How To Channel Your Competitive Advantage

Borrower expectations are changing at the same rate that technology is evolving. And that rate is accelerating by the day, so lenders need to keep up by offering more choices to support borrowers’ preferences. Today’s borrower expects to contact lenders on their own terms at their own time, whether it be to speak to a representative in person, on the phone or via mobile applications on their tablets, smart phones and laptops. They demand a consistent experience across these multiple touch points.

An omnichannel approach enables consistency across physical, mobile, digital and online channels for an overall better customer experience. The more channels lenders offer, the more channels borrowers will use. However, it is highly counterproductive for lenders to simply add channels only because they exist; they must strategically consider how the omnichannel model will impact their lending institution and customer base.

So how does a lender use appropriate multiple channels to drive a single customer view? This simple checklist can serve as the foundation to answer that complex question.

Research. Research how your technology plans will impact your customers, while taking into consideration their demographics. A primary benefit of omnichannel lending is its ability to track important information about borrowers, such as knowledge of their location, preferences and profile. This will arm lenders with the data they need to tailor the experience to each borrower based on their interactions with different channels. This level of insight should drive future decisions on the development of new products and services to constantly appeal to the borrower’s changing needs.

It does not stop at customer acceptance. Just as important is considering employee acceptance and determining how comfortable they are deploying the new technologies. Lenders should prepare an employee training program centered on best practices when operating the new solutions. Lenders should also monitor results by gathering statistics on the costs associated with implementation, cost savings and revenue generation resulting from a new integration.

Evaluate. Next, lenders should identify which architectural systems are outdated and/or too costly to maintain. Analyze your legacy systems and platforms to ensure they have strong interactive communications mechanisms. Make sure your loan origination system is flexible enough to support multiple channels and can enable a customer-driven workflow. Workflow-enabled loan origination systems support changing regulatory changes and customer preferences more easily than older, more rigid LOS systems. Lenders should interpret whether the addition of new channels drive a consistent experience for both the back office user and on the frontlines with the customer.

Prioritize. Make sure to review and prioritize your technology options and determine whether the integration across all channels will reach the end goal of customer and employee satisfaction. Ensure your foundational systems such as core banking/lending/servicing platforms offer enough flexibility to consolidate systems. If not, your next step should be to look into integrating with modern technology solutions.

Those lenders interested in acquiring and keeping borrowers must offer more choices to support borrowers’ expectations. The omnichannel experience is the most effective way to do so. But before diving in head first, lenders must fully understand the tools available today and develop a calculated approach to implementation.

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