How to Build Loyalty & Boost Retention in Today’s Ever-Challenging Market

“Customers for life. “Lifelong borrowers.” “Clients that are eternally yours.”

We all have different terms for them—some are a bit more lighthearted than others—but the meaning is always the same: A customer who turns to you no matter what their needs may be, whether it’s another home purchase, a mortgage refinance, or an additional service that you provide. Put simply, loyal and returning customers are the lifeblood of a loan officer’s business.

But as you certainly know, connecting with prospects and transforming these leads into customers for life may be the most challenging aspect of a loan officer’s job—especially in today’s housing market. After a slight reprieve in December, mortgage interest rates are once again on the rise and approaching the 7% mark. The most recent Existing Home Sales report revealed that on an annual basis, sales dropped to the lowest level since 1995. The market is also contending with soaring home prices (the median price reached a record high of $389,800 in 2023) and ever-shrinking housing supply (unsold inventory sits at just a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace).

What it all means is that building loyalty and boosting retention is more essential than ever. In the latest Volly Insights blog post, we will share tips on how to create customers for life in today’s tough housing market.

Connect—and stay connected

Our high interest rate environment has created a “locked-in” effect for existing homeowners. Having secured an affordable rate when they purchased, these consumers are reluctant to re-enter the market and sell their properties. At the same time, elevated rates have left mortgage holders unsure if refinancing still benefits them.

Even if you have customers who fall into these categories, staying connected with them is a must—that way when they do need home financing services, they are ready to work with you. An impactful CRM solution can help you accomplish this important goal.

For example, the right CRM platform could schedule and dispatch an email campaign focusing on a sudden drop in interest rates or an unexpected bump in home inventory.

Deliver the best customer experience

At its essence, customer retention is about driving loyalty. Customers who are loyal to your brand are less likely to work with one of your competitors and more likely to return to you for their next loan transaction.

So, what drives customer loyalty? Delivering a seamless and satisfying customer experience. According to a survey by software engineer Zendesk, 81% of customers said a positive customer service experience with a company increased the chances of them making another purchase with that company. Additionally, a Salesforce survey revealed that 88% of buyers consider a customer experience to be just as important as a company’s products or services.

With the right marketing automation solution, you could efficiently guide a customer through the entire lending process—from pre-approval to closing day. And by delivering a more satisfying borrower experience, a customer will be more likely to work with you on their next loan as well as refer you to a family member, friend, or colleague.

Understand customer emotions

In our current housing market, affordability is one of the top stress points for prospective buyers. Meanwhile, homeowners looking to refinance face uncertainties due to today’s elevated rates and persistent inflation.

Better understanding your clients’ emotions—such as their motivations, fears, and desires —will help you gain a more accurate picture of who they are and what they need. The result is more opportunities to make strong connections and deliver meaningful value. 

Get personal

A survey by software company Freshworks found that 80% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that offer more personalized experiences. This is especially true in our industry.

The mortgage process is full of big, potentially life-changing decisions. Whether the outcome is a new home purchase or a loan refinance, the emotional and financial impacts are immeasurable. No borrower wants to undertake this process feeling like they are just another loan transaction—particularly in today’s lending environment.

This makes personalization an essential part of the financing journey. Consistent, personalized messaging aimed at engaging with a customer will have them feeling confident they are making the right decision for them and their families. But don’t stop there. Personalization also involves being available and responsive to address questions and concerns that arise during the mortgage process.

Develop a content strategy

Whether you are launching an email campaign, sending out direct mail pieces, or posting on social media post, think of it as more than just a marketing opportunity. Consider it a chance to connect in a direct and intimate way with a customer.

Craft distinct marketing strategies for the various groups within your customer base, such as repeat buyers, moving-up buyers, downsizers, refinancers, and borrowers interested in HELOCs. Additionally, you may want to consider developing a comprehensive marketing calendar, complete with timelines, budgets, targeted audiences, and goals.

A valued marketing partner

Today’s borrowers are more than willing to work with a new lender if they are offering lower interest rates, reduced closing costs, or a more streamlined application process. In fact, a HousingWire article revealed that only 18% of refinancing borrowers remained with the same lender.

Are you also struggling to create customers for life/lifelong borrowers/clients that are eternally yours? Volly can help! Contact us today for a free demo and learn how we can be your valued marketing partner.