Mortgage providers need to ramp up customer service

7th Sep 2017

Customer service is one of the top five factors that home buyers consider when choosing a mortgage provider, according to new research by Computershare Loan Services.

In a survey of 1,082 borrowers, the mortgage servicing company found that around two in five respondents (42%) said that being able to speak to someone when needed was an important factor in selecting a lender. Around one in five respondents (21%) said online account management was important.

Good customer service emerged as the most important priority for borrowers after low interest rates, costs, and mortgage terms and conditions. This is something mortgage providers should take note of, particularly as new entrants and new technology increase competition for customers.

Andrew Jones, CEO of Computershare Loan Services, told Mortgage Finance Gazette: “The best lenders will be able to tailor the way they interact with their customers in a way that suits them best, and make sure that borrowers are not excluded because of the way they are willing and able to communicate.”

Some work to do

But lenders have some work to do on the customer service front. The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) from The Institute of Customer Service shows that, in the banks and building societies sector, customer satisfaction for experiences related to mortgages is lower than last year.

Despite a dip in borrower happiness with mortgage-related experiences, the UKCSI figures show that customer satisfaction in the banks and building societies sector as a whole is at its highest point for nine years, at 79.9 out of 100.

The sector continues to outstrip the UK average on this front, widening its lead from 1.2 to 1.5 over the year to July.

The largest increases in satisfaction are with online experiences, including speed of response via text, social media and web chat, and with addressing complaints. There was an impressive 13-point improvement in the time taken to resolve complaints.

However, the number of banking and building society customers experiencing a problem was up 0.5 percentage points on the year.

“Quality and consistency of customer experience design and implementation are key to creating experiences and relationships that connect with customers’ diverse and evolving needs,” says the report, which recommends that lenders focus on five areas of customer service where they can make a real difference:

  1. Easy, “right first time” customer experiences
  2. Prevent problems
  3. Develop engaged, competent, emotionally intelligent people
  4. Offer personalised help and advice
  5. Commit to openness, transparency, trust and caring for customers

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