The servicing industry is in the midst of significant regulatory rule adoption and implementation, but based on the volume of servicing-specific entries in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, the pace of change is simply not rapid enough. At a recent servicing trade show, Deputy Director of the CFPB, Steven Antonakes, clearly vocalized his level of disappointment in the lack of progress in this regard. Under this increased level of scrutiny, servicers are challenged to quickly and cost effectively improve their borrower communications to comply with the spirit of the CFPB’s regulations.
So where should servicers focus their attention first? A good starting point would be through the very communications channel that borrowers prefer to use most – the telephone. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) experience that a borrower has before being directed to an agent is crucial in ensuring borrower satisfaction and refining agent performance. Servicers should look for potential improvements within their IVR scripting and menu options to eliminate redundant data entry by borrowers and to shorten the average call length – something that can typically be achieved by improving the utility of existing systems.
The Borrower Experience
Every borrower, loan and situation is different. The personalization of the borrower experience enables servicers to differentiate themselves from their competitors and truly engage with their borrowers. Servicers must consider ways to anticipate borrower questions and offer options for borrowers to address issues themselves through intelligent self-service, via IVR and/or the Web. As an example, if a borrower requested a payoff statement three weeks ago, and she is calling again, she likely needs an updated payoff statement. In order to meet specific (and some of the most common) borrower needs, servicers should update their IVR menus to offer options such as this in efforts to streamline the borrower experience.
Borrowers are authenticated by IVR applications, most commonly by entering their loan number and the last four digits of their Social Security Number. However, a very common borrower complaint is the tedious repetition of the same loan and personal data once they are connected with an agent; wasting time and resources for both the agent and borrower. Servicers can build efficiencies into already existing processes – for example, agent/borrower interaction – by leveraging existing call center platforms, such as Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)-enabled systems, and implementing sophisticated screen pop options to consistently link caller account information with each call.
Effective communication between agents and borrowers creates a viable paper trail that enables servicers to immediately retrieve and generate reports to comply with Single Point of Contact (SPoC) requirements or loss mitigation guidelines. Enhanced call center systems tailored to the SPoC environment can produce call reports in a timely manner that will quickly mitigate any complaints against a specific agent or servicer within the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint database, or in the event of an audit.
The technology to address common servicing challenges to meet the latest industry standards is available today. By improving the utility of existing services, servicers are enabled to meet and exceed borrower satisfaction levels, ensure compliance and streamline agent efficiencies.
About The Author
Barry Hays is Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of TeleVoice, a provider of customized call center solutions, to the financial services industry. Barry may be reached by email at email@example.com.