PERSON OF THE WEEK: During the past several years, the mortgage banking industry has faced more than a few unhappy customers. But the industry can learn from its mistakes by placing a greater emphasis on customer service.
For insight on how to keep a smile on the customers' faces, MortgageOrb spoke with Robert T. Chasteen-Scheer, senior vice president of operations at Rockville, Md.-based Coester Valuation Management Services.
Q: In your opinion, what are the most common customer service mistakes that occur at today's mortgage banking companies?
Chasteen-Scheer: The most common customer service mistake is not keeping the borrower up to speed with constant communication or updates as to where their file is in the loan process.
Q: What role should executive management play in monitoring the level of a company's customer service?
Chasteen-Scheer: Executive management has a direct and heavy influence in a company's customer service. Effective influence comes in the form of training employees with a clear and concise message of the company's vision. Leading by example daily and consistently training staff will create a customer-first environment.
Q: What kind of incentives should a company offer to employees who perform exemplary customer service?
Chasteen-Scheer: There are several types of incentives employees can be rewarded with when an employee shows outstanding customer service skills. Staff can be rewarded with bonuses, gift cards and/or a non-work-related fun-filled event on- or off-site. Another proven method is recognition with plaques, awards and company announcements.
Q: What kind of a contingency program should a company prepare to handle any variety of customer service problems?
Chasteen-Scheer: The first tactic when customer service issues arise is to approach the client with the issue once the problem is recognized. It is better to be proactive than to react to a customer complaint.Â
However, in situations where the customer brings the issue to the attention of the company, a priority tiered complaint escalation process is extremely useful in identifying the severity of an issue and how it should be handled.