Help your Consumers Help Themselves – and Cut Your Cost to Service

Most people these days are in a hurry. Waiting can be aggravating. Advances in technology have made everything from getting a ride to ordering groceries much quicker, requiring less manual effort. Amazon Prime, Walmart’s new grocery delivery service and other quick-ship outlets have practically conditioned consumers to expect immediate service. A study published on The Value of Customer Self-Service in the Digital Age found that 75 percent of consumers say a ‘fast response time’ is the most important attribute of the customer experience.

Those trends transcend other arenas as well, especially in the world of service. Generally speaking, most customers contact a call center because there is an issue to resolve. By the time they’ve gotten on the phone, they’re likely already anxious for a solution. Their frustration increases when it takes longer than expected to speak to a live agent, and worse still, if the agent doesn’t provide the kind of service the consumer was expecting. A Consumer Reports study found that 57 percent of people had been so frustrated with customer service over the phone that they hung up without a resolution.

Digital self-service increases customer satisfaction in the mortgage servicing sector

The mortgage servicing industry places a high value on providing a superior customer service experience. After all, a house is often the largest purchase a person will make in their lifetime. Borrowers expect to have instant access to account information and a quick resolution should any problems arise, but that hasn’t always been their experience. Consumer satisfaction related to mortgage servicers has been on the decline for years. The 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study found that the overall mortgage servicer satisfaction rating was 777 on a 1,000 point scale[1], which is the lowest rating of any industry group studied by J.D. Power.

In addition to identifying areas that need improvement, the study also found:

  • 60% of customers access information via a mortgage servicer’s website
  • 31% access information via mobile technology

Call centers have traditionally been the preferred method of communication for customers. Some Fortune 500 companies operate as many as 30 call centers each[2] to handle the volume of inquiries. But the cost associated with effectively operating these call centers has grown exponentially. Studies show the average cost of interacting with a live customer service representative (CSR) has risen 38 percent over the past decade. Some of that increase is due to high levels of turnover in the industry. It costs companies quite a bit to hire, train and retain quality talent. Increased construction costs have also contributed to rising expenses. But even as the costs keep rising, is the benefit to the consumer also improving by that same percentage? If the answer is ‘no,’ then today’s companies need to re-think their strategy.

 

 

Self-service Technologies

While call centers still play a prominent role in customer service, there’s a fundamental shift that needs to take place in order to deliver the customer service experience that meet or exceeds consumer expectations. Call centers, without the accompanying digital tools, do not fully empower the consumer. That’s why providing an omni-channel digital solution through the addition of self-service technologies (SSTs) is more important than ever.

These digital solutions include:

  • Mobile applications and intuitive websites with click-to-call or call me now features
  • Automated callback when on hold
  • Web and mobile chat centers
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Collectively, these SSTs can reduce the dependence on call centers and therefore provide new avenues in which consumers can access information in real-time.

Moving Mortgages Forward

For that reason, many forward-thinking servicers are focused on investing in self-service technologies. They make sense from a business perspective as they are highly effective, provide measurable benefits and help consumers get answers to common requests including how to:

  • Make a payment / set up autodraft
  • Manage / view notifications
  • View statements and documents
  • Access account history
  • View escrow details
  • Retrieve 1098 documents
  • Access FAQs
  • Payoff mortgage
  • Access equity in their home

With access to so much information at their fingertips, SSTs have been proven to reduce call center volumes. This enhanced level of digital interaction ultimately saves money by redirecting callers with general inquiries from the queue, freeing up CSRs to handle the more complex questions that require additional industry expertise. This approach puts the servicer in a partnership position with the consumer, giving them the support and tools to succeed.

An article in the Harvard Business Review says servicers that adopt this technology can expect positive results, “Corporate investment in self-service technologies has been enormously effective at removing low-complexity issues from the live service queue.” This is especially important because, as a Yankee group research report found, the average cost of serving a customer via the CSR-assisted telephony system costs more than $5.50 per interaction compared to the web-based self-service, which costs only $0.24. [3]

Improving Satisfaction

For servicers, providing a best-in-class digital consumer experience has the ability to pay off in the long run. Not only does it fit the usage patterns of today’s tech savvy customers, it increases the likelihood that they will be repeat customers. Generally speaking, a servicer’s largest prospect for new business comes from its current list of clients. This is why it is incumbent upon servicers to provide a digital experience that keep consumers coming back for an experience that previously exceeded their expectations.

The EXOS Servicing Solution

For more than four years, the EXOS Servicing platform has been providing a superior consumer digital experience. Expertly engineered and intuitively designed, EXOS Servicing is a market-proven mobile app that allows consumers to be fully self-sufficient and manage most aspects of their mortgage, anywhere, at any time. Customized alerts and push notifications provide real-time information which reduce the need for follow up phone calls and emails. EXOS Servicing was designed by servicing professionals, in partnership with LoanCare, one of the industry’s top three subservicers with more than 1.5 million mortgages.

To learn more about this technology solution, visit meetexos.com/servicing.

Contributors: Morgan Fields, Sarah Kapis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] JD Power: 2019 Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study

[2] Impact of Customer Web Portals on Call Center: An Empirical Analysis

[3] Impact of Customer Web Portals on Call Center: An Empirical Analysis