While utilizing customer feedback to drive key business decisions isn’t entirely new to the mortgage industry, the type of information now available has drastically shifted in recent years. Gone are the days in which social media was merely thought of as an avenue for sharing photos and reconnecting with lost friends and classmates. Social media has transformed into a direct line into the mind of the customer, as consumers freely share their opinions on various products, services and brands with their friends, family and followers. Due to the uninhibited nature of today’s consumers, social media is a less biased data source in comparison to traditional surveys or focus groups.
Social media serves as an opportunity to better connect lenders with their customers, and the expanding volume of available data makes social media a highly valuable resource. Utilized to its fullest, social media can help lenders to understand and improve customer experience. Ultimately, its benefit to the business is to win new customers and keep existing ones happy. Social media like LinkedIn can also be used to deepen relationships with real estate brokers, builders, and other key B2B partners that help you to drive originations.
So what exactly can lenders learn from analyzing social data?
Leveraging social media to uncover customer pain points
Outside of traditional customer feedback channels, such as call centers and surveys, social media analysis can provide a more detailed account of customer sentiment by studying large volumes of data being shared about lenders’ business, products and services.
Regardless of if the customer has had a positive or negative experience with a given organization, people turn to social media to voice their opinions. By thoroughly analyzing customer commentary, lenders can more easily identify key pain points and begin taking action to improve the issue before it turns into a larger-scale problem.
No matter the size of the company in question, consumers want to feel important to the organizations they work with and will respond positively to efforts made to improve any problems or inconveniences they experience. Proactively identifying and addressing key customer pain points reassures the customer that their lender is aware of their concerns and truly cares about their overall customer experience. In the end, consistently monitoring and addressing customer problems shared through social media can significantly reduce the risk of attrition and further spread of negative brand sentiment.
Social media for customer acquisition and retention
In addition to serving as a valuable tool for uncovering problems, social media data can be of great use for lenders as a means for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.
Lenders can leapfrog their competitors by consistently monitoring social media channels for unhappy customers and presenting viable alternative to resolve the customer’s current plight. To accomplish this objective, lenders have to active thought leaders. They should publish useful online content via social media to draw attention to their strengths and value proposition.
From a customer retention standpoint, lenders can personally address any issues expressed via social media. Because consumers often turn to social media to air their frustrations about the companies they work with, lenders can solidify their relationship with a given customer by engaging them directly to provide a resolution to the problem. Social media offers lenders the prime (and free) opportunity to market their products and services to existing customers while also providing a convenient communication channel for any questions or concerns.
Boost your brand by engaging influencers
Taking social media’s use as a customer acquisition tool a step further, tapping into the power of social media influencers can help lenders further beef up their online strategy and serve as an added advantage over the competition. But what classifies a user as an “influencer?”
While there are a multitude of factors that make up influencers, such as high social media following, Klout scores and engagement with other users, the basic differentiator is their ability to drive action among their followers.
For example, should a displeased customer with a high social media influence share their discontent, this negative sentiment could potentially spread much more quickly than that of an average social media user. Without the proper response, the negative experience of one could continue to rapidly spread across the Web and wreak havoc on a lender’s business.
The key to preventing such a catastrophe lies in reaching out to these influential individuals first and as early as possible before their negative opinions spread in order to maintain a positive brand perception. Additionally, it is important for lenders to proactively reach out and engage with influencers that share positive experiences and praise.
Just as negative experiences can have a dramatic impact on an organization, positive feedback can significantly boost overall brand awareness, which will in turn strengthen existing customers’ confidence in expanding their relationship and motivate others to become potential new customers.
Bottom line … when used correctly, social media can be one of the most valuable business tools readily available to lenders today.
Outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can provide lenders with a constantly growing source of customer feedback as well as a free channel to proactively engage with them in real time. With the right strategy in place, social media can serve as a highly diverse tool for lenders to not only improve customer experiences, but also expand their business.
Steven J. Ramirez is CEO of Beyond the Arc Inc., a customer experience and advanced analytics firm helps financial services clients identify opportunities to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. He may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or call (877) 676-3743.