Ensuring borrowers receive accurate and up-to-date information is critical. Unfortunately, the technology and processes some mortgage servicers use to manage the materials their customer service teams rely on are outmoded and inefficient. Operational silos, reliance on third-parties, and outdated legacy systems all prevent mortgage servicers from acting fast when content changes are required. That kind of inefficiency leaves mortgage servicers prone to regulatory risk and prevents customer service teams from being able to easily access the communications they need to support borrowers.
Customer service representatives (CSRs) are a critical point of contact for borrowers. Their duties range from answering common questions like how to submit payment, to addressing individual borrower concerns, and preventing complaints. More importantly, they are a mortgage servicer’s front line when it comes to making sure borrower payments are made or in the case of a disruption, return to a regular payment schedule.
All borrower communications are subject to constantly evolving regulations, which means mortgage servicers must make frequent updates. Mortgage servicers need to be nimble and fast: they cannot afford to wait weeks or months to implement changes and ensure their borrowers’ questions are answered accurately. It is crucial to get updated communications into the hands of their CSRs as soon as possible.
Regrettably, the systems and processes that mortgage services rely on to support their customer service teams prevent changes from happening quickly. This hampers not only the CSRs’ ability to quickly and accurately respond to borrower questions, but also the mortgage servicers’ ability to stay in compliance.
The customer service team at a mortgage servicer is often divided into several groups: for example, a front-line call center, a collections group, and a default team. Each group typically assists borrowers both online and by phone. Depending on the specific question or issue, CSRs will often need to gather information to ensure they send borrowers the appropriate follow-up communications given their circumstance, location, and options.
A borrower might request or be assigned a single point of contact (SPOC) to guide them through the loss mitigation process. That SPOC, a type of customer service representative from the mortgage servicer, will explain the options as they pertain to the borrowers’ intentions, financial situation and region. Any correspondence or documents the customer service representative sends afterwards, whether concerning a forbearance plan or foreclosure, will vary depending on the borrowers’ answers.
Many mortgage servicers still provide their CSRs with libraries of shared Word documents through which they must search for the correct communications to send to borrowers. It’s a tedious and time-consuming process, prone to errors in a job where timeliness is key. Other mortgage servicers have gone a step further and built custom solutions that work on top of their customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. In those cases, CSRs access a borrower’s records and use pre-built interviews to gather information about the borrower’s intentions and capabilities. At that point, a communication will be generated according to the specific situation. In both cases, the resulting documents are often exported to a third-party print service provider for composition, printing, and delivery.
If the in-house system is robust enough to handle dynamic document generation, the process for the CSR can be reasonably effective. Unfortunately, CSRs are usually unable to generate proofs of communications in real time, meaning they can’t see what they are about to send to a borrower, nor can they append a copy of communications sent to the customer record. That leaves future CSRs and the mortgage servicing organization unable to reference which communications have already been sent in a centralized place, tied to the customer record. In addition, the different customer service teams might not all use the same CRM. A default team, for example, may not be able to access the same information as the call-center team. Finally, these home-grown systems can present a number of issues for mortgage servicers from a content management perspective. The complex nature of these custom tools means that any content changes require the support of IT departments and often requires some level of coding. This can lead to delays so lengthy that mortgage servicers run the risk of sending out-of-date or non-compliant communications. The same holds true for targeting rules and logic that tie into the interview screens that make the content selections based on responses. The result is a costly, slow moving solution that don’t support the kind of agile, omni-channel demands of today’s mortgage servicers.
Thankfully, modern technology offers answers to these problems. Mortgage servicers looking to power-up their customer service teams and borrower communication strategies are turning to SaaS-based centralized content hubs. These cloud-based platforms grant many benefits to forward thinking mortgage servicers looking to increase speed and agility, reduce costs, stay compliant, and improve the borrower experience.
Old school, including legacy home-grown, borrower communications systems require IT specialists to make updates because coding is required. Modern solutions have advanced to the point where you don’t need to involve IT to create or update a communication or the targeting rules. It has also become increasingly important for non-technical users to be in control of borrower communications. Business users know what kind of message they need to convey, and with the ever-shifting and increasingly complex regulatory environment, they can’t afford to wait for an opening in their IT department’s or print service provider’s schedule for a change to be made. With modern no-code solutions, business users are empowered to author, target, proof, test, and then push updated communications out entirely on their own. This can cut down the time it takes to create or update communications from weeks or months to a matter of minutes or hours depending on the scope of the change.
Many of the borrower communications systems being used by servicers today were built to support a print-only world. Digital channels are growing in popularity and borrowers are increasingly expecting their servicers to be able to use them. To meet this demand, mortgage servicers using outdated systems are forced to develop new processes and manage separate systems (each with their own content repository) for every channel they support. Each new channel and supporting system then needs to be separately integrated into the mortgage servicer’s existing CRM. It’s an ever-increasing spiral of technical resources, complexity, cost, and time. When content is managed within a centralized content hub, it’s easy to leverage the same approved content across channels. This makes it easy for CSRs to support borrowers according to their preference, and vastly reduces the time and technical effort on the part of the servicer by eliminating operational silos.
With a centralized content hub, a customer service representative can access the type of communication they need to send, answer a few key questions about the borrower’s situation, then generate a purpose-built communication dynamically assembled from the content in the hub and the borrower’s specific data. The customer service representative can see exactly what the communication will look like, to assure the message, tone, and accuracy. Best of all, the whole process can happen in real-time. That way, depending on the type of interaction, the customer service representative can either present the borrower with the communication immediately, or deliver it later via print or digitally. Copies of all borrower communications will automatically be appended to the customer’s record through integration with servicer’s CRM and in the appropriate archive, so the mortgage servicer will always know which communications have been sent, and when.
Not only do mortgage servicers need a content hub that works with the communication channels and methods that best suit their borrowers, they also want one that makes content creation and update easier for their teams. With a centralized hub, all content is modularized, and becomes a single point of reference. Thus, a change to a piece of content which is used in many communications, like a regulatory disclosure, can be updated once and instantly updated within every communication where it appears. This leads to much faster cycles of change, less chance of human error, and far fewer hours of redundant work.
Ultimately, any borrower-facing communication management system should improve the customer experience. Intelligent content hubs also have AI capabilities which can assist business users when creating communications. These tools can help creators to align the tone or adjust the reading level of a particular communication, an important skill when it comes to stressful situations like borrower default scenarios. AI can also perform sentiment checks to co-ordinate messaging across multiple platforms and analyze content for brand violations to ensure all information is correct and up to date.
Mortgage servicers who don’t change their approach to supporting CSR teams and the borrower communications they require to perform their role, will continue to struggle with operational efficiency. Keeping up with regulatory changes will become increasingly more complicated, as will ensuring borrowers receive accurate information from their customer support teams. Intelligent content management through a centralized hub increases a mortgage servicer’s efficiency and control. And because such an agile hub makes it easy for CSRs to access clear, compliant and up-to-date communications, a mortgage servicer’s CSRs are free to do what they do best: help borrowers.
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