In our Hot Topic this week, we have Kristin Messerli, VP Strategy, Financial Services @ Experience.com, to discuss some of the strategies that top-performing loan officers shared that differentiated them from others in their customer experience, as well as some of the characteristics of the next-gen homebuyer from the NextGen Homebuyer Report. To read more on this episode, click here!
Experience.com’s Top Performer Insights And Strategies With Kristin Messerli
Good to have you with us Monday, May 2nd, 2022. I got joining me on this show is Jack Nunnery. You are going to start seeing him come front and center a little bit more. It is good to have you here as the cohost. I appreciate you being here. It is good to be here. This show is created by mortgage professionals. It is for mortgage professionals. We are grateful to have you.
We got a lot of feedback. It’s all positive about how this is one of the main ways you’ll find out all that is going on. We get a lot of comments on all the segments. Thank you all for contacting me. I appreciate that. I needed that a little bit. I don’t know why. I need a little encouragement in that, but it is good. Our commitment is to bring you timely information that you can use anytime and anywhere.
In this Hot Topic segment, we have someone I enjoy as a human being, Kristin Messerli. She is the Vice President of Strategy and Financial Services at Experience.com. We are going to be talking about some of the strategies top performers and loan officers share to differentiate themselves from others and their customers using experience, as well as some of the characteristics of next-gen home buyers. What we are going to be also talking about is they announced who received awards at the Experience. We are going to be talking about that. Stay tuned to the Hot Topic segment. Kristin will be joining us and it will be good. I’m looking forward to having her here.
First of all, check out all of the Industry Syndicate podcasters that are out there. I appreciate it much when you check and give us feedback on all these podcasts. We are proud to be a part of Industry Syndicate. There are many podcasts out there you can listen to that they host. We are pleased to be a part of it.
Thank you to our sponsors, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, as well as Finastra, for their Fusion Mortgage Bot solution. They do a great job at helping you connect with consumers in a unique way and sharing all information in one platform with open APIs out to everyone else. The big issue is how you can connect all these desperate participants that are out there and connect them together. Finastra got the solutions with their open APIs.
Lenders One and The Mortgage Collaborative, both of these co–ops do a great job of helping lenders and vendors get together in a more intimate setting that does not replace the MBA. You need to be a member of the MBA that attends the annual conferences. If you are looking for a deeper connection with some of those peers in the industry that are facing and encountering some of the same issues as you are, you need to become a member of Lenders One and the Mortgage Collaborative.
Also, Total Expert. I love what these guys are doing. They turn customer insights into actionable items. They increase loyalty and drive growth for banks, lenders, credit unions, and financial institutions. Listen to the vision that Joe Welu laid out on March 14th, 2022 when I interviewed him. Knowledge Coop by Ken Perry has a great learning management system, LMS, that will help you communicate with your people.
Also, Mobility MMI, Mortgage Market Intelligence, along with Modex. They do a great job being helping you support your recruiting process by getting to facts and not hyperbole. Snapdocs digitizes mortgage closings and creates a better experience for your closing team and more importantly, for your borrowers. Check out Snapdocs. Listen to the vision that Briana Ings talked about in her interview on March 28th, 2022.
I love SuccessKit because it helps us tell our story. If you are sharing your story, what do you do as a company? How do you help people? You got to go check out what SuccessKit.io can do for you. They help you share your story in a way that is compelling. It is told in a third-party manner and is very effective. We will be happy to share some of the ones we are doing if you are interested in our consulting firm’s transformational mortgage solutions, and I am pleased with the results.
When you look at all the tools that Lender Toolkit brings, all the technology they bring, and the way they can help you streamline your business, I’m telling you, you will get excited about it as many of our clients are who are using Lender Toolkit, as well as the FormFree. Brent Chandler does a great job of innovating in new ways. They work closely with Fannie Mae. Check out the interview we did with Brent Chandler on February 28th, 2022.
