It’s no secret that the last decade has seen drastic changes in customer expectations that are changing the way companies do business. The mortgage business is no exception. Gartner recently reported that 75% of the organizations surveyed have increased investments in customer experience technology in the last year.
With big tech companies like Amazon revolutionizing the way people make online purchases and technological improvements to expedite the process, it is no surprise that customers expect a seamless, digital experience with whatever they are buying.
As the new decade approaches, it is evident that lenders are no longer in the mortgage business but are now in the experience business. This experience is not limited to the homebuyer either – it encompasses the employee and the referral partner.
To remain successful in 2020, lenders need to place an emphasis on technology that supports a better experience for all parties involved.
What to Expect in the Next Decade
From a technology perspective, there will be major changes in the mortgage space. The home-buying process will continue to be expedited with real-time home buying. What has already taken place for the auto industry will trickle into the mortgage industry.
Right now, a consumer can get an auto loan, shop around and buy a car, and have it delivered – all via the Internet. Soon it will be the same concept when buying a home. Advancements in technology will facilitate a better experience to support home buying in real time. As soon as a buyer is approved for a mortgage, they can begin shopping for a house, make the purchase and close on it quickly in a frictionless, digital process.
These changes are already taking place. In fact, 70% of home buyers search for homes online, while more than half of house tours are booked using this same feature.
But why tour a house in person when customers can now use virtual reality? From existing properties to homes still under construction, users can use virtual reality to see the house they are purchasing without ever stepping inside.
Like Amazon, the real estate industry is tapping into predictive technology that takes data insights from consumers to show them houses of interest, beyond the search criteria entered, that will fit their lifestyle. And what happens once a buyer has found the house they want? In the next couple of years, we will see a rise in reliability and use of automated appraisals. Lenders can now use technology to instantly validate income, assets and credit. This, coupled with a rise in the use of automated appraisals, will make it fast and easy for customers to get approved for a home loan.
With Great Technology Comes a Better Experience
These advancements not only improve the home buying process for consumers, but also for the lenders and referral partners. Real estate agents can show customers what’s available faster, from the comfort of their current home. Then, real estate agents can connect buyers with lenders seamlessly.
While it is essential to tap into technology that allows employees to work smarter, not harder, it is important that mortgage lenders focus on their company culture to attract and retain the top talent. The frontline is the face of the organization, and to ensure they are making the best first impression on customers and referral partners, lenders need to create a supportive, solid culture.
A top-down leadership approach that demonstrates the company’s values will help convey these throughout the organization and into the experience between each lender, home buyer and agent.
The mortgage business is – and will continue to be – the experience business. And for a lender to remain successful, it will need to ensure the experience for all parties is a happy one.
If not, customers will not return, referrals will not happen, and employee retention will suffer.
The lender of the future will use technology to be more efficient, freeing up staff to amplify the human touch to truly connect and relate with borrowers and partners.
By leveraging new technology to provide a better overall home buying experience, lenders will get continued business by being referred and rehired again and again.
Rick Mount is regional manager, California, for Churchill Mortgage, a full-service lender offering conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 46 states.