By Brandy Bissett
The most successful auto servicers treat the welcome call as more than just a formality to perform when a new account comes on board. It is the first opportunity to delight and engage borrowers with your brand, capture and share information, and promote the services you provide. For a typical borrower, it is the start of a 36- to 68-month relationship that, if successful, will hopefully be extended to another vehicle.
Leave a positive first impression
Fifty-four percent of consumers said customer service was a top factor when choosing a lender — not the best available interest rate and low fees. After the consumer drives off the lot and returns home to add another monthly bill to their budget, they are sure to appreciate the effort and personalization made by lenders in those initial days to introduce the services your brand provides.
Making an upfront personal connection with borrowers helps ensure the integrity of the sale is carried on or it can be an opportunity to resolve any lingering grievances a dissatisfied customer may have.
Capture new information
As a servicer, the welcome call is a great time to capture customer data necessary for successful account management. For example, does the borrower prefer to be contacted by phone? Text? Email? Capturing this information upfront along with the borrowers contact information and consent ensures solid data integrity and utilization of the right communication channel from the onset. Additionally, the welcome call is a way for servicers to detect fraud early on by verifying key account and customer information during this interaction.
For sub-prime lenders, the welcome call can be a meaningful strategy to mitigate risk by verifying the location of the vehicle and other key data that can reduce the impact of future defaults. With 60-day delinquencies on the rise and those with the poorest credit ratings owing billions on the vehicles they’re driving, it’s increasingly critical to capture key data upfront.
Promote your Services
During the welcome call, take time to share the variety of channels that make it easier for borrowers to engage with you and their account. Servicers can avoid late payments and reduce servicing costs when borrowers are knowledgeable on the methods available to them.
- Help them activate their online account
- Educate them on how to use it
- Let them know your system mobile friendly
- Explain the ease of making a payment
- Make sure they’re aware of the walk-in payment locations available
- And that they can set up recurring payments.
Beyond payments, provide them with a key contact available for support should they need default assistance down the line. If they are a lessee, let them know they can contact you at any time with questions and that you will be reaching out six to twelve months before the end of the term of their lease to discuss their options.
A warm welcome can go a long way for both servicers and borrowers. It opens up the lines of communication, sets the standard for the experience your customers can expect, and increases loyalty to your brand. Ultimately, the welcome establishes the personalization and protection your brand needs moving forward.
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