It really should be a no-brainer to acknowledge that any positive experiences a customer has with a company will lead to more repeat business. In fact, a Salesforce study from late 2020 of over fifteen thousand consumers and buyers within businesses found that 89 percent agreed that “a positive customer service experience makes (them) more likely to make another purchase” from a company. The study also noted that customers these days are demanding the convenience of technological solutions within the initial stages of contact and further seeking out experiences in their interactions with businesses that aren’t just personalized but empathetic to their needs as well.
When lenders enter the servicing phase of an auto loan, customer journeys should continue to be made as pleasant as possible. It’s the part of the lending process that links lenders with borrowers for the longest period of time, so it’s particularly important to make this relationship as responsive as possible. Doing so benefits lenders in the end, as according to a 2018 study by Hubspot, 93 percent of consumers stated that companies providing excellent customer service would see their repeat business. Given the importance of customer satisfaction along a customer’s journey, it only makes sense that lenders do their best to ensure a customer’s experience with their lending products is a good one.
Servicing Auto Loans: Improving the Customer Journey
While the application process is the first point at which lenders make contact with consumers about an auto loan, customer journeys continue for years through the servicing phase. As the lengthiest part of the lending process, an auto lender shouldn’t take loan servicing lightly. It’s during this time that auto lenders will establish whether a borrower will return to them for another loan or lease.
But lenders may be asking, “How do car loans attract customers?” It’s a good question, and to understand the answer, it’s essential to follow a customer’s auto loan journey to glean a fuller explanation.
Ensuring a Positive Auto Loan Customer Journey
Referring back to the Salesforce study mentioned earlier, the survey had participants rank twelve different industries as to how well they performed in seven specific areas. The financial services sector, which includes auto lenders, ranked in the bottom three in six of these areas. One of these included customer perception of the financial industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where participants ranked the sector as 10th out of the twelve sectors.
For the other areas, substandard rankings were as follows:
- Customer-centricity #11
- Environmental responsibility #11
- Product quality #10
- Service/support quality #10
- Social responsibility #11
While environmental and social responsibility issues can’t be resolved through a lender’s technology, it can provide a quality product that’s customer-centric and well-supported. How well lenders deal with their customers’ expectations has become key to the technology they utilize. And it reached an abrupt tipping point in 2020 due to the once-in-a-century pandemic. Customers today want a digital experience that doesn’t just personalize their interactions but one that responds intuitively to their needs.
One of the biggest drivers of web traffic these days involves simply making services available via smartphones and other mobile devices. Over half of web traffic is generated from a mobile device, so communicating with customers via their preferred method makes sense. Additionally, it helps drive user engagement, allowing auto lenders to offer additional products and services through this same channel.
Yet not every customer will prefer a single point of contact. To stay competitive, lenders need to offer an omnichannel experience to support customer queries. This should be available at any time and from any place, and it should include technology that better allows customers to interact with lenders. This might include chatbots, texting, email, telephone, mail, remote video chats, or any other means customers use as points of contact. All these contacts should be linked so that customers have a seamless experience and so customer support has a history of how, when, and why a customer made contact.
With all these points of contact, lenders can leverage the data gathered from customers. The use of data analytics enables lenders to deliver a better experience to their customers for a much lower price. By analyzing repayment schedules and changes in habits, lenders can profile customers more accurately. For example, it can enable them to predict when a customer is experiencing financial difficulties, allowing a quick intervention to minimize the chance of default. By gathering data throughout the lifespan of an auto loan, customer journeys can also be followed to glean relevant information that can lead to additional lending opportunities and ways in which lenders can improve their customer interactions.
Advanced financial technology (fintech) offers lenders a means to improve their customers’ experience. For example, software applications that enable easy mobile payments with biometric security protections allow customers to make payments more easily and securely.
Digitizing loan servicing allows consumers to resolve many of their own issues themselves, with minimal or no interference from the lender. This often more quickly resolves a problem a customer might have with their auto loan. Customer journeys that allow the use of self-service features enable customers to more efficiently garner information about products and services, saving more difficult matters for human customer care representatives. This leads to increased sales conversions for other products, higher customer retention rates, and improved customer satisfaction.
Personalizing Customer Experience
Beyond the originations process, personalizing a borrower’s experience throughout the lifespan of an auto loan really just gets down to messaging. Making a customer feel valued involves increasing engagement without annoying customers. Lenders can individualize their interactions based on already-established customer preferences to communicate with their customers. Lenders can use automation tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, a combination of policies, strategies, and technologies for analyzing interactions throughout the lifecycle of an auto loan. Customer journeys should be guided by lenders throughout the lifecycle of a loan. These interactions should prioritize creating a relationship that will promote customer retention and sales of additional products to the customer.
Applying Managed Services to Auto Loans
When looking at the best way to manage an auto loan, customer journeys can be made better when lenders utilize partners with both cutting-edge fintech and experience within the consumer lending industry. The technology of any third-party vendor that helps a lender manage their loan servicing is key to great customer experiences.
Companies offering managed servicing should offer lending technology that includes:
- Allowing instant access to account information in order to better inform conversations between the borrower and the lender’s customer service department.
- Employing Natural Language Processing (NLP) to assist in processing and understanding human language in order to automatically perform more tedious functions.
- Enabling payments through the use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) without needing to interact with a human in customer support.
- Keeping the caller’s position in a calling queue with an IVR callback option.
- Messaging powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can simulate human conversation via text or voice commands.
- Personalizing service through the use of automated virtual assistants in online interactions.
- Streamlining interactions with customer service representatives through click-to-call – also known as click-to-dial or click-to-talk–integrations to allow automatic dialing in real time.
- Utilizing IVR enables callers to access information with the support of NLP technology to allow hands-free responses to menus while negating the need for a live customer service representative.
Introducing defi MANAGED SERVICING
Formerly known as defi business process outsourcing (BPO), defi MANAGED SERVICING helps lenders administer auto loans and leases throughout their lifespans. Combining its cutting-edge fintech with proven methods and experience in the consumer lending industry, defi SOLUTIONS sets high standards for servicing operations we manage. Capable of working with lending startups or established lenders, defi can help grow your existing loan and lease portfolio without breaking the bank.
Vice President of Client Services, Steve Bisset, describes what defi does succinctly:
“Our people know defi SERVICING inside and out. We can implement it. We can run it. We need only an introduction to your approach to business and customer service and can start satisfying your customers in less time than imaginable.”With consumers increasingly expecting digital solutions to meet their lending needs, auto financing companies should turn to a partner like defi SOLUTIONS to deliver the products they need to manage vehicle leasing or auto loans. Customer journeys have never been more important to the consumer lending industry, so for lenders looking to reduce the cost of servicing, provide a better experience and retain customers, look to defi MANAGED SERVICING.
defi SOLUTIONS offers solutions for a lender’s complete loan or lease lifecycle. Partnering with captives, banks, credit unions, and finance companies, defi’s market-leading solutions help lenders exceed borrower expectations for a vehicle lease or auto loan. Customer journeys are enhanced via digital engagement throughout the lending process, with defi setting new standards for flexibility, configurability, and scalability in originations, servicing, and managed servicing. defi SOLUTIONS has the backing of Warburg Pincus, Bain Capital Ventures, and Fiserv. For more information on our cutting-edge loan management system, please visit www.defisolutions.com