The Skill That Makes Loan Officers Invaluable
Today’s nonstop mortgage technology advancements have many loan officers wondering if they will soon be replaced by software. But that’s not going to happen. Although digital technology can take care of repetitive tasks like data entry, and clients are loving the idea of handling a lot of the mortgage process online, people have the most important tasks: empathy, relationship building and understanding. By providing the human touch, combined with digital innovation, you can give your clients the best of both worlds.
According to a recent Ellie Mae Borrower Insights Survey, borrowers are still craving human interaction throughout the digitally focused loan process. Last year, communication between lenders and borrowers increased by 20%. This demand for ongoing human communication is something successful loan officers can’t overlook. It’s even an important factor for young home buyers who are often entering the housing market for the first time. They have questions and concerns, and that’s why the human ability to build personal connections is more important than ever.
Empathy Is Irreplaceable
Every client has a deeper reason for seeking a mortgage besides the apparent financial need. Maybe the client is ready to start a family or needs to consolidate student loan debt. Identifying a client’s true motivation for buying is an important way to find the loan option that works best for them. It’s also a skill that technology isn’t prepared to tackle, but that loan officers are uniquely qualified for. Building a one-on-one relationship that’s based on mutual trust and respect makes clients feel more fully engaged than simply filling out forms online.
Despite the many benefits of digital mortgage technology, home buyers still want to meet with experts in person at some point during the process. Twenty-three percent of borrowers polled by Ellie Mae cited face-to-face interaction as the second greatest opportunity for improvement. In other words – meeting clients in person is a great way to improve the customer experience and boost retention. While technology is an incredible supplement for efficiency in the mortgage process, clients are less likely to share personal thoughts with an online survey or email prompt.
Ways You Can Build A Connection
There are a few questions you can ask to engage clients and reach their specific needs. A question like, “What can I help you accomplish with our loan offer?” establishes early on that you want to help clients and your assistance goes beyond just a mortgage transaction. This idea sets a tone throughout the rest of the process that the two of you are working together to achieve something like “helping pay for college” rather than simply “getting a mortgage.” Another question to ask is, “Have you tried other lenders in the past?” If your client answers yes, you can follow up by asking what went wrong with the process in order to avoid those same issues. If you are assisting with their first loan, that is also valuable information to know. Your client is more likely to return if you make a good impression. You can ask, “Are there any concerns you have about starting a loan?” By showing empathy, you can discover what a client worries about. By providing solid answers, you’re positioning yourself as a trusted advisor about the mortgage process. Even if your client says they have no concerns, you’ve shown that you’re willing to listen if something comes up in the future.
Providing innovative digital mortgage technology is important, but it’s only one part of the home loan process. When you bring the human touch, listen to your client’s needs and become someone they trust, you can increase customer satisfaction. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions a person can make. When you establish that you’re there for them, they’ll keep coming back and refer their friends and family back to you, too. Do you have any advice for loan officers about establishing trust and confidence? Leave us a comment.