The role of feelings in customer retention

Mortgage customers have feelings too, which is why digital transformation strategies should include the emotive side of financial services. Mortgage providers can play an important role in helping people understand the switching process.

Homeowners have a lot to think about. Interest rate rises have hit the UK, so people need the proper information and advice to make the best financial decisions. This is an opportunity for mortgage providers to jump into the spotlight and offer a helping hand. It also represents an opportunity to test the stabilisers on your bicycle if you’re a mortgage provider using new technology this year. But relying on technology alone isn’t a comprehensive solution.

Headlines in the property sections, as well as elsewhere, decry the rising cost of living. Prices are going up left, right and centre, and property is where it often hurts the most. What the news outlets don’t necessarily do is offer help and advice, which is where mortgage providers should step in. And if those mortgage providers have wrestled with digital transformation over the last few years, they’re in a position to unleash their new know-how on customers.

It’s far too convenient and lazy to simply let journalists dictate the mortgage switching process. I’ve read plenty of “tips” about shopping around for better deals lately, which isn’t a bad thing at all. People should shop around. However, mortgage providers can offer better deals to existing customers too, so when the renewal date approaches (actually, long before then), the technology should be in place to begin the process of retaining the customer.

Make the switching process something to … enjoy!

Early repayment charges, redemption charges, up-front fees, and all sorts of extra costs play havoc with how a customer feels about you. If you’re a mortgage provider reading this, you should get used to hearing that word: “feels”. Whether the financial services sector likes it or not, people make decisions based on many factors: ignorance, misinformation, overconfidence, knowledge, and feelings. The cost of lost loyalty is a heavy one if the digital transformation you’ve gone through hasn’t factored in people’s feelings.

Right now, with those living costs going up and mortgage payments ever present, people want to feel as if they’re doing the right thing. Should they stay with their current mortgage provider and switch to a new product, or switch to a new provider entirely?

Yet, thinking technology will solve every customer retention problem is a mistake. The bigger picture involves understanding the role marketing and communications plays in developing strong relationships. A social media strategy should be as much a part of digital transformation as the platform you adopt, to better connect with customers. And advice should be given out willingly and for free, with as many different communication methods used as possible.

The personal touch is something the mortgage retention process desperately needs. For too long, it’s been a cold, clinical, paper-based, complicated journey. What mortgage providers should do is complement every ounce of new technology to add feeling to the process; to ensure that every mortgage customer has every valuable piece of information to hand.

That way, better financial decisions can be made, better mortgage rates can be offered and discovered, and the customer experience around mortgage switching can be frictionless and, dare I say it, enjoyable?

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