SimpleNexus, we are grateful to have them as a sponsor. Check the interview we did with Lori Brewer on March 21st, 2022, and DW Consulting. Debbie Wemyss does a great job at helping you get your LinkedIn profile set up in a manner that will represent you fairly when people are checking out you or your company. Special thank you to Rob, Les, Alice, Allen, Matt, and Jack for their contributions each and every week. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
We have as our special guest in the Hot Topic segment, Kristin Messerli. She is a leader in the industry. It is a joy to have her join us here in the show. She works at Experience.com. We are talking about what strategies top performers are using to make a difference in working with other customers. It is all tied to their annual top-performer report. Kristen, it’s good to have you joining us. Thank you.
Thank you so much for having me. I am excited to share the results.
For those that do not know you, give us a little bit of a background on yourself and your journey in this industry.
I have worked in this industry for about ten years. Before that, I was a social worker working primarily in immigrant communities and started doing a bunch of financial literacy education, which resulted in me starting a business called Cultural Outreach, which is still going well. I sold that to Tony at NAMMBA in 2021, and moved over to Experience.com. My passion has always been in understanding the voice of the customer and helping the industry better connect with young and diverse markets. That is what I’m doing here as VP of Strategy at Experience.com.
We are thrilled to have you. We are also honored that Experience.com is announcing the winners of the 2022 awards on our show. We have done it now several years in a row. Tell us a little bit about what goes into this.
We are over 40,000 individual loan officers and 350 companies. We are looking at everything from their survey completion rates, the number of reviews, and overall star rating. All are going into the competition. The award is presented to the top 1%. We have four categories of companies that also get awards from small, medium, large and Jumbo size originators.
We should get into a little bit of what Experience.com does. A lot of people know the company, but for those that do not understand it, this is a service where you can use Experience.com. It is automatically pushed out to the borrower upon completion of the loan or funding. You get a survey request back. Is that correct, Kristin?
A lot of people know us as SocialSurvey. We rebranded to Experience.com. As SocialSurvey, we were known for that post-closed survey, and that is consistent across our customers. We also now automate the collection of feedback at other touchpoints to build out that overall measuring of the customer experience like post application or any meaningful touchpoint.
Jack, let’s get over to you.
With interest rates rising and the market contracting, this is a timely topic. My question would be, what are some of the strategies that top-performing loan officers share that differentiate them from others in the landscape of customer experience?
I interviewed most of our top ten loan officers and also our company winners. In the loan officer interviews, what was interesting was that across the board, every single one of them mentioned communication as a big part of what builds their great customer experience. All of them talked about being responsive. A lot of them talked about how they pick up their phone and they always have someone manning the phones. Even if it is not them, they have someone on their team that is making sure that they are available on weekends and evenings. Communication and responsiveness are key.Most loan officers believe communication is a big part of a great customer experience. Click To Tweet
Another one was providing a streamlined process across the team. What I think was cool was looking at even the company responders who were talking about how it is not just one point in the process that they are focused on. They are looking at their overall customer experience from the moment someone is referred. They Google search their name, what kind of experience are they getting there, and what kind of experience they have through the application and the technology that is used. Overall, it’s the responsiveness and communication that they received from the individuals that they spoke with.
When you look at the responses that you are getting, this is helpful for the lender to begin adjusting their processes. I want to get over to Alice and get some more perspective on what you are doing.
As they streamline this process and review that customer experience, can you share with us what some of the top-performing companies have in common?
Similar to the loan officers, they talked about this from a higher level of how they are empowering their employees to deliver that kind of experience. They all talked about how they want to make sure that their employees feel that they are in a culture of customer-centric. One of our winners was Finance of America and a jumbo-size winner. We interviewed Mike Farr, their president of retail. He talked about how they are measuring their success not just by their volume, but by the financial health and success of their customers.
I thought that was powerful in the way that they talked about building a culture that is customer-centric, and it was beyond the transaction. They care about not just doing volume. They care about making sure that their customers see them as guides and advocates for them, and that their employees understand that culture so that it came from the top down.
