How's your bedside manner?Randall Schlangercustomer service, professionalism
Several weeks ago, I spent the weekend in the hospital with the
worst backache of my life. After a battery of tests, I was told
that I am suffering from three degenerated discs as well as spinal
stenosis (a congenital narrowing of the spinal canal). I was told
to see a surgeon, since the only remedy would be extensive surgery.
As instructed, I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for
further evaluation. When I arrived at the doctor's office, I was
met in the exam room by physician's assistant (PA). After the
formalities were done, he asked me what brought me to his office. I
explained the situation and preliminary diagnosis. The PA then took
my MRI films into another room to review them and returned a few
minutes later. After reviewing the films, I was told that surgery
is the only option for my condition. Trying to come to the
appointment as educated as possible, I had already done research on
the Internet regarding my condition. This is the point at which I
started to ask questions that I had already outlined before the
appointment. I had a list of approximately 20 questions regarding
the procedure and the expected outcome. After four or five
questions, the PA cut me off and said that yes, this is major
surgery, however, they do it everyday and it is nothing to be
concerned with. He said that the surgeon had looked at the films
and felt confident that they would be able to correct the problem.
When I asked if I could talk to the surgeon, I was told that he was
busy and would meet with me during a pre-operative appointment.
That was the end of our professional relationship.
As I left the doctor's office, I began to think back on my years
in the mortgage business. In my mind, I began to draw a parallel
between my doctor visit and all of the mortgage clients I have
worked with over the years. This made me ask myself, "How is my
bedside manner?" Was I dismissive of the borrower's concerns and
questions? Did I take the time to make sure that they felt
comfortable with the process?
As mortgage professionals, we sometimes lose sight of the fact
that the mortgages we deal with everyday are the largest financial
decisions most people make in their lives. Every month, we take
applications, process loans and attend closings. We shouldn't lose
sight of the fact that once the customer gives us their
documentation and signed disclosures, they don't see what goes on
behind the scenes. For borrowers, waiting for an underwriting
decision is like waiting for test results from their doctor. The
bottom line is that we should not keep our customers in the dark.
When the loan is in the processing stage, call your borrower and
let them know what timeframe you are estimating to get to the
closing table. Reassure them that there have been no surprises in
the loan so far and let them know where you are in the process. If
there is a snag, create a plan of action to resolve the issue and
then call the borrower to let him or her know what the problem is
and how you plan to resolve it. This is your borrower's back
surgery; how's your bedside manner?
Randy Schlanger is an education development manager for the
Capstone Institute of Mortgage Finance. He has been working in the
mortgage and finance industry since the late 1980s. Randy can be
reached at (770) 956-8252 or e-mail [email protected]