Millennials, like me, expect our options laid out for us.
Maybe it’s because we were raised on Choose Your Own Adventure books. You know, the books that periodically provide a choice in the plot.
Source: Google Images
“Turn to page 33 to enter the cave.”
“Turn to page 111 to follow the trail.”
Maybe it’s because we graduated to Oregon Trail where our choices were life or death.
Whatever the contributing factors, Millennials have redefined technology and consumer expectations for every industry, including real estate & mortgage.
The Evolution of CX
Customer experience, otherwise known as CX, is defined less by the customer journey and more by the customer’s expectations. “Heightened customer expectations” is a nice way of saying that Millennials demand more from the companies where we do business.
We want what we want when we want it.
You may read this and think, “well, that’s self-centered.” Sure is.
But allow me to reframe that perception to this: giving the customer all the potential ways to do business with your company is a good way to keep them happy and encourage them to come back.
In recent years, the Millennial-driven demand for options saw widespread adoption. Ride-sharing, food delivery, and customized online clothing fitting rose in popularity and changed expectations of what consumer-facing products & services can do. Consumers are not just getting used to technology enabling their decisions; they expect it to anticipate them.
Consumer Demand in Real Estate Transactions
For a heavily-regulated, complex transaction such as buying a house with mortgage financing, having all the tools and options is expensive. There are myriad variables across every time of transaction. To properly equip consumers or real estate agents with all the tools, technology must account for any type of deal. For instance, the local nature of real estate means every combination of aspects within a transaction, down to the country level, must be built into digital platforms.
Similarly, different combinations of buyer needs and seller requirements will create thousands of different possible paths for the customer journey (many different adventures, if you will). For instance, many mortgage lenders have multiple channels for loan applications.
- The retail channel generally refers to the individual loan officer or branch offices that meet directly with consumers and generate loan applications.
- The direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel generally refers to call center or digital platform where consumers provide their application data.
- The wholesale channel refers to loan applications collected and submitted by independent mortgage brokers.
- Some lenders have a partnerships channel which is a lot like DTC but with dedicated customer service professionals who can tailor their script and service to the referral source. This is helpful for large real estate partnerships or other employment benefit-type partnerships.
- Finally, some larger lenders or aggregators buy already-closed loans which are generally referred to as the correspondent channel.
Lenders need to have myriad options throughout the process because consumers have different wants and needs. Similarly, real estate agents have different demands just as mortgage brokers have different expectations as well. As a result, nationwide lenders need to have all the paths leading to the closing table. No matter the channel the various stakeholders have high expectations and want real-time solutions.
The closing process is no different.
Consumers, title & settlement agents, notaries, and attorneys all have different sets of expectations and needs. For the last several years, the origination process has dominated the digital experience but now lenders and title & settlement companies are having to adapt to the same strategy.
Nationwide lenders and top-performing title & settlement companies need to have all the available tools and options for consumers and referral sources. Yes, these options are controlled by state law but increasingly state law is evolving to include all available technology. The available paths include remote online notarization (RON), remote ink notarization (RIN), in-person electronic notarization (IPEN) and hybrid closing (part e-Sign, part wet sign).
Continuing to Evolve Choice in Real Estate Transactions
As the industry continues the march toward a truly end-to-end digital mortgage process, any participant in the process will need to accommodate the available options to serve all channels and clients. Choosing your own adventure is one thing when flipping to a page in the same book. It’s entirely another thing when implementing new technology across an ongoing pipeline of closings. That’s where technology comes in.
A true platform allows your existing workflow to shine. Choosing your own adventure is not just for the customer. Experts like title companies should also have every tool and solution to not just get the job done but expand their business. Stavvy is purpose-built for your custom-built workflow. When we say “choose your own adventure,” we mean it. Not only will your clients be able to choose any digital tool or access point in their transaction but you will as well. From Remote Online Notarization to mortgage servicing, Stavvy's digital tools meet consumers where they want options.
Our generation is conditioned to expect that we will have any technology tool or personal contact we need to get the job done. The versatility and flexibility required to grow your business under those constraints can only be accomplished when you equip your people with technology that makes them more effective. Choose Your Own Adventure might have been a fun book experience when we were kids but it’s a defining feature of the CX needed to succeed in 2022 and beyond.
Jeremy Potter - VP, Product Strategy