Consumer complaints about financial institutions are never all that surprising. When it comes to money—purchasing, saving and borrowing—many people are sensitive, protective, and cautious, especially in tough economic times. Consumer confidence has waned in the past decade, and the reputations of banks (mortgage lenders, in particular) has suffered. Yet with the right priorities and tools, financial services companies can effectively improve customer experience in lending and drive better business results.

Powerful trends in the lending world

As of November 2013, the mortgage industry accounted for more than 82,000 consumer complaints housed in the CFPB database—which is higher than any other financial product area.

– Steven J. Ramirez, CEO, Beyond the Arc, Inc.
(Source: “Know Thy Customer,”
Mortgage Banking, December 2013)

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as regulatory watchdogs: As complaints about mortgage lenders make up the majority of the CFPB database, the agency has stepped up its game for monitoring customer interactions in the mortgage industry. To increase customer satisfaction ratings, key regulators are watching to see which companies are making the best efforts—and which are not.
  • Social media for service and referrals: Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to voice complaints about negative experiences with businesses, as well as seek referrals from their trusted network to meet important needs, including homebuying. As a highly influential tool for consumer purchase decisions, social media is now an essential channel for businesses to get to know their customers and respond quickly to address customer experience issues.

Gaining actionable insights using advanced analytics

With a wealth of publically available customer feedback—such as the CFPB complaint database and social media—mortgage lenders can leverage text analytics to identify pain points and opportunities to strengthen customer relationships. Using analytics to find and respond to negative feedback throughout the borrowing process can help lenders solve customer experience issues, and prevent those issues going forward.

Remember that money is personal, and customers expect the personal touch. Going the extra mile—responding directly, sending a gift, or reaching out in other ways—can turn negative sentiment into loyalty. By personalizing the customer experience through the lending experience, financial institutions are more likely to earn the crucial trust and confidence that translates into repeat business and referrals.