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Adapting Your Customer Experience for Changing Consumer Demands
Business Strategy Company Culture Marketing Tips

Adapting Your Customer Experience for Changing Consumer Demands

Mariah McQueen

In an ever-evolving landscape of consumer preferences and expectations, the title industry finds itself at the crossroads of meeting changing demands.

The traditional ways of doing business are giving way to a new era driven by digital advancements, convenience, and personalized experiences. Today’s consumers demand more than just efficient services; they seek seamless interactions, transparent processes, and tailored solutions that cater to their unique needs.

In this blog, we recap our recent discussion with Paul Stine and Bill Svoboda, co-founders of CloseSimple, about how title professionals like yourself can begin evaluating and improving your customer experience to adapt to these changing demands.

 

🎧 Prefer to listen to the podcast? Click here

 

A Little Bit About Our Guests

Paul Stine and Bill Svoboda started CloseSimple in 2018 with a shared vision of helping title and escrow companies, and real estate attorneys elevate their closing experience. By leveraging their combined knowledge in digital advertising and e-commerce, they aim to empower title and escrow companies, as well as real estate attorneys, with the tools they need to deliver unparalleled closing experiences.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience, as the co-founders of CloseSimple put it, is how the customer feels about the sum of their interactions with your business.

Customer experience is not limited to just the product or service a company offers; it includes all the emotional, psychological, and practical aspects of the customer’s interactions. It involves factors such as ease of finding information, the efficiency of transactions, the level of personalization, the company’s responsiveness to queries or issues, and the overall satisfaction customers derive from their experience throughout the customer journey.

Understanding the Customer Journey  

Understanding the customer journey is crucial for providing outstanding customer experiences. It involves gaining deep insights into the various touchpoints and interactions a customer has with a business, from the initial awareness stage to the post-purchase phase. By gaining deep insights into each touchpoint along this journey, businesses can identify pain points, and opportunities for improvement, and tailor their offerings to meet customer needs more effectively.

Until about five to six years ago, the title industry operated primarily through intermediaries, such as Realtors or lenders. When someone needed title services, they would often go through these intermediaries, and the title company would work behind the scenes to fulfill the necessary tasks.

However, with the rapid advancement of technology and the changing expectations of consumers, the title industry has undergone a significant shift in its approach. Today, title companies recognize the importance of establishing a direct connection with consumers and being more accessible to them. They have moved away from solely relying on Realtors and lenders to drive their business and have shifted their focus towards engaging directly with consumers.

Understanding Customer Pain Points

“Everyone is going out there wondering how they can make a remarkable experience and if you’re not, you’re behind” - Paul Stine

 

When was the last time you sat down with customers and asked how you’re doing? Now is a great time to have those conversations and uncover any pain points. Customer pain points refer to specific challenges, frustrations, or unmet needs that customers experience during their interactions with a product, service, or brand. Identifying these pain points is crucial for delivering solutions that resonate with customers and create a positive experience. Here are some effective methods for uncovering customer pain points:

☎️ Analyze Customer Support and Sales Team Interactions: Customer support and sales teams often interact directly with customers, making them a valuable source of information. Analyze customer support logs, call recordings, and chat transcripts to identify recurring issues or challenges customers face.

✍🏻