Are your customers purposefully at the top of your Org Chart?


I know you want your customers to be happy but are your customers purposefully at the top of your Org Chart? 

Our stated business goal is to exceed our customer’s expectations 100% of the time.  As my boss always says, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” 

At closing, we do a simple survey.  Circle a box.  Tell us about your experience with us:  there are 3 choices.

  • We did not meet your expectations
  • We met your expectations
  • We exceeded your expectations

Then there is a space to tell us something you’d like us to change or do for you in the future.  You can also use the space to just make a comment.  The survey is part of our closing package and it takes less than a minute to fill it out.


In an environment that has made mortgage bankers and Realtors more suspect than ambulance chasing attorneys, building a business model to exceed customer’s expectations is more important than ever!


Over the past five years, 78% of our customers tell us that we’ve exceeded their expectations.  21.5% tell us we met them and .5% tell us we blew it. More telling is that since January of this year, 98% of our customers tell us we exceeded their expectations.  1% told us we met them and 1% told us we blew it.

In his book, Hug Your Customers, Jack Mitchell reminds us that “only extremely satisfied customers are genuinely loyal.”  Years ago, we stopped trying to treat our customers from a “one size fits all perspective and moved in the direction of the One to One Future and of KISS(keep it simple silly).  We employ technology as a tool to help us manage our relationships.  Technology allows us to keep our relationships highly personal but we know that technology is a poor substitute for human interaction.


  • We have a tool that we use to learn the customer’s “story” when we first start to work with someone. Every customer has a story and they are all as unique as fingerprints.  If you gently probe, you can provide a customized solution that will make your clients go ‘Wow!’  We capture that information in a CRM(client relationship management system) and use it to record every interaction with our customers.  In less than 15 seconds, we can quickly click through a client’s record and understand both our current relationship with them, and all previous interactions with them.
  • Keep all of your communications personal.  We have a receptionist because I hate voice mail.  While I understand that phone trees and voice mail are a cost saving device, it is my belief that people want answers now and phone tag is an annoying waste of time.  We also have a hotline so that if a customer calls in on my direct dial line and I’m on the phone, the call is rerouted instantly to another team member whose line is open.  Voice mail is a choice we offer but only if the client requests it.  We always try to get answers now.
  • 80% of our team members have been together for over 20 years and share a set of guiding principles. We all understand intrinsically that we are in the personal relationship business and that we are merely the Sherpa guides to safe, sustainable and affordable home ownership.  Every day, our LO’s and processors huddle together for half an hour to insure that all of the lives we’ve been entrusted with are on that track.
  • You can’t manage what you can’t manage! We believe in 4 walls.  In the past, I worked for a company that moved all of the processing to a centralized facility.  It was impossible to control the customer service experience.  The people working with my customers were not my people and did not share in a set of common beliefs regarding customer service levels.  I didn’t last long in that environment.   Since then, we have kept all aspects of the client experience ‘in house’.  If we can’t control the experience, we don’t offer the product.  Origination, processing, underwriting and closing are managed within our 4 walls.  While some chose to go the route of broker, we chose to remain a Mortgage Banker.  We may have missed a commission check or two along the way but it all goes back to what Jack said, “only extremely satisfied customers are genuinely loyal.”


There will be “Oops!” moments


Last month was an extremely busy one for us.  One of our processors was out sick for 5 days and we hit a time crunch.  A very nice, well qualified client, didn’t receive his approval until 24 hours prior to closing.  Our marketing brochure promises 2 days minimum.  He was irate.  His survey was part of the 1%.  I called him and explained the situation and he understood and granted grace. Another client thought we’d be at his closing and we weren’t.  We missed that part of his story.  Those clients  provided us an opportunity to grow.  While it’s nice to hear the accolades, it’s important to debrief and learn from the ‘oops moments’.  Don’t be afraid to call, listen and learn.  Be grateful for teachable moments. In today’s Linked In world, news travels fast, good or bad.   Make it good, purposefully!                                                                   -Kate Wilson

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