PERSON OF THE WEEK: When it comes to home transactions, fast and efficient communication between the various parties involved is critical.
The challenge to achieving fast and efficient communication, however, is to get everyone on the same platform – or at the very least, getting everyone to agree which platforms are going to be used. This is also important when considering that the different parties involved in a home transaction – from real estate agents to LOs to title agents, escrow agents and attorneys – often have distinctly different wants of communicating.
To learn more about the importance of communication in the home purchase process MortgageOrb recently interviewed Roxana Davidoff, CEO of Big Purple Dot, which offers an ecosystem of mortgage marketing technologies including CRM lead management, lead recapture, predictive analysis, and video production and texting.
Q: What should a good communication platform do?
Davidoff: Every loan officer works with multiple business partners, including Realtors, builders, title agents and AMCs, who not only fulfill different roles but also work and communicate quite differently. Each of them, however, has a vested interest in a successful closing. This is why a good communication platform must be able to streamline and enhance collaboration between different business partners in addition to the consumer.
There have been many attempts at creating such a platform, but very few have been successful.
Q: How should a good communication platform work for a consumer?
Davidoff: First off, it has to be fast. Timing is critical for prospective borrowers, whether they’re interested in buying or refinancing a home. No one has the time or patience to reach out to a lender or an agent for help, leave a message, and wait hours for someone to get back to them.
Multiple studies have determined that if you respond within one minute, you’ll have the highest rate of contact. So when a lead comes in, you need a platform that enables you to respond immediately.
Second, the platform must have the ability to communicate with borrowers in whatever way the borrower prefers, whether that’s text messaging (SMS), video message, email, telephone, or any combination of these methods. The key is being able to connect with each customer and provide them with a personalized experience that makes them feel comfortable throughout the process.
Q: How does SMS video help a transaction?
Davidoff: Everyone uses SMS video differently, Some people use it to provide helpful, 15-second tips to their clients throughout the process. Others use it to provide clients with an update on their transaction.
This is especially beneficial these days, with so much business now being conducted remotely. The advantage of video over plain text messaging or voicemails is that it’s far more personable, which helps loan officers build stronger bonds with their clients. Nothing makes a client happier than knowing their loan officer is there when they need them, and video is the next best thing to being there in person.
Q: Doesn’t the lack of in-person interaction interfere with the originator-customer relationship?
Davidoff: There will always be borrowers who prefer an in-person experience, but a growing number of consumers are comfortable working remotely with their lenders.
Researchers at McKinsey have done some interesting work around this topic. They found about two-thirds of borrowers who are buying or refinancing their home would be okay with completing the entire transaction online, without in-person or even phone support. What consumers really want from their lenders, they found, was the ability to things right the first time, fast pre-approvals, quick, 24/7 updates, and a single point of contact.
With the right communication platform, any loan officer can achieve these things. However, you still need to be creative about how to establish a relationship with the borrower, which is where SMS video can make a huge impact. I’ve seen some very creative and effective strategies from our clients.
Q: What do you consider the most important aspect of CRM?
Davidoff: It’s really all about communication. Response speed is important, and so is the ability to determine good leads from bad ones. But ultimately, a good CRM should empower lenders and loan officers to deliver the best experience their client could possibly imagine. That can only happen by using a collaborative, interactive platform that keeps your clients informed, and enables you and your partners to stay in touch with them for one of the biggest transactions of their lives, all the way to the closing table.
Q: What can make a transaction go south?
Davidoff: For most consumers, buying a home is stressful and anxiety-ridden process, which is why it’s so important to always be there for your clients. Once a borrower feels unsure about what is happening with their transaction, they start to feel uneasy. They may worry about whether their loan officer has forgotten about them or is spending more time and attention on a larger client.
The longer it takes a loan officer to respond to a borrower, the more unhappy the borrower becomes. Ultimately, they may choose to cut the cord and look elsewhere for financing—or worse, they’ll complain about you online.
Of course, loan officers can’t be everywhere at once, which is why the communication platform they use is so vital. It’s important to have the right tools to be successful in this business, so it’s imperative to choose wisely.