Industry disruptors are raising the bar when it comes to meeting – and exceeding – customer expectations. Banks and lenders alike recognize the necessity to optimize the customer journey and deliver a seamless, personalized experience.

A recent study by BAI indicated that a primary focus for financial services leaders is to improve digital interaction with consumers and close gaps throughout the customer lifecycle. Furthermore, a report by Econsultancy and Adobe showed financial services leaders ranked improving the customer experience as the number one way to differentiate their organization from competitors.

How can financial services organizations ensure they have the mindset and technology in place to create personalized, relevant content and deliver the right message at the right time to the right person?

We turned to elite bankers, lenders and technology leaders to get their insight on the latest innovations and top strategies around humanizing complex financial transactions.

We believe in an industry where technology companies and great brands come together – and through collaboration and innovation – elevate an industry.”


Joe Welu 
Founder & CEO


1903_IMG_Joe Welu Headshot

How critical is it to humanize complex financial transactions?

“I recently had a really interesting conversation with the person sitting next to me on a plane. This person installs massive, industrial-grade sound systems, and he was in town on a large project. He asked me what I do, and I told him how our industry is going through this disruption. So, I asked him, ‘Would you go to Zillow for a loan or for your next real estate purchase?’

He had just sold a condo and got a new home, and he even checked Zillow for the valuation, but he said, ‘No, not beyond research.’ Then I asked, ‘What if it was Amazon and they could—’ and he stopped me to answer, ‘I still want to talk to somebody.’ 

This, to me, exemplifies the significance of humanization throughout the sales process.”

How do you ensure you don’t lose customers in gaps along the customer journey?

“Our loan officers can’t pass go in our loan origination system (LOS) without putting a lead source code in. And although that sounds somewhat trivial, there are dynamic things you can do to plug in those gaps along the customer journey. If we know where they begin, then our marketing team can build those journeys, along with some of the resources in Total Expert, for us to stay in contact with those folks.

It’s not just builder, Realtor or past client, either. We get very granular, knowing whether it’s a builder that is coming from our bank, if it’s a builder that we have a mortgage relationship with and all those different things, so we can create different contact points for those clients.”

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How do you ensure you’re not losing leads during that initial discovery phase?

“We talk a lot about being an adviser and providing value to that customer that they can’t get from filling out an application on LendingTree or anything like that. It’s taking that customer and putting them in a campaign that gets them the information that they need at that time. We’re fortunate to have all this data that we can really stand on and say, ‘Okay, this person is 25 years old, working in this location, here are the things that we can predict based off of that demographic behavior.’

Putting everybody on this sort of one-size-fits-all drip campaign is a waste of everybody’s time. But if you provide consumers with information that’s timely and relevant, they’ll talk to you and continue to come back.”

How does your partnership with Total Expert bridge critical gaps along the customer journey?

“Banks and lenders are focused on making sure nothing is left on the table, and if they see someone that falls out of the system, they need to identify: where are they, where did they get stuck and how can they bring them back into the funnel. Our partnership with Total Expert allows banks and lenders to leverage this data to re-engage customers who are stuck or have fallen out of the funnel. We must pinpoint where they fell out and understand why in order to re-engage them.

I think our partnership with Total Expert positions banks and lenders to understand their customer journey and give them the power to re-engage leads without feeling like they have to start over. As humans, we get inundated with so much information we sometimes forget what we were doing. How do we as partners help shepherd buyers through that path and create a seamless experience? And a big part of that is making sure people have the right information at the right time and that it’s not so ‘salesy.’“

In an age when 65 percent of consumers say they have cut ties with a brand after just one subpar experience, how can the financial services industry meet rising consumer expectations?

“Starting with the very first interaction – all the way through – consistency is the number one thing. Every interaction a customer has with your organization either increases or decreases the trust they have in you. We have to make sure what we say to our customers at the start of any interaction makes sense at every subsequent point in their experience. This applies to every digital experience, whether that’s through an email, a landing page, an online application or subsequent loan status communications. Does it all flow? Does it make sense? Does it seem like you’re working with the same company the entire time or the same loan originator the entire time?

That’s how I’m thinking about customer experience. Sometimes, we delegate out different specific jobs or tasks to various people, and then we forget to stop and actually double check that everything we did actually flows together – that it’s the same experience every time. Because in the end, if it doesn’t all flow together, it’s going to be a broken experience for your customers.”

How does technology allow for personalized, consistent communication along the customer journey?

“My wife and I bought a new house earlier this year. I’ve been in the mortgage industry for 15 years, and I know what’s going on. But I still wanted to call my loan officer every other day and say, ‘Did you get that? Oh, good. Hey, I sent that in. Did you receive it?’

My family was trusting me with this process and it was a stressful time. And so, if it’s stressful for me, I know it is stressful for our customers. We really put an emphasis on keeping in touch with our customers throughout the process, even if there’s no news.

At the end of the day, customers want to be contacted, and Total Expert’s helped us maintain that consistent contact and free up our loan officers’ time.”

How does technology help humanize complex financial transactions?

“I think there is fear of missing out on the latest technology, so companies are sometimes over-investing right now without having a clear strategy for deployment and integration. I hear many of our members saying, ‘I have to get that, I have to get this and now I have to hire someone to integrate it all.’ Unfortunately, organizations are just adding cost and technology without a clear direction as to what they are trying to accomplish and the types of efficiencies they are looking to create.

I do think that, with the help of technology, we’re going to create an end-to-end solution for the consumer that will ease the process and increase satisfaction for housing consumers. Additionally, TMC members are working to make it more efficient to run their operations through these investments, and technology providers can work to integrate with each other so that we can achieve quicker implementation and cost savings for their clients. Within TMC, we are building an environment where our lender members and technology providers can work together to achieve this important goal. That way, we can all better understand how technology product investments can truly impact your ROI.”

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Technology solutions have allowed organizations to be more efficient in their marketing efforts by using intelligent automation to close the gaps along the customer lifecycle and maximize the lifetime value of their customers.

However, consumer expectations will continue to rise and there will always be another industry disruptor, making meaningful connections and consumer trust all the more indispensable. The brands that prioritize the customer, leverage their data and streamline the customer experience are the brands that will gain an edge over the competition.

Total Expert is proud to partner with best-of-breed technologies to empower banks and lenders to humanize complex financial transactions and deliver relevant, hyper-personalized content to create customers for life.

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