It is interesting because those types of terms like customer-centric are such an Amazon thing. They kicked off that whole Bezonomics for all of us, and I love it. Could you share with everyone how you look at the difference between customer satisfaction and customer experience and why that matters?
T’s interesting some of the stuff you guys were talking about earlier and how much that played into this. You think about what customers expect and it is that quick response. Amazon sets the tone for a lot of these other big companies. They set the tone for that, especially for next-gen consumers who entered adulthood with that expectation around any customer experience.
When it comes to satisfaction versus experience, it is important to recognize that satisfaction is their experience within a moment that measures how the customer feels about the experience with an individual or with a company. The experience is looking at the entire customer journey. That is something that we are shifting to. It is a good shift that we are making as an industry to look beyond the transaction, especially as rates have gone up. We are looking a lot more closely at the purchase market and how to capture that market.
We have looked at what the moment looks like when a customer is first referred to you, what are they seeing, what is their experience in that first consultation, what they feel in the middle of the process and they haven’t heard from somebody in a moment, all the way through closing and beyond closing. Are they staying in touch with you?
A lot of customers are not necessarily attached to their lender lifelong. We have one of the lowest return rates for customers and low customer loyalty. That is a huge mistake. A lot of customers are big advocates for the companies and brands that they care about. A great method for building a referral business is by looking at the overall customer experience.
Allen, I want to get over to you. You are big into technology, examining it. You are familiar with Scott and the team there at Experience.com, formerly known as SocialSurvey. You think about this from a technology standpoint. Is there anything you have for Kristin?
Thanks for being on the show. Some of my favorite people work at your company. It is great to chat with you and talk about them and your company in general. Something that is interesting is we will not focus on the point of sale on customer experience. For me, customer satisfaction is huge. How do you continue to look back and understand? Are you meeting the needs of your customers? People are different. People have different wants and needs and different markets. You may have to speak to them differently. My big question for you is, what is the difference between customer satisfaction and customer experience? Does it matter?
What I was speaking about earlier is understanding the difference between a specific moment and the overall customer journey. That was what a lot of companies were talking about whenever I was interviewing them about what made them a top performer. They often talked about looking at the overall customer experience.
I did a survey with over 3,000 next-gen home buyers. Looking at this from the consumer perspective specifically, a lot of them said that their biggest pain points were around trust and a lack of understanding or confidence. All of these companies and top performers, some of the things they had in common were looking at how they build that trust and confidence throughout the process so that they were building that into the overall customer experience. It’s not just looking at only the point of sale or only that moment someone Googles you or only at closing, but looking at how we build this culture in our employees and customers.
Did you get some insights as a result of the survey that you produced? Do you have results that you put out as to how some best practices or better practices that people can adopt?
I thought this was cool because, over the last few years, I collected over 3,000 responses from people under the age of 37. I’m asking them, “What was your experience like in starting to buy a home?” It was interesting how much that matched up with now looking at the results of our top performers. All of them talked about responsiveness being an important factor. Everyone talked about personalization is important. There’s a feeling like they understand and feel empowered with the information for their own personal situation.
I was mentioning the customer experience. How consumers are approaching the process is also interesting. Trust, confidence and education were huge aspects of this. One in four said that lack of understanding was one of their biggest barriers. One in five said lack of confidence. This one was surprising to me, but 2 in 3 said that they didn’t find lenders trustworthy or reliable. These are people that are already in the market. These aren’t even people that have decided not to buy a home yet. If that many people are feeling that distrust and lack of confidence, it goes to the point of how we create a sense of safety, education, and the overall culture and customer experience for consumers.Trust, confidence, and education are huge aspects of whether or not someone wants to work with a lender. Click To Tweet
We know that borrowers are responding favorably to some of the top-performer strategies that we have discussed. Let’s talk about next-gen borrowers. What matters to them during the customer experience journey?
