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Meet the Player Changing the Closing Game for Lenders: The Quarterback

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By Amy Tankersley

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In the ever-evolving challenges of today’s mortgage market, customer satisfaction (CSAT) rates are essential to mortgage lenders and their ultimate customers, homebuyers. Every CSAT score tells a unique story about a real estate closing and its many customer touchpoints. Title companies help their lender customers to meet homebuyer expectations with individualized, comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs) that propel their CSAT scores higher. 

At the center of States Title’s SLAs is our best-in-class concierge service, a dedicated team member that acts as the “quarterback” of the transaction.

“The concierge is your single point of contact for managing the closing process from end to end,” said Kristin Miller, Head of Service Strategy at States Title. “Because our team is comprised of knowledgeable title and escrow experts who have dealt with thousands of previous transactions, they can quickly and accurately respond directly to a variety of questions and concerns.”

Bespoke title and escrow

When States Title’s Operations team set out in early 2019 to develop its best-in-class customer interface, it focused on alleviating lenders’ common pain points, including incomplete, late, and unprofessional communication and confusion.

“You never want to see complaints like, ‘this is my second or third request,’” Miller said. “We wanted to be able to offer timely, professional, and comprehensive customer responses. If someone contacts us and asks for five things, the concierge sends one complete response with all five items.

“Initially, we built a sort of switchboard on steroids,” Miller said. “The idea was to enable customers to be informed about the entire closing process – not just the title and escrow aspects, but also to get answers to any questions they had from the beginning of the order through to policy issuance.”

As we began to track the efficiency of this system, “one thing that became glaringly obvious and equally important was our quality and accuracy,” Miller said.

“The first iteration of this solution was self-reported. When someone on the team noticed an error made in a file, they logged that error themselves,” she explained. “We then created an unbiased operations efficiency team that assessed both the quality and accuracy of our customer responses. This team identifies trends in customer responses, and if necessary, recommends additional staff training or one-on-one consultations to ensure our team members are able to deliver quality, on-time responses.”

Calling every play

After testing this concept over time, States Title decided to enhance the service and assign a concierge to each client, giving them a single point of contact that manages every step of the title and escrow process. The concierge is the lender’s first line of support, reachable via a dedicated phone number and email address for each customer.

“They act as the quarterback of the transaction,” Miller said. “They are not a traffic manager, but an embedded team member dedicated to the customer’s needs. They are highly trained staff that can expertly and quickly respond to the most complex title issues.”

During the onboarding process, the lender’s assigned concierge completes an extensive questionnaire to learn about the lender’s preferences for service and communication. 

“For example, one lender may prefer to receive title documents sent separately, while another lender may prefer them to be attached to an email,” Miller said. “We also update these preferences as they change. For example, they may not have wanted the homeowners’ insurance information to be updated on every file, but then they change their mind and decide they want it on every file. The concierge becomes intimately knowledgeable about client nuances and how they like to do things. They collect as much information as they possibly can prior to accepting any order.”

These preferences are housed and continuously updated in our online knowledgebase, Atlas. Emails are routed to a communication system built into our closing platform, and all exchanges, files, and records are conveniently stored in one secure location.

In the last month, our concierge team members were able to achieve the following response milestones:

  • Overall concierge response open time averaged 19 minutes
  • Highly trained concierge was able to respond to 80 percent of customer questions within 30 minutes
  • If a complex title issue requires additional research, a complete response from another dedicated member of the operations team was delivered in about one hour
  • The quality of the overall transaction is reviewed for each order we manage, ensuring 95 percent of our orders complete without customer-impacting issues

What kind of tricky title issues do our concierge team members tackle? In the next blog in this series, we will examine our holistic approach to quality customer response.