When Lance Powell started in the industry, Back to the Future topped the movie charts, Miami Vice’s theme song somehow made it to #1, and average mortgage rates crept under 13%.
In the 34 years since, Powell has climbed to Branch Manager and top producer for Ameritrust Home Mortgage working out of Mission Viejo, CA. Along the way, he developed his craft for providing a stellar customer experience—starting with a simple premise.
Drawing from over three decades of experience, Top Producer and Branch Manager Lance Powell, from Ameritrust Home Mortgage in Mission Viejo CA, shares his knowledge on how he creates 'wow' customer experiences.
“I want to give my customers the same experience that I would expect somebody to give to me,” Powell said when we talked to him about creating “wow” customer experiences.
For Powell, this experience comes down to education.
“I always tell the customers what they should expect from the transaction,” Powell said. “My job is to make sure those things happen so there’s nothing left to chance, so in the end, they know exactly what they’re going to expect.”
And it’s clear he understands there’s a gap to fill between a customer’s expectations of the process and how it was passed on to them. In a survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS, 31% of home buyers said the mortgage process was somewhat or much more difficult than expected.
In addition to advising his customers about the process, he and his team also work to exceed their expectations. And though he likes a fast transaction, this isn’t the most important thing to him. It’s also not enough just to educate them about the process because during the process itself is when things can derail.
“I believe in what we call reverse tension curve. When the clients don’t know upfront what’s going on there’s a lot of tension. The quicker I can tell them ‘we’re done and ready to go,’ it reverses the tension and everybody is relaxed,” he said.
While reverse tension curve sounds like it might belong in a chiropractor’s office, it’s as simple as keeping everyone informed every step of the way. Here Powell uses technology, specifically his mortgage CRM.
“You have to be able to follow up—correctly. My CRM is the greatest part of my business,” he said. “I know that a certain percentage of my income comes from my CRM.”
Powell is always mindful of how he’s using the CRM. Otherwise, he says, he’s not doing his job and failing his customers. Again, follow up is key.
For example, for each milestone—when the loan is submitted, when the appraisal is ordered and comes in, approvals, etc.—his customers are notified what is happening and when so any stress they may be feeling is relieved.
As he looks ahead to next year and beyond, Powell is not content with resting on last year’s performance. He says his focus will be on improving efficiency and being more “consumer direct.” This means getting to the customer first to educate them on the home buying process.
With some studies saying that customer experience will surpass product and price as the key brand differentiator, it sounds like Powell is already ahead of the curve.