Monday, May 15, 2006

Idea: Tracking the metrics that matter

What metrics really matter when it comes to growing you mortgage loan origination business in today's environment? You can watch leads, conversion, time to close, or cost per closed loan and still not know how to grow your business in this challenging market. It comes down to customer satisfaction, but watching those numbers is not enough to ensure success.

Recently, ABN AMRO Mortgage Group reported on its customer satisfaction numbers, as determined by J.D. Power and Associates. The company was pleased that customers gave the institution a rating of 756 out of 1,000. J.D. Power and Associates said the average mortgage lender rated 699. They should be pleased. It's important that you satisfy customers. It's what you're supposed to be in business to do.

A little further down in the release, the company revealed that the study also indicated that ABN AMRO (and affiliated LaSalle Bank) customers recommended their lender to an average of 3.3 people, compared to 1.6 for the average bank.

Referral business isn't the only way mortgage lenders get new business. For many, it's not even a well developed lead generation mechanism, though it should be. But if you could get twice as much new business as your competitor--through any channel-- how long would it take you to bury them?

Sure, being rated 8% higher than the other guy for customer service is nice, but getting twice as much referral business is the real story here. That's the metric that matters. Why is the company getting so much more referral business? Is it just higher customer satisfaction ratings? I doubt it. ABN AMRO probably also makes it easy for its customers to refer new business. It may even reward them for doing so.

What are you doing to get more referral business? Servicing your customers really well is a great start, but you must go beyond that.