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Investments Setting the Bar for Customer Service Ever Higher

Client Partners Investments Setting the Bar for Customer Service Ever Higher

Investments Setting the Bar for Customer Service Ever Higher
By Lou Sigillo, Senior Vice President, Borrower Operations

We like to say that we’re always striving to provide the very best experience for your homeowners. Over the last few years, that effort has led us to make substantial investments in technology and process that set the bar for customer service ever higher.

We’ve seen tremendous momentum over the last few quarters, as our investments yield results. We upgraded our Contact Center technology to a best-in-class, cloud-based platform between 2021 and 2023, which has allowed us to consistently meet our average speed of answer (ASA) objectives. From April to December 2023, our average ASA was substantially faster than GSE standards, with an abandon rate half of the GSE benchmark. We’re achieving this thanks to the optimizations possible throughout our platform, which includes skills-based call routing for effectively managing call volume and workforce management tools that ensure we have our agents where we need them.

Of course, just answering the phones quickly doesn’t automatically mean we’ve provided a good experience for homeowners. To ensure we’re serving homeowners well, we added a post-call survey in 2021 to allow us to capture homeowner feedback directly after an interaction with one of our agents. Once again, we continue to better our best, with our quality results increasing year-over-year for three consecutive years.

We recognize that many people do not want to talk to their mortgage servicer, even when they need our assistance. To solve for that while ensuring homeowners get the answers they need, we added new and upgraded existing self-serve technology, including our industry-leading bots and new functionality within our IVR. We want homeowners to do business with us, however, whenever and wherever they feel most comfortable.

And they’ve taken us up on that. Our bots handle nearly 150,000 interactions every month, and of those homeowners who interact with our bots, more than 85% get the help they need without ever needing to interact with a live representative. Meanwhile, the rate homeowners call into to us has reduced by over 35% since 2021, as they take advantage of the investments we have made in self-serve.

So, upon this strong foundation, we’re building for the future. Looking forward, our top areas of focus for the rest of 2024 include call auto-summary, specialized handling of “surge callers,” a focus on homeowner communications and transforming how we handle insurance.

Call Auto-Summary

We’re making our agent’s after-call work quicker, so we can be more responsive to homeowners who need us. Later this year, all of our agents will be assisted by technology that allows real-time call transcription and automated call summary notes. This enhancement increases speed, compliance and consistency of notes and remarks across all our agents, enabling agents to understand callers better. It also enables other future advances, including real-time coaching for agents.

Surge Callers

Digging into our data, we discovered that about 10% of homeowners create 30% of our calls each month.

We started a pilot in January — with launch across all clients in Q2 2024 — for an enhancement within our IVR that allows us identify a call from one of these “surge callers” and route it to specific team tasked with resolving issues on-the-spot, eliminating the need for the homeowner to call again or continued escalation of the issue.

We’ll also be conducting surge-driver analysis to better understand what’s creating these surge callers, and we’re launching outbound campaigns to proactively contact homeowners when we see a surge occurring.

Homeowner Communications

We’re driving a digital-first mindset across Cenlar.

We’re already leading the way in this arena, with a 2023 MBA study revealing that Cenlar beats the industry average for adoption of paperless billing, self-service digital payments and website and mobile app use.

We will continue to shift traditional paper correspondence to digital, with a focus on increasing registration for our CenNet homeowner website and enrollment in ACH.

Insurance Transformation

Through our analysis of call data, we know that insurance is a common pain point for our homeowners and clients. Our goal, as with any pain point, is to address this, and improve client and homeowner satisfaction.

We’re in the middle of an end-to-end re-evaluation of our insurance process, with an eye toward enhancing compliance and risk mitigation.

We’re searching for opportunities to implement automation solutions and streamline our processes, in order to provide a more seamless and consistent experience for homeowners.

We’ve just started this work, and expect to complete it in the second half of 2024.

Lou Sigillo is Senior Vice President, Borrower Operations, at Cenlar, bringing more than 25 years of experience in customer service and call center operations to his position. Prior to Cenlar, Sigillo was Vice President of Customer Service Operations for Verizon’s wireless operations. At Verizon, he directed the customer service strategy, service delivery and service excellence across internal centers, home-based agents and strategic partner call centers.