whether in your Facebook timeline, in the Twittersphere, or on your own sites. It doesn't take much work to set up some regular sweeps for red flags and recurring buzzwords. But be care- ful about setting up automatic re- sponses! As with phone-tree voice messages, customers can smell a generic response to their query from a mile away. And at the point where they complain about a service or a fee, they're look- ing to you to treat their case as specific and important. A miscue with a customer in cyberspace can do far more damage than a delayed but authentic response, or none at all.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - November 2012