One of the concerns we sometimes hear from title agents when we inform them Alanna can handle up to 97% of the routine, time-sucking phone calls that divert production is bit surprising to us: “Our willingness to answer the phone is what makes our customer service so great.”
Ok. We can understand that on some level. After all, in an increasingly automated world, it’s nice to hear a human voice from time to time. It’s nicer when you consider that too many “automated” options (think of call center phone trees) do little to nothing to solve our problem in the first place.
But, in 2021, it has to be asked: while you will certainly remember rude service or a slow return on a phone call; do you really remember how quickly a call center picks up or how nice they are? Especially if, after that polite conversation, the problem isn’t solved.
The point is that, yes, a big part of title agency customer service is response time and professionalism. It’s the cost of doing business, and it’s expected. But it doesn’t bring repeat business. Time to close; response rate and effective resolution of the inquiry or issue does.
To prove that point, here’s a quick quiz for you:
- You discover you’ve lost your checking account debit card. Would you rather look up and call a 1-800 number; be put on hold after entering 3 or 4 options (account number, date of birth, “no thanks, I don’t want to take a survey while I’m on hold…”); give the same information to the human representative who answers after 5 minutes; then take another 3 minutes while the rep places the order for a replacement card? Or would you prefer option B? Log in to your bank’s website or app. Select option “B.” Learn you’ll get your new card in 3 to 5 business days? (elapsed time: 2.5 minutes)
- Your cable is on the fritz. You’ve rebooted your cable box three times, and you’re about 15 minutes away from game time. Would you rather look up the company’s 1-800 number; be put on hold after entering 3 or 4 options (account number, date of birth, “No thanks, I still don’t want to take a survey while I’m on hold”); hear the rundown on every new “B” movie being featured on said cable provider this month; explain what’s going on to the rep who answers the call after five minutes; explain to them that you really, really have tried rebooting a few times; get transferred to another rep; explain the story again; and finally, finally, after 20 minutes of glorious, polite conversation, learn that a service rep will have to come out to your residence and change a part? Or would you rather log in to the app or provider website, select the option for “service,” and then schedule an appointment (elapsed time: 3 minutes)?
Using a legitimate, AI-powered solution to give quick, decisive answers to routine questions is not passing the buck on customer service. We know there are plenty of unique questions or challenges that will require a professional, courteous human being to resolve. In most cases and most states, your closer will certainly be interfacing directly with buyer and seller, as well as REALTOR at various points. But if you could get your escrow assistants or closers off the phone even a few hours a month to focus on their jobs, while your clients, REALTORS, buyers and sellers got the answers they sought quickly and effectively, would you really opt to put your staff back on the phone? Do you think that’s what the callers really want? Or would they like their keys or check faster and with no unwelcome surprises?