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jason back

Home loans are boring!

jason back
Jason Back 5 minute read

And thank god they are, because we’re not in the business of selling loans, says Jason Back.

Just like Qantas doesn’t sell flights, it sells destinations, and Mercedes-Benz doesn’t sell cars, it sells prestige, we don’t sell loans, we sell hopes and dreams. We sell a chance for a better future, an ability to make a life that our customers dream of. 

So, if we’re in the “hopes and dreams” business, just how do our customers feel about the journey we take them on throughout the whole process? 

The recent election result showed just how passionate Australians are about protecting their right to create their own future. But what does that mean? When does that start? For home buying, it starts well before the client comes to see you; they have spent months, if not years, working towards the dream.  

We already know that over 52 per cent of customers are anxious about getting a mortgage before they even see you, so why is how they feel so important?  

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At a recent keynote I did, I asked the audience if they could remember the face of the person that last served them at a fast-food drive-through. In an audience of over 200 brokers, just one person said yes. When I called on him to explain, he said it was because it was such a bad experience. 

Similarly, when a broker addresses a customer in a positive way, that same mechanism comes into play with other unforgettable experiences. The birth of a child, a wedding and a special journey: these are the kinds of positive emotional events that we embed in our memories, remaining with us for a lifetime. Those who have beautiful experiences like these are not likely to forget them. The same applies to positive customer experiences.

The reverse is also true: a bad experience can hardly be undone, because negative emotions also last a lifetime. We cannot erase from our memory a death, a serious accident or a dramatic separation. Therefore, negative customer experiences should be avoided at all times.

So, if customers are so anchored to the negative and are ready to recall and share these bad experiences, just what needs to be done to have a customer talk about us in superlatives?  

According to Customer Think, 63 per cent of customers with positive feelings about a company will remain loyal, while 74 per cent will go a step further and advocate for the brand. 

I believe we have every opportunity to influence the outcome of clients’ emotional journeys with us, which are heightened by these five hot tips:

  1. Always be one step ahead: You already know the pain points in your business or with the banks. Put yourself in the client’s shoes and anticipate customer emotions in different situations. When things go wrong (and they will), get ahead of it and walk your client through what they may be feeling. No one likes a surprise! 
  1. Don’t hire robots: We are in the people business. You need to hire and train brokers and staff who address customer feelings properly. Begin by hiring employees with strong interpersonal skills who are able to adapt to difficult situations. Then train them through role-playing, using the customer journey map as a reference. Too often, we move through the process end to end and don’t identify the opportunities to really drive home how excited we are for the client or how special a moment that approval or settlement is in their lives. Come on people, put your back into that smile! You are changing lives! 
  1. Net promoter score (NPS) is not enough: You can use analytical tools to measure customer satisfaction and I strongly recommend you do. But recent Harvard Business School research showed you should not just survey your client, you should be interviewing them! You need to ask more about how they are feeling. This is where the real gems of information are for gathering data about whether your clients are true believers in your service and would be likely to refer you to others. 
  1. Don’t ignore a bad situation: It only gets worse when you leave an open wound, so reach out to customers with negative feelings. Lead with your chin and take it. The customers don’t want an argument, they want empathy, understanding, solutions. Apologise, show them the way forward (or not), commit to a time frame, a communication strategy, and then deliver to it. 
  1. Go slow to go fast: Too often, we’re in a hurry to get through the process and use acronyms or bank speak and forget we are dealing with people who should be treated as individuals. You need to focus on creating a positive emotional impact.

So, next time you are in a rush or cannot understand why a customer won’t refer, gave you a poor NPS score or a good one, ask yourself, “Why?”. What was it about that experience that delighted or angered the client? As leadership coach and author Marshall Goldsmith suggests: What can you eliminate, create, accept or preserve within your client experience?

So, how do you feel about that?

This is the third part of a series of blogs from Jason Back. You can find the previous instalment in the June edition of the magazine, or a version of that article here.

Home loans are boring!
jason back
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jason back
Jason Back

Jason Back

Jason is the founder and director of Broker Essentials, which he launched in 2016 along with its practical and targeted program for brokers and administration staff that aims to help them grow their business by focusing on sales through service excellence.

Jason was previously the managing director of The Australian Lending & Investment Centre (ALIC), a leading mortgage brokerage.

He has over 27 years of experience in the finance sector, having worked in senior sales, distribution and management roles for ANZ and having provided financial advice and services on behalf of financial planning, equity trading platforms, private banking, lending and retail distribution brands.

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