They feel that they can trust the lenders that they are working with. Trust is a huge factor. Over 50% said that they had a good experience with their loan officer, which means that a lot of people didn’t have a good experience. A lot of that comes down to them feeling empowered with information to make smart decisions for themselves. Instead of this much distrust and lack of education, we know that there is a huge financial literacy gap in this market as well.
What people are looking for is someone that can help to personalize an experience in a way that helps them feel that they understand their financial situation and that they are making a smart decision around buying a home. There is a lot of technology and a great process that these companies are putting together to help them feel empowered while their loan officers can provide that guidance throughout that journey.
It is fascinating to see the different ways this report and this service are spinning out and helping people. You championed financial literacy by yourself and passed that over to Tony, which is fabulous. I saw what you did. It was good work. How is financial literacy playing into this? Are you getting some new clues in which we can help create greater financial literacy?
One in five of the response to lenders said that they didn’t have any confidence in any step of the home-buying process. One in four said the lack of understanding was a factor, and 1 in 5 said confidence. It is both, and there is a lot of content out there about financial literacy in general. Next-gen or Millennials are way below the average than the generations were previously in terms of being able to answer basic financial literacy questions.
When it comes down to it, a lot of people in this generation don’t have anyone that is teaching them about financial literacy. They may even have some basic financial literacy information, but they are not getting home-buying information at all. There was one study that said that 23% of kids said that they don’t talk to their parents about financial education at all. They are not getting it from their parents. We are not educating it at least well in schools.
I did a presentation once at Harvard Business School where no one in the room knew that you could put less than 20% down to buy a home. Even at the highest level of education and in a business school, people don’t have this kind of information. I think it’s providing that basic information. I always talk about connecting with your communities and to everyone you meet on social media so that at least someone has a connection with someone they can eventually know, like and trust to be able to get that information from them. In this industry, we could be better leaders or build a culture around leadership in the overall financial wellness area, which leads people to build wealth through home ownership.
One of the things I like about what you do is your NexGen Home Buyer Report. I like to get some insights into the characteristics of the NextGen home buyer that you can share with us from that report.
I shared a few of those that are the most important here, but in looking at this generation, they are skeptical of the people they are working with. They are skeptical that home ownership is going to be a good investment. They are concerned about not having enough information. That would be the underlying factor in looking at this generation, which leads us to better understand that in reaching this generation, we have to build connections and trust through the technology that we use, the products that we offer, and the awareness and education that is delivered throughout the process. Going back to that overall customer experience, how do we build trust and information throughout that process?
Alice, do you have any questions as we get ready to wrap this up or anything that comes to mind?
I found that very interesting that for all the information that is on the internet, the next-gen isn’t going there to get that information. Even Allen talked about Fannie Mae’s home view and all kinds of home buyer education there. You can get an app for anything related to anything buying a home. I found that fascinating that you were still finding that people didn’t feel they had the resources. The second thing was about the lack of trust. We were talking about that earlier and what it takes to build trust, trust equation, and all that. Do you have any suggestions for how to reach that group in this way? It is all out there. It is a matter of trying to find a way to get it in front of them. What are your thoughts?
I want to go back to address the online situation. Ninety-eight of our responders said they started their search online, and that is consistent with all the research out there. Everyone goes online first. The interviews I have done with people say that they pulled back. They go online and feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. It is not necessarily personalized to their situation.
I was going through this process a year ago, and I bought a home before, but I still felt like, “Am I making the wrong decision.” There is so much anxiety around this. There is much complexity that people pull back. They start their search there. They do go to friends and family for referrals, but they go back to Google to search for those referrals.
One thing that was interesting was that social media and video played a big factor in where they go for information about personal finance. Seventy-four percent of our respondents said they go to YouTube for personal finance information. Back in September 2022, 12% said they go to TikTok for personal finance information, which I thought was interesting. I’m sure it is only risen since then.
