Perfect Harmony

How lenders can create a better customer experience by combining multiple technologies

Mortgage Banker Magazine

Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) companies are making it easy for lenders to tap into new data sets; yet, not all data is created equally. Leveraging behavioral data sets widens the view of the consumer, helping lenders deliver better customer experiences and increase their marketing performance. Multiple technologies can cloud that picture. It’s important to find a true partner in your DaaS provider. One works with you on your outreach strategies, and one who uses data and intelligence to connect to known consumer wants, desires, and needs based on actual consumer behavior. We know this formula drives better engagement and higher acquisition, growth, and retention. It’s just more relevant as we look at the digital evolution. 

Mortgage Banker: How has leveraging data evolved in the last few years?

Mike Eshelman: Initially, a client would monitor a consumer list, someone who they care about, and we would just signal yes or no. Did we witness them in-market for a mortgage? We took it to the next level as we understood the data of which we had access. We built algorithms to understand how consumers were interacting with comparison shopping sites. 

We were able to identify if they were in-market, and what they were in market for. For example, we could identify a refinance versus home purchase journey, which enabled marketers to send the right type of engagement, which could be, "Hey, if you're in-market for a mortgage, we'd like to help you.” Or more focused messages like, "Thinking about a refinance? We can help you with that,” or "Are you looking for a new home?" This approach allowed them to target the messaging in an accurate way that's appreciated by the consumer.

Today, we’re able to identify the level of intent, the time of day the consumer typically shops, how frequently they shop, and their specific journey. This evolution in consumer behavior identification and classification allows for our clients to understand the day of week or time of day. From there they can determine when is the best time to get in front of this consumer, and when is it likely that they have time to have a conversation or research. As a result, we're seeing an increase in answer rates, email engagement rates, and display ad engagements because they’re being delivered at the most appropriate time.

One other distinction is that there's consumer generated data and then there's machine learning generated data. It’s important to understand micro data sets about a consumer, their behaviors, and have algorithms or machines determine the best next engagement. As an example, I know of clients who are not only modeling who to market, based on a lot of data, but modeling their loan officer staff as well. This helps them match the loan officer to the consumer for optimal conversion rates, which is relatively new. I've only heard of that really coming about in the last few years. Let’s say you know a consumer is a veteran and you have a loan officer who is also a veteran. You want to match those two up, because there's going to be an instant bond. Then you'll see conversion rates tick up. 

Now take that a million times deeper with leveraging big data to understand personality match, etc. between consumers and loan officers, which now has gained traction over the last couple of years. And I would classify that under that 90 percent as well.

Mortgage Banker: How can mortgage lenders harmoniously implement different technologies to create an effective retention strategy and improve customer experience?

Mike Eshelman: There are different datasets and different technologies that are purpose-built for mortgages. This typically means they're not purpose-built for the marketing function, which usually controls the customer experience. So, we typically see lenders who have multiple platforms that are stitched together. And if some data lives in one platform and other data lives in another platform, it can be fragmented in trying to create a good customer experience.

Those that I see having the most success may have multiple platforms that they're stitching together, but they have one platform that's considered the source of truth about a customer, which is something I feel is key. It's using this source of truth to build and deploy the journey mapping of the customer experience and creating a seamless campaign.

I wish my mortgage servicer were a client of mine. I receive about four emails a week that communicate, "Are you interested in refinance? Rates are low. Are you thinking about selling your house? Get pre-approved for your next home. Are you thinking about moving? Do you need cash out?" The message is so back and forth crazy, it's a buckshot. Just casting a wide net to see what hits.

But if they were to understand more about when the right time is to market to me, I would be more open to moving forward with them should I be in-market for something. But I'm so disappointed in how they just blast email me all the time. I don't want to do business with them.

Some lenders are not only modeling who to market, but modeling their loan officer staff as well. This helps them match the loan officer to the consumer for optimal conversion rates.

In returning to the question on harmoniously implementing different technologies, a colleague of mine compares it to an orchestra. If you have one musician in the orchestra who is off key, missing the notes, and just clearly not on the same page as others, it stands out terribly. So, make sure that as you're using these multiple platforms, which are like musicians, they work well together and create beautiful music from a marketing standpoint. It's going to be appreciated and recognized by the consumer who, over time, has been demanding a better personalized customer experience.

There's a great quote that caught my eye on an email list that I was on that says, "In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." And so, this pandemic has changed so much and forced loan officers to work from home. 

Yet, it’s created a massive amount of mortgage volume with incredibly low rates. A rising tide lifts all boats. Everyone's swimming in this high tide right now. However, as rates are starting to tick up, the MBA and others are predicting that the latter half of the year the refinance wave is going to be pretty much gone. This is going to be a successful purchase market.

Everyone who’s dependent on living in this refinance-dominated origination production cycle will soon be struggling to figure out how to survive and feed all of the mouths that they've hired over the past year when rates increase. And it's going to be those who understand how to leverage various and new data sets to keep in front of the consumers who are still in-market; to market them well and efficiently and to continue to survive and thrive. Those that are just surviving from what previously worked years ago are going to struggle quite a bit. When the tide goes out, we’ll find out who has been swimming naked.

Mortgage Banker Magazine
This article was originally published in the Mortgage Banker June 2021 issue.
Published on
Jun 01, 2021
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