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TMP Lender Spotlight on American Brokers Conduit

Nov 21, 2006

Customer service always mattersJeff BarrCustomer service improvement tips Customer service is the driving force for a successful company. Without it, a business cannot succeed. Providing a top product is crucial. However, converting and maintaining clients is driven by customer service. Here are some things to remember: • The old adage "the customer is always right" still should be in force. Customers may not always be correct, but never tell them that. They are always correct in their own eyes. • Listen to the needs of your customers. It will help you sell them what they want. • Learn from past experiences with other customers. Never prejudge a customer for any reason. Listen carefully for potential customer service issues such as rate and cost concerns. • Follow up when you tell the customer you will. For instance, my local cable company said they would call back with quotes and service times, but never did. If you are a wholesale representative and cannot make an appointment, kindly call the broker and advise him. • Be uniform in your pricing. Again referring to the cable company, I was quoted one price on one day and another the next. One customer service representative did not know when a promotion began. Please make sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. • Send written letters of thanks to customers in a timely fashion. All companies should get into the habit of properly corresponding with their past and future clients. • Put yourself in the place of your customers. Treat them like you want to be treated! • Do not pester them or send too many e-mails. Even a motivated borrower needs some room to ponder his decision. A soft approach will work just fine. • Stick to your price quotes. If you are in a volatile market such as mortgages, prepare your customers for changes that may occur. Explain to them that the market conditions will influence the rates available. Stress the importance of providing necessary documents at application time to enable the loans to be locked as quickly as possible. • Remember to be positive and upbeat. If you are confident, so is your customer. • You are selling your name, organization and potential profits. Do it correctly the first time. Other general industry customer service considerations include things, such as the following. • Deliver the product in a timely fashion. If you pledge a delivery time, make sure you stick to it! • Assess the needs of the customers and listen to their needs—for instance, an adjustable vs. fixed rate. • Answer questions in a customer manual to the best of your knowledge. If you do not know, obtain answers from the appropriate sources. Do the grunt work for your customer. • Respond to phone calls and e-mails received after hours and on weekends in a timely fashion. • Attend all closings and review documents in advance. • Work professionally with your service partners (real estate agents, insurance consultants, attorneys and appraisers). Demonstrate professionalism, and they will return the favor. Customer service has many facets in the sales process. Focus on working with both external and internal customers. Executing a sale can be complicated. Use common sense, strong ethics and creativity when developing a logical customer service pattern. It will be profitable for both you and your company. Jeff Barr is a competent toastmaster and speaker in Louisville, Ky., an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Louisville and a mortgage loan officer. He can be reached at (502) 777-9555 or e-mail at [email protected].
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