On looking at that, people are consuming information over video. They are going to their social networks. They validate information online. If we look at our top performers, the number one thing to keep in mind is looking at how you are responding to your consumers and building out that customer experience from 0.0 all the way through beyond the transaction. If you look at this data, one way to nurture and pull in leads is to leverage video, social media, and online reviews to help validate that information once they get the referral to you.
The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fit for me, Kristin. You talk about trust and financial literacy. I go back to the beginning of this conversation, and you were talking about the client or consumer experience that FAM is building. They are working with the customer to help them understand the transaction and financial health.
It now seems to fit that we need to change the mindset that this is not a transaction. This is a journey, and a lot more emphasis needs to be placed on the front end part of this journey with regards to raising the financial literacy of the borrower, and working in a manner that is consistent with helping them benefit from a financial perspective for this most important transaction that they are undertaking. Thank you. I see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together now.
One thing you mentioned was that they were large lender award winners, and how they are leveraging other debt to consumers that they have. They are diving deep into their customer’s needs at the start of the consultation. We talked a lot about before the consultation, but even starting from the beginning, if you set yourself up as someone who is going to forever be there for them as a guide through their classes of building wealth through home ownership, they will become your best advocates. They will send everyone they know, love and care about to you because they believe and trust you in what feels like a fairly dark space to them.If you set yourself up as a guide for first-time homebuyers, they'll forever be your best advocates. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk a little bit about Experience.com. How can people get signed up for this service? Is this report at additional fees? Is this the report published in the domain out there on the web? How can I get a copy of it?
You can find out about our top performers on our website at Experience.com. We will be dripping out a lot of these interviews over social media over the few days. Follow us on Experience.com on social media. You can find the NexGen Home Buyer report on my personal website, which is KristinMesserli.com. The last couple of years of reports there are available on the research tab.
I will be working with Experience.com to create new research in 2022 that will encompass the next-gen home buyer, as well as other demographics. Keep an eye out for that. If you are interested in leveraging Experience.com, we have a broker service available for free, and you can sign up if you go to Experience.com/broker. If you are a company, you can contact me directly, and you can connect with me on LinkedIn or go to our website at Experience.com and sign up for a demo.
Nikki shot a note to me saying that it is also on our website. There is a link to the write-up and the home buyer report also on our website. Go over the Lykken on Lending, go to this segment, and you will see a link NexGen Home Buyer Report. Click on it and you will get access to it. I encourage you to go check out this company. They do a great job of helping you get feedback.
We always hear from the problem borrowers. We assume many are pleased with the service that we do overall, even though it sounds like we have some work to do based on this report, Kristin. Overall, we do a good job. Unless you’re using a service like this, you got to get signed up with Experience.com. That is a shameless plug right in for your company. I love what you do. Thank you so much for being ready with us, Kristin.
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
Our focus was going to continue talking about marketing, what you can do to get intelligence of what is going on, and then what you do with it. We got Josh Lehr coming on with Total Expert as our special guest. That wraps up this episode. We are thrilled to have you. Thank you so much. We want to say a special thank you to our sponsors, Finastra, Lenders One, Mobility MMI, Modex, The MBA, Knowledge Coop, The Mortgage Collaborative, Snapdocs, SuccessKit, Lender Toolkit, Total Expert, FormFree and SimpleNexus. Have a great week, everybody. I look forward to having you back here next episode.
- Industry Syndicate
- Mortgage Bankers Association
- Fusion Mortgage Bot
- Lenders One
- The Mortgage Collaborative
- Total Expert
- Joe Welu – Past Episode
- Knowledge Coop
- Mobility MMI
- Briana Ings – Past Episode
- Lender Toolkit
- Brent Chandler – Past Episode
- Lori Brewer – Past Episode
- DW Consulting
- Debbie Wemyss – Past Episode
- Kristin Messerli
- Finance of America
- NexGen Home Buyer Report
- LinkedIn – Kristin Messerli
About Kristin Messerli
NextGen Research and Strategy | Public Speaking | Helping housing and finance professionals build trust with Millennials and Gen Z