Have you ever stopped to think about your business communications with borrowers? No, we’re not talking about marketing messages, we’re talking about how you interact with borrowers face-to-face or via text, email, or phone.
Every so often, you should pause and consider how your business communications come across to the borrowers you work with. After all, your ability to communicate effectively plays a part in how smoothly the mortgage process goes and how your borrowers felt working with you. That, in turn, can lead to more referrals from more satisfied customers.
In the below video and post, we’re covering 5 tips to help improve your business communications with borrowers.
Tip #1: Set Communication Expectations
When you’re about to embark on the mortgage process with a new borrower, take two minutes to ask them how they’d prefer you communicate with them. Is it by email, text, or phone?
Do yourself a favor and ask one more question – when are the best times to reach the borrower and by which methods? For example, a borrower that has a 9-5 office job might be more readily available for a phone call after 5 PM but will still respond to emails or texts during the workday.
Setting these expectations in advance will help reduce friction between you and your borrowers.
One more tip, enter this information into your CMS so you don’t have to worry if you’re remembering the right communication preferences for the right borrower.
Tip #2: Keep It Professional
Now that you’ve set communication expectations, you want to ensure every interaction with your borrower looks and sounds professional. Remember, every communication reflects on you and your company.
So, what does that mean? It means check your spelling and grammar (don’t rely on your computer’s spell-checker), capitalization (please don’t use all caps or all lower case), and punctuation. And, when speaking over the phone or in-person, speak professionally.
Tip #3: Master Email Templates to Save Time
Having a few go-to email templates can help save you time and help reduce the number of errors in your emails. Templates can also help you be concise.
Some template examples include:
- A process explainer for when you first start working with a borrower (i.e. what will the mortgage process look like from their end).
- A follow-up email asking for certain documents for your processor or underwriter (have a bulleted list of the most common items and delete the irrelevant ones for each recipient).
- Milestone emails like the appraisal or inspection being complete.
Beyond the body of the email, your signature can be a workhorse for you. Within your signature you should include your name and contact info, but have you ever thought about adding a helpful resource like an infographic, your business hours, or the contact info for your company’s customer service center if you have one? Learn how to create new signatures and switch between them here.
Lastly, be sure to use the email subject line to your advantage – keep the text concise and relevant to the contents of the email, and only use the “urgent” notification when it truly is urgent.
Tip #4: Leave Better Voicemails
Most borrowers still prefer that verbal touchpoint throughout the loan process. That doesn’t mean you need to call them for every change in the loan’s status but checking in at key touchpoints along the way can make them feel reassured about the process.
There are also cases where you need to call and leave a voicemail to express urgency in getting a document or more information – you are trying to close the loan, after all. Here are some key pointers to remember for a great voicemail message:
- Speak clearly and slowly – if you think you’re speaking too slow, you’re probably not speaking slowly enough.
- Clearly state your name and company and give your phone number and extension twice.
- In 2-3 sentences, state why you’re calling with a clear action item for the borrower (return the call, send a document, etc.).
- To reduce the chance of missing each other, leave times when you’re free that the borrower can return your call.
Remember, you may need to follow up one or two more times with the borrower to ensure you’re getting what you need.
Tip #5: Practice Your Listening Skills
Too often, especially in the business world, we listen to respond, and that often means we’re only half-listening so we can think about our response. This is NOT the kind of communication your borrowers want or need. For most people, applying for a mortgage and the whole process can be incredibly stressful and leave people feeling vulnerable – they are divulging their whole financial story to you, after all.
So, here’s how you can improve your listening to form better relationships with your borrowers:
- Don’t interrupt a borrower’s train of thought – they may be leading up to asking an important question or help you realize something about them or their situation that may make the process go more smoothly.
- Know when to ask binary/yes-no questions versus open-ended ones.
- Block out distractions and be mentally present – turn your phone on silent or do not disturb, minimize computer windows, and turn down your computer’s audio. Many borrowers may perceive you checking your phone or email to be very rude.
- Actively listen – be an active participant in understanding what a borrower has said or what they have not said.
For more listening tips, check out this 7-minute TED Talk.
Improve Your Business Communications for More Satisfied Borrowers
Understanding how you currently communicate with your borrowers and being open to where you might be able to improve may seem like a daunting task. We don’t recommend taking on multiple points of improvement at once – try improving one way you communicate first then add on others as you master the first.
In the mortgage industry, we all know communication is critical to the success of not only closing a loan on time but also to the satisfaction your customers feel after completing the process. Being able to communicate clearly and professionally throughout the mortgage process will not only leave customers feeling satisfied, it will leave them more likely to refer their friends and family to you.