For more articles on
View these articles and more at
“Relationships Are Marketing Gold,”
“Know What Sets You Apart From Peers,”
“Make 2017 the Year of Customer Service,”
Gene F. Thompson III,
“Communication Enhances the
Five-Star Customer Service
March 2016 Leonard Moniz is a branch manager for Mortgage Equity
Partners. He has been in the mortgage industry for more
than 20 years, and has extensive experience in Central
Florida. Moniz works with borrowers to educate them on the
different programs available today. He also hosts educational
seminars for buyers and builders to assist them in choosing
the best program for their specific needs. Reach Moniz at
Mortgage companies can learn a thing or two from restaurants and hotels
By Leonard Moniz
As most housing professionals know, the mortgage industry varies drastically from state to state and city to city. Why? Because the needs of clients are different in every location. Some areas are filled with a wide
array of types of buyers and borrowers, including
investors, renovators, mixed-use residence owners, etc.
Other areas are primarily composed of one type of
buyer — people looking for a single-family residence
to enjoy as a primary or vacation home.
In markets with one primary type of buyer and
property, mortgage companies and originators must
learn to distinguish themselves not by their products — because most companies offer the same conventional and government financing — but by their
level of service instead. When borrowers in an area all
want products that most companies offer, however,
it is essential to not just be better, but to be the best
at providing that product. Companies and originators
in competitive markets must bring five-star, gold-standard service to their clients.
Consider the Forbes travel-guide ratings. Yes, these
are for hotels and restaurants, but the concept is certainly applicable to the mortgage industry. If you walk into
a hotel or restaurant that has the Forbes Five-Star symbol posted in the entryway, you expect several things.
Never say no
The first thing you expect from a five-star experience
is that you will never hear the word “no.” If you request
a chocolate malt at 3 a.m., and the hotel does not offer
a chocolate malt, let alone at three in the morning
when no stores are open, the answer you receive will
not be, “No. Sorry about that.” Rather, it will be something like this: “We can offer you chocolate ice cream
or a milkshake, but will not be able to get malt until
7 a.m. We can bring a desired alternative up to you in
What can be gleaned from this? The answer to the
question is not no, but rather an alternative solution.
The customer does not feel rejected. They simply feel
that their top choice is not available, but an alternate
option that may satisfy the same need is attainable.
In the mortgage industry, this is highly applicable.
If you cannot offer potential borrowers the loan they
are looking for, what can you offer them? If they don’t
have the credit needed, help them improve their credit
so they can get a better rate. If they need to save for
reserves, or have a stronger job history to be approved,
educate them on what they need to do to become
By asking questions, and by providing answers that
go beyond a simple “accept” or “reject,” you provide
customers with the support and the vote of confidence
they need to establish and maintain a productive
relationship with you.
The second thing you will notice at any five-star establishment is that your needs are always anticipated. The
bellhop opens your door before you can. Your steak
knife appears next to your plate before you notice it’s
missing. Your glass is refilled as soon as it’s emptied.
This anticipation of needs is highly valuable, because it
provides clients with a level of personal attention that,
in turn, helps earn their respect.
The same holds true within the mortgage industry.
Would it make sense for a previous client to refinance?
Proactively reach out and explain the benefits of refinancing into a different loan. Are your clients happy
with your service? Request their feedback, acknowledge their comments and let them know how that
feedback will be incorporated into your process moving forward. Anticipating borrowers’ wants and needs
and proactively providing updates throughout the
process ensures a high level of appreciation, as well as
a more trusting relationship.
Take this anticipation a step further and think about
special programs you can offer to borrowers. Could
you provide fast-track processing to show appreciation
for borrowers with solid credit scores? By rewarding
those clients with faster processing, you not only please
them, you also increase your business by moving cer-
tain loans through faster. Other similar programs can
help promote your business and make your borrowers
It’s also important to be an expert in your market.
This may sound obvious, but originators who specialize
in specific markets — and know those markets inside
and out — can offer clients a higher level of service,
and more easily anticipate their needs.
Originators in Florida, for example, need to know
how hurricane insurance and homeowner’s insurance
affect their borrowers’ loans. Knowing the answers to
clients’ questions, and being able to provide quick and
thorough feedback, is a huge part of providing quality
Finally, and this is a simple one, take a deep look
into the customer experience. How available are you
or your branch’s originators to customers, and what
kinds of hoops do they need to jump through to get
help? Do borrowers have to fill out multiple online
forms to get an initial call? If they call the office, how
many prompts must they get through to reach a live
person who can help them?
Making the customer’s experience simple and pleasant is a basic, yet important part of providing quality
customer service. It affects their ability to work with
you and the quality of their relationship with you.
n n n
As most originators know, quality customer service
goes a long way toward developing long-term, profitable relationships. Because so many lenders and
mortgage companies offer similar rates and products,
customer loyalty and respect can be difficult to attain
without some additional X-factor. Customer service
is one such factor that can play a major role in determining whether or not an originator can maintain a
relationship with a borrower, particularly as rates, the
housing market, and the economy continue to shift.
Keep these points in mind, and watch your profits and
company culture evolve. n