Think about the brands and businesses you admire.  For many of them you can probably identify elements that raise the experience and ultimately work to keep you loyal.  Whether it is the smells and antiqued wood finishes in that starry-eyed coffee shop or the logical and consistent way information flows from a pop-up ad to a retailer’s website, these elements frame the customer experience and are often purposely created and highly curated.

Customer touchpoints are direct or indirect engagements a customer has with your business. Some of these are within your control, others are not. Some may occur before a customer engages with you, others happen during or even well after their purchase or experience.   Each individual touchpoint plays a role in a customer’s experience, influencing how likely they are to engage or continue to engage with your business.

Mortgage journey

So how do we optimize these touchpoints in the mortgage journey?

In this article we’ll discuss the role customer touchpoints play in the mortgage process, emphasizing the various interactions a customer has along the way. Additionally, we’ll consider the influence of these touchpoints on customer satisfaction, and perception of service quality, which can link directly to customer loyalty and business success. Finally, we’ll introduce the impact of technology and outsourcing, with a focus on how print and electronic statement processing can improve these touchpoints and allow providers to focus on specialized tasks.

Touchpoints don’t just happen. They’re strategic.

In as much as we like to think many of our favorite experiences are unique and organic, whether it is that magical photo opportunity in a theme park or a just-in-time coupon for a haircut, most are conceived and planned long before “the moment”.  Why?  Because companies understand just how critical they are to your overall experience.

Your mortgage business can and should have a defined “customer journey” filled with touchpoints. And while your touchpoints may not be as elaborate as a castle angled to take advantage of the best light of golden hour, they need to be thought through and delivered consistently to move customers along the path towards achieving the stated goals.

Statement processing companies facilitate efficient communication between mortgage providers and customers by managing the distribution of financial statements and documents.

Understanding the Mortgage Customer Journey

Mapping the Journey

Like so many worthwhile adventures, this one begins with a map – a customer journey map.  The customer journey map is a wide-ranging document that considers the customer’s entire experience. It should account for everything from search engine results to the frequency of your mailed marketing messages.  Even mortgage regulatory notifications should be included as they too can be optimized to enhance the client experience.

  • According to a 2022 report by Hanover Research, 79% of companies say their customer journey maps have allowed them to become more customer-centric.
  • Statement processing companies enhance efficiency and accuracy at each step for a more streamlined process.
  • Bonus: Your customer journey map can act as a north star for employees to align their decisions and actions with.

For mortgage companies the stages of the customer journey can include: Inquiry, Application, Processing, Underwriting, Closing, and Post-Closure.

Let’s break them down individually, highlighting areas to consider within each step and how a statement processing company can help ensure success every step of the way.:

Inquiry Phase and Initial Contact Methods

This step includes how potential borrowers reach you through online forms, phone calls, or in-person consultations.  Being available in the ways a customer wants to engage with you is an early but important hurdle.

  • Statement processing companies optimize these channels, ensuring initial inquiries are handled efficiently and effectively. Positive first impressions go a long way towards establishing the trust necessary to foster positive customer relationships.

Application Process and Documentation Requirements

Think about all of the data you need to gather from clients.  Are they provided documents in formats that are easy to complete? What about supplemental information?  Is it clear how to upload files or share additional support pieces?

  • Statement processing companies assist in collecting, organizing, and verifying documents. PrintMail has solutions to help streamline this part of the process.

Processing Steps and Timeframes

This phase includes document verification, credit checks, and financial assessments, often elements of the process that take time and include multiple connection instances.

  • How do customers know where they are at in the process? When can they expect to hear answers and from whom? What materials or communications can pre-emptively address potential concerns?
  • Statement processing companies enhance the speed and accuracy of this stage. They also help manage the factors influencing processing timeframes, like document collection and verification, contributing to a more predictable and timely process.

Underwriting Criteria and Decision-Making

Underwriting involves assessing the borrower’s creditworthiness and risk and the emotional weight of this step can prove stressful for some customers.  Your journey map can and should account for this.

  • PrintMail can help you compile and present necessary data, ensuring transparency and effective communication throughout this phase.

Closing Procedures and Finalization

Closing steps involve finalizing the loan terms and signing the necessary documents. For your clients this can be the whole reason for your relationship, so the stakes are especially high.

  • Ensuring that all documentation is accurate and complete is of paramount importance. PrintMail can help provide clarity and support for a positive closing experience, one where borrowers fully understand the terms and commitments they are entering into.

Post-Closure Follow-up and Support

This stage includes follow-up services like managing ongoing statements and customer communications. These are crucial for maintaining a good lender-borrower relationship.

  • Statement processing companies play a significant role in the long-term support and management of the mortgage. Their involvement ensures continued customer satisfaction and efficient management of post-closure requirements.

The Role of Technology in Streamlining Touchpoints

As in so many areas of life, technology deserves a place within the customer journey.

  • Automation in application processing can improve efficiency and accuracy, relieving pressures and identifying issues earlier in the process so they can be addressed..
  • Technology is rapidly improving digital communications in the mortgage process including:
    • Providing answers to basic and initial questions via Chatbots. This can relieve pressures on call centers while meeting customer desire for answers to their questions 24/7/365.
    • Determining and delivering on preferences for email updates during the application process.
    • Some companies are even rolling out mobile apps for real-time status tracking.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new frontier in tech and according to Fannie Mae’s MLSS Survey, the mortgage industry saw a 73% increase in lenders adopting AI for operational efficiency in 2023.
    • AI tools can help improve processing times and reduce errors.
    • Right now AI is being utilized in myriad ways including compliance reviews, fraud detection, and customized loan offerings. With new tools coming online seemingly daily, new areas for AI integration will continue to be opened.

The Importance of Personalization in Customer Interactions

Tailoring communication and services to an individual increases the odds of customer satisfaction.  In personalizing communication we show clients we understand and value their time, making it easier to introduce behaviors and actions which meet our mutual goals.

56 percent of customers said they'd purchase again after a personalized experience.

Outsourcing as a Strategy for Enhancing Customer Touchpoints

We alluded earlier to the idea that your business likely has a significant number of touchpoints with a client.  Managing and curating these on top of actually “doing the work” can quickly lead to scenarios where there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything (and do it well).  That’s where outsourcing can come into play.

  • Outsourcing provides access to specialized expertise and technology and enables your team to focus on their highest-value tasks.
  • Outsourcing can also deliver cost reductions and provide gains in efficiency.
  • Not every outsourcing company is the same. PrintMail’s longtime dedication to creating solutions for financial organizations just like yours is what sets us apart from the rest.

Measuring and Analyzing Customer Feedback

One of the best uses of technology is to gather, process, and ultimately make actionable customer feedback.  From surveys and questionnaires post-closing to online reviews and social media monitoring, mining the opinions and observations of your customers can be extremely fruitful.

  • Tip: Provide opportunities for direct engagement in the feedback process. A less than ideal experience can be turned around and addressed at many spots in the journey – including the end.  Adopting a never give up attitude to ensuring positive experiences helps build trust with customers who can clearly see the effort you put in to ensuring their satisfaction.

Utilize feedback from customers post-closing to improve touchpoints and customer satisfaction.

Making The Mortgage Journey Easier to Navigate

The real joy in business comes from delighting our customers and each day, in so many different ways, touchpoints provide us the opportunity to do just that…or the opposite.  At PrintMail, we understand the importance of consistently delivering the value and experience end-users expect, not to mention the above and beyond ones they don’t.

Speak with a member of our team about how we can support your customers journey and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more great articles on improving customer communication for financial institutions.