Don't neglect this vital part of your customer engagement arsenal

by Ryan Smith18 Aug 2020

Effective customer engagement is critical for growing your business – especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many in the mortgage industry to reconsider how they engage their customers. Mortgage borrowers, like all consumers, want convenient, frictionless experiences.

That’s why MPA is presenting Tips for Increasing Client Engagement, a free webinar by Podium that will show originators how to harness the power of text messaging to engage with their clients.

“What’s top of mind for so many, and what we keep coming back to as we have these conversations, is how to best meet potential borrowers in the way that is most effective – that helps you to save time, but also helps borrowers to feel that personal touch,” said Darin Brooks, regional director of sales at Podium. “The overall theme of the webinar is communication strategies to convert and retain as many leads as possible, and to do that in a way that’s effective. I think that’s what a lot of people, especially on the brokerage side, are looking for – ‘How do I make my team more efficient?’ With today’s refi boom, there’s a whole lot of business out there. So we’re getting business, which is great – but how do we take the best care of that business?”

The webinar will delve into key insights from Podium’s 2020 State of Business Texting report to help originators learn about:

  • Business perceptions vs. client expectations
  • Meeting the needs of clients with business text messaging
  • Tips for increasing client engagement through text messaging

Texting can be one of the most effective means of communicating important information to customers – but many businesses don’t use texts effectively, Brooks said.

“Texting as a business channel, in a lot of ways, snuck up on a lot of businesses. They didn’t have a system in place in terms of how to handle it outside of their own personal lines,” he said. “I think that’s the mistake that everyone makes – we basically check the box of texting because we have it available on our cell phones. In many cases, that’s where it lives. Since we handle ‘friends and family’ texting, it’s just very instinctual and commonplace to manage all other texting there as well – including texting related to origination. But I think that really is problematic for a lot of reasons – one of the clearest of which is that for a team, there’s a lot of problems when all of that communication lives on your personal cell phone.”

Handling business texts on an individual basis can lead to difficulties in collaboration with teammates, Brooks said, because there’s often confusion about who sent what message and when.

“Successful businesses have a strategy in place for emails, have a strategy in place for phone calls and all other forms of communication,” he said. “Texting snuck up because it became commonplace. And as it became more acceptable in business, people just kind of slid right into it, and didn’t apply he same thought and consideration into how to use it in a way that’s organized and effective – and is compliant, especially within the mortgage industry.”

Brook said many in the mortgage industry have been slow to adopt a text messaging strategy – but that’s a mistake.

“The mortgage industry as a whole relies on the relationships they’ve built, and the referrals that continue to come as a result of relationships that are in many cases are decades old,” he said. “Texting is often an afterthought, because that’s the way it’s always been done, and email and other ways of generating those leads have always worked. Many times it still does work – but more and more, the consumer is expecting the simplest, most convenient way to interact. Text messaging, we’ve seen from the data, is most preferred. It’s the most convenient, it’s the most opened and the most responded to. If constant communication with the borrowers is a priority, text messaging should be a preferred source of communication. It should be one of the core ways you’re interacting.”

However, Brooks said, it’s important to approach texting strategically. Too many texts, or irrelevant texts, can be worse than none at all.

“Think of the recipient and about how this text comes across. Is it really helpful, or is the end goal just to get more views, just to get in front of someone’s eyeballs?” he said. “It’s always good to stay top of mind, but with spamming – especially via text – we’ve seen that people have a very low threshold. It’s kind of the last bastion we protect; we’re getting robocalls nonstop, email was lost long ago.

“So good faith is very important for a business. Once you lose that, you can’t really go back – your number’s blocked,” he said. “It goes back to having a solid strategy in place: What’s helpful, what’s useful. There’s all kinds of ways to stay top of mind through email, but text messaging should be reserved for those messages that are most relevant and most helpful to the conversation.”

And having that strategy is no longer optional; with the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been forced to change the way they interact with customers who may be unwilling to sit down face to face.

“One-click, one-swipe, one-send, should be a huge part of how you’re building out your strategy into the future,” Brooks said. “As a result of the pandemic, consumer behaviors will be changed forever – there’s no question about that. I think texting should be a part of that change.”