Most of the title agents we know take pride in their customer service. That’s understandable and even commendable, since title and settlement is much more a service than a product, and the closer is really one of the last professionals to “touch” the consumer before the transaction is final. However, we’d like to challenge the concept of customer service in title, or, at least, question what makes for good service.
Specifically, we are well aware, both through our clients and our own experience in the industry, that quite a bit of time and effort goes into communicating with clients—loan officers, REALTORS and borrowers or sellers. Nothing wrong with that at all. A title agency that doesn’t return inquiries won’t have to worry about getting inquiries of any kind much longer.
However, it’s how many title agents choose to manage that communication that makes the difference between effective service or ineffective service.
Most agents will agree that the vast majority of the communication between the title agent’s staff and clients centers around status. Is the title search done? When’s the closing? Yes, some of it has to do with obtaining data or information. But, because the settlement and closing phase can be a little mysterious to consumers, their anxiety tends to ratchet up when things are silent. Invariably, the buyer (or the real estate agent he is texting every 3 hours) wants to know when he’s getting his keys, and what the hold-up is.
The problem, however, is that when a title agent’s staff—traditionally lean to begin with—is spending time shuffling through emails and voice mails to answer the same question over and over instead of head down over lien releases and title reports, the transaction is slowing down. The process is costing more. And nobody’s really happy, even if the staff returns every status call within minutes.
Of course, we at Alanna are partial to our solution, which interacts with clients directly to answer common questions and do it promptly without dragging a closer or escrow officer off the job and onto the phone over and over. But whether you agree with us on that or not, if you’re a title agent or work for an agency, you understand our point. Good customer service isn’t just being responsive. It’s getting the root job—procuring the policy, orchestrating the closing and getting the keys into the buyer’s hands as quickly as possible—done to the customer’s satisfaction. And that isn’t really happening if they spend all day typing “Within the next few days” over and over again!