“There is not digital strategy, only strategy in a digital world.”
Andrew Lo, COO at Kanetix Ltd., shared that maxim at last week’s MPC National Conference. His message: It’s time for brokers and lenders to stop thinking of customer experience online as being distinct from customer experience in general. With the net being embedded in most of our lives, “strategy” and “digital strategy” are virtually the same thing.
“I am sure mortgages are ripe for disruption,” Lo said at the event. The mortgage process is full of frustration, and the job of brokers and lenders is to “convert people from frustration to happiness.” Creative technology can help do that.
The Big 6 banks are finally waking up to this. I spoke with a high-level bank mortgage executive yesterday who told me the banks are now in a race to build out their online channels. Expect a number of online mortgage announcements in 2017 and 2018, she said.
Fortunately for brokers, banks are not in the lender choice business. They’ll pitch only their own products online, but they’ll noticeably streamline the application, mortgage status and document upload processes.
In any case, if you’re eager to improve your own online presence, here are a few nuggets from Lo’s talk:
- Users of smartphones represent the biggest ocean of potential customers going forward. But you need a website built from the ground up for mobile, to engage people’s attention on dinky little cellphone screens.
- Realize that for every person shopping for mortgages on their smartphone, the majority will start to fill out an application on the phone and likely complete that application on their desktop. You need to tightly integrate your mobile and desktop experiences to allow for a smooth transition.
- Lo suggests connecting your website to Google Analytics, which is free. Use Google’s data to design and optimize your online sales funnel. In other words, figure out how your consumers are using your website and remove all possible impediments (where they drop off, or leave your site). “Make enhancements to the user experience based on data, not opinion,” he urges.
- Focus on soliciting online client reviews because few other efforts can enhance customer trust more. But be careful to nurture 5-star experiences, he warns. As soon as reviews drop below 4 stars (out of 5), no one seeing your reviews will come to your site.
- Use A/B testing to determine which homepage (or landing page) better converts leads into applicants. Building two pages and tracking their metrics takes a fair amount of effort, but if you aren’t doing it, your biggest competitors are.