I want to share with you a retention strategy I just experienced, and I after I got off the phone I couldn’t help but wonder if we applied said companies retention strategy at Merix, would it help us to retain more customers?
Every company today has a customer retention strategy. Be it in the communication field, insurance industry, grocery stores, mail order, lending and mortgage brokering, Irrespective of the market sector…there’s a retention strategy in place. Some companies are good at it, and very aggressive. Retaining customers is critical to a company’s growth. Our industry is only now talking about this issue but the reality is it’s been a part of our work environment for many years, and the practice will become more prevalent going forward. The purpose of this blog is not to debate the “who owns the customer” question. I want to share with you a retention strategy that I just experienced, and I after I got off the phone I couldn’t help but wonder if I applied said companies retention strategy at Merix, would it help us to retain more customers?
The story goes like this. I decided to discontinue the services of an alarm company. If there’s any would-be break and enter specialists reading this blog, I didn’t say I wasn’t changing companies; I was just discontinuing to do business with a certain company. When all is said and done, I’ll have security numbers to enter, loud alarms that will go off, and a snipers nest on the second floor. What, that’s too much? Before I lose my train of thought, where was I? Oh yeah, saying goodbye to Joel. I’m not going to name the alarm company but they FORCED me to do it. The customer service rep said the following to me; “We’re sorry to see you leave Mr. Bozic, but I understand totally. Cancelling your service will not be a problem. We’re going to forward to you a list of instructions; we can send that to you by email or mail. The instructions are easy to follow, and we’ll also include a box with a courier slip from UPS. You have to send back all hardware by the 15th of the month. The hardware must in good working order, and in the same condition that you received them in. If we don’t receive hardware by the 15th of the month, you service will continue for another 30 days. Should you change your mind and wish to continue to use our services, we’ll gladly take care of that. We’ll forward another list of instructions”. Well, that’s easy, and very clever on their part. Clearly their strategy is to make it difficult for me to leave. So I couldn’t help but wonder what if Merix was to apply the same strategy?
“Hello Mr. Borrower. Yes, we did receive your discharge statement. May I ask why you have decided to take your mortgage business elsewhere? I see, the bank offered you 150 bp’s below our rate, a free chequing account, and a weekend at the banks CEO’s cottage in the Muskoka’s. I totally understand. The discharge process is very easy. We’re going to send you instructions…we can do that by email or mail. We will include a box, a plastic cup, as well as a courier slip from UPS. In the box you will include all the original documentation which was provided to you by your solicitor on closing, including the actual pen that you used to sign all the documents at the solicitor’s office. You will also include all the original documentation that the mortgage broker provided to Merix. Furthermore, a urine sample from the broker is required as well. That’s why we included the plastic cup. Please note that we have to receive the entire package by the 15th of the month. Once we’re in receipt of the complete package, your actual discharge date we’ll be set. To help you with that process, and to schedule accordingly, our discharge dates are set for next solar eclipse. Should you decide to change your mind, and stay with us, we will gladly forward a new set of instructions”.
In fairness to the alarm company, the customer service rep was very courteous and professional. He was doing his job, and he did it well. The reality is, my experience is happening every day in our industry. Lenders are investing money and resources with respect to their retention departments. Some lenders today require that they have to speak to the borrower prior to processing the discharge request. Trust me, it’s not to say “we’ll miss you Mr. Borrower, and we wish you well”. The lender will do everything possible to retain the borrower, and if reasoning fails…they’ll beg.
Ah, who am I kidding? I’m not removing the security code pad, filling holes in the wall, and removing all the wires around the windows and doors. I’m staying with the same alarm company. Joel, please take me back.
Until next time,