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What Ever Happened To "The Customer Is Always Right"?

By
Mortgage and Lending with LeaderOne Financial Corporation 193265

The customer is always right...or at least that's what I was told when I started work at an auto parts store in San Bernardino, California as a teenager. Could this still be true today? Since my days of peddling quarts of oil, I'd like to think that I've learned a thing or two about customer service. Actually, I'd like to believe that I haven't forgotten anything about customer service.

Today, I am a partner in a mortgage company. We are a lender working in what some feel is one of the most difficult markets the industry has faced in generations. In this type of environment and as competitive as the mortgage industry is today, you'd think that customer service for the sake of client retention would be at the forefront of everyone's business model. However, this does not seem to be the case.

The number one complaint that I hear from consumers who have worked with another lender prior to working with us at LeaderOne Financial is that their Loan Officer wouldn't call them back. Really? Yes, really. It is true that we cannot help everyone, but at least every client and the parties involved in their transaction deserve to know as soon as possible whether or not they can be helped and in what period of time. However, this is simply not the norm. This is a very disturbing practice and is not unique to the mortgage industry.

Last weekend I had what I have been calling, "the worst customer service weekend ever!" I was mistreated at a major retail chain and had my massage cancelled with no notice...twice!

Monday I watched the news and listened to reporting about the decline of customer service then read more about it on facebook. I watched as literally hundreds of people commented on poor customer service experiences and how they're essentially giving up on the idea. Wow!

I refuse to give up on the idea. LeaderOne Financial's motto is, "We're Committed to World Class Service". I believe we do a good job of this but we consistently train and lecture on the value of customer service. As I read through hundreds of feedback letters from our past customers, it seems the experience means more to them than the product. Our service levels seem to be the most frequently mentioned item in all of the surveys.  I suppose that is why the vast majority of our business is repeat and referral. Had we not taken care of our customers and had they not felt that customer service was important to us, I wonder what our numbers would look like.

We are actually holding a "Customer Love Event" next week and inviting people from all industries to take part in training and discussion on the resurgence of customer service.

Customer service is such an integral part of the sales process that it cannot be ignored. It cannot be separated from any part of a business. Customer service in a mortgage company begins with integrity, continues with proficiency and doesn't end at funding.

For more discussion or information about our process at LeaderOne Financial, look us up at http://www.leader1.com/colorado-mortgage. You can also find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/leaderonecoloradosprings.

Jeremy P. Stump - Partner

LeaderOne Financial Corp. - Colorado

719-592-9339 x15

jeremystump@leader1.com

LeaderOne Financial is a mortgage lender licensed in Colorado and several other states. For a list of states in which we're licensed, go to http://www.leader1.com

Colorado Lic. #LMB100023515

NMLS#193265

For License Verification: http://www.dora.state.co.us/real-estate

Comments (3)

Michael O'Donnell
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Arizona Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
GRI, ePRO, Accessible Homes

Jeremy,

The saying "the customer is always right" is a useful reminder of who pays the bills, and the respect that we owe our customers, whatever they say.  It is also not true.

We live in an information age, where success is often reckoned by the volume of output, not quality or accuracy. And so, potential clients armed with huge amounts of inaccurate or misleading information and statistics make well-meaning statements that are no where near to being "right".

And so we educate.  But to deny our professional training, experience, and expertise, in the pretense that "the customer is always right" does not serve teh client or customer, and devalues us as knowledgable guides and service providers in complex transactions.

Jun 24, 2011 07:06 AM
Jeremy Stump
LeaderOne Financial Corporation - Colorado Springs, CO
Your VA Home Loan Expert

Michael,

I 100% agree with you that the customer is not always right when it comes to the accuracy and volume of knowledge that we have as real estate and mortgage professionals. They were not always right when I sold auto parts either (that was a very long time ago). However, they are right to expect a certain level of service. They come to us with an expectation and in sales, we are in the business of setting and managing expectations. If the destination is the product, then the customer service is the journey and it's our job to guide them.

I get phone calls every day from consumers who have received wildly inaccurate information and I have to put them back on course. A large part of customer service is proficiency.

In my title I was really playing on the old saying that "The customer is always right". Well...they were right when they called us and they're right to expect that we'll treat them well. However, we are the professionals and it's our job to be informed and to inform the consumer.

Jun 24, 2011 07:24 AM
Jeremy Stump
LeaderOne Financial Corporation - Colorado Springs, CO
Your VA Home Loan Expert
Thank you! Thank you!
Jul 02, 2011 03:35 AM