Voice automation technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and many others have begun to increase in importance in the lives of Americans, but does that mean mortgage lenders should utilize this technology?

The short answer is yes, but there’s a catch.

NTT Data Services, which recently implemented an Amazon Alexa skill for a growing U.S. mortgage company, explained the process of implementing voice technology has already begun but that lenders are starting off slow.

“There is a lot of interest coming from clients for this,” Megan Geyer, NTT DATA Services director of customer experience for financial services, said in an interview with HousingWire. “The challenge is documenting the ROIs.”

Geyer explained that many lenders are unsure about their return on investment for implementing Alexa or other voice interface products.

“I think the biggest thing here is that customer experience is of high importance when it comes to retaining your customers,” she said. “If you are a company that makes it really easy for your customers to do business with… then that person will remember you later on when it comes to buying a home, they’ll remember your company and be more loyal to you.”

But for now, lenders that do implement the technology are focusing on a more internal approach by providing voice activated services for their loan officers.

NTT Data Services implemented a skill for Alexa which allowed loan officers to use voice commands to look up and check the status of their loan. Loan officers could access this information through any Alexa-enabled device.

Geyer explained to HousingWire that there are two different types of skills that can be utilized with Alexa: Informational, where Alexa looks up and gives the user specific information, and transactional, where the user can ask Alexa to perform an action. The informational skills are easier to develop.

But because of the complex and personal nature of mortgage originating, Geyer explained, “We’re still trying to figure out what can be done on them – what should be done on them.” [Emphasis hers.]

Also, at this point there are still many actions Alexa is unable to perform. “Alexa is not as smart as we think she is,” Geyer said.

But does that mean that lenders should not begin looking into voice interface technology? Only if they want to get left behind. But while they do need to begin looking into using voice interface, they still have time to consider their options, and can start slow as voice technology continues to improve.

“Companies don’t know if it’s too early to be investing in this, but right now they should be at least exploring how voice interface could compliment their digital experience,” Geyer said. “See if there is a natural fit for voice interface to solve problems. If there is a natural fit then that’s where voice interface should be.”

Many lenders are still struggling to implement the digital mortgage, and now they must begin looking at including voice interface.

“I would guess within the next 10 years we would have a much more integrated customer experience,” Geyer said.

Once again lenders must innovate, or get left behind. Remember my previous prediction? It won’t be long before consumers are saying, “Alexa, get me a mortgage.”

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