The Five Factors Standing Between You and Customers for Life

The term “customer for life” has become ubiquitous in our industry. You hear it used by countless banks, mortgage lenders, service providers, real estate professionals, and business partners to describe the ideal relationship between an originator and a borrower.

But as anyone in our industry can attest, connecting with prospects and transforming these leads into customers for life may be the most challenging aspect of a loan officer’s job. In the latest Volly Insights blog post, we examine the five biggest factors that are standing between loan officers and lifelong customers. We also detail how loan officers can build stronger relationships that ensure borrowers work with them again and again.

A housing market snapshot

Skyrocketing mortgage interest rates have forced homeowners and buyers to the sidelines. Mortgage demand has slipped to its lowest level since December 2018. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the unadjusted Purchase Index was 10% lower than the same week one year ago. Refinance volume has plummeted a whopping 77% year-over-year. All of this comes as the housing market contends with soaring prices and ever-dwindling supply. Total housing inventory at the end of May was down 4.1% from one year ago; the median existing home price hit an all-time high of $407,000, up 14.8% from May 2021.

Without a doubt, the race is on for loan officers to secure customers. And the key to boosting business lies in transforming prospects into customers for life. A simple-sounding goal that—as we are certain you know—is not so simple to fulfill.

The cost to attract new customers is high, making it essential that you connect with borrowers who deliver repeat business. Check out these numbers: According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13 years. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac’s most recent data revealed that repeat refinances—which is when a homeowner refinanced two or more times within a 12-month period—increased from 7.8% to 10.1%. Though this number is sure to fall due to rising rates, many homeowners can still refinance their existing mortgages or take advantage of home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or home equity loans since rising property prices have led to climbing equity.

The point is, despite recent market challenges, there are still home financing opportunities for borrowers. And within our increasingly competitive lending landscape, one would assume banks and mortgages lenders are doing everything possible to retain customers.

Only they are not.

According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, last year’s surging application volume and one-size-fits-all digital workflows eroded borrower satisfaction at critical points during the financing process. Overall satisfaction with primary mortgage originators dropped five points (on a 1,000-point scale) last year. Both banks and non-banks saw score declines in all categories.

Detailed here are the five biggest factors that are standing between you and customers for life. We also dive into what you can do to overcome these factors and ensure your borrowers—whether they are purchasing homes, refinancing existing loans, or securing HELOCs or home equity loans—are satisfied and loyal!

Lack of an omni-channel approach

Today’s borrowers expect home financing journeys that include the right mix of technology and personal interactions. Omni-channel marketing, which delivers an integrated user experience across online and offline channels, is remarkably effective at turning prospects into customers for life. Borrowers are given the ability to move effortlessly between communication channels, depending on where they are in their home financing journey.

Surprisingly, many banks and mortgage lenders have not embraced omni-channel approaches or have failed in creating omni-channel experiences that are engaging. According to the J.D. Power study, only 29% of mortgage customers said they used all three interaction channels—live personal service, digital self-service, and traditional (mail or email) or texting—during their loan origination.

Not delivering impactful content

Content needs to be genuine, engaging, and relevant to empower customers to move forward with securing a loan. Messages written in clear, everyday language work best. Skip long sentences, complex words, confusing technical terms, and sales jargon.

Finally, content should be written so that the customer feels like they are being spoken to directly. This will make it more likely that they believe the loan officer understands their needs, has a unique solution for their problems, and will deliver on their promise to assist them. 

Failing to connect at the right moment

Delivering the right content is only half the equation; the other half is connecting at the right time through the right channel. For example, giving customers who are ready to navigate the mortgage process access to informative videos that detail each financing step or, sending a first-time buyer a direct mail piece detailing the FHA loan program.

Whatever the case may be, delivering the right message at the right moment greatly enhances relationships with borrowers.

Not understanding customers

Understanding how customers react to content and the channel through which it is delivered helps loan officers gain a more complete picture of who they are, what they like, and what they need. The result is better opportunities to make stronger connections and provide meaningful value.

No marketing automation tools

Today’s loan officers simply do not have the time to undertake the various tasks that create customers for life—such as making phone calls, sending emails, and creating content for campaigns. This is when marketing automation tools can be especially impactful.

With the right set-it-and-forget-it solution, loan officers can generate stronger leads, increase their conversion rates, and access more accurate data for determining the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. But most important of all, marketing automation gives loan officers more time to make the genuine human connections with customers that more effectively build trust and loyalty.

A valued marketing partner

Are you struggling with connecting with prospects and transforming these leads into customers for life? Volly can help! Contact us today for a demo and to learn more about how we can be your valued marketing partner.