Calling the mortgage process “fun” may be a bit extreme, especially given the complexity. However, is the idea of making the mortgage process enjoyable, or at the very least painless, completely far fetched? Given the results seen in other industries, excellence is a concept that consumers are beginning to understand and relate to.

Few would argue that the commercial airline experience has been anything close to stellar during the last decade. Whether it’s long check-in lines, lost luggage or poor customer service, average fliers are finding themselves frustrated with the overall experience.

Yet one major discount airline leads the way in customer satisfaction year after year. By adding a little more legroom, treating people nicely, and giving them a screen with viewing options they control, the airline has done something remarkable. It’s given the customer, someone who is held captive throughout the flight, a small degree of control (while adding a little fun into the process). 

In some ways, the airline and mortgage industries share common challenges. Once the decision is made (either boarding the plane or signing the application), the consumer is relatively helpless. But while the pilot will often manage basic expectations by communicating the route to be taken, potential weather delays, etc., few lenders have designed a process to manage their equivalent of this simple but critical step. Perhaps bankers should apply the same thinking to mortgage lending.

Why can’t the consumer have total transparency and track their loan (start to finish) through a smartphone application? Borrower surveys point to the time between application and approval as being the most stressful for borrowers. If anxiety is driven by the unknown, shouldn’t lenders take the unknown out of the equation? As it turns out, some lenders already have.

A document prep company serving the mortgage industry has already developed technology that enables lenders to create this type of transparency for their borrowers. One lender revealed to the company that its rise in customer satisfaction scores was credited to improved visibility for the consumer.

Challenging Conventional Thinking

True innovation begins with changing how companies view the business. The world’s most successful coffee chain took something as simple as coffee grounds and water and turned it into an experience. One of the most revered on-line shoe sellers earned recognition for transforming the ways people buy shoes through stellar customer service. Both brands took conventional wisdom and turned it on its head.  Is it conceivable that the big winner in the race for mortgage dominance will be the disrupter; the firm no longer willing to accept that things should work a certain way?

A lender’s ability to leverage data, expose self-service capabilities and transparency across multiple channels, drive data analytics and cross-sell through an understanding of customer behaviors and transactions, will be the mortgage company that challenges conventional thinking.  

As a society, we’ve become hooked on technology. From smartphones to tablets to laptops, it’s a 24-7 experience. The lender that uses technology to innovate the process, to look beyond the status quo and bring the experience to the customer, will be taking the first step toward making the process enjoyable.

But why stop there? What if the future of mortgage lending looked far different than anyone has imagined, a world that puts the consumer in the driver seat?

To find out what such a world could look like, download the rest of the story on how to win customers with innovative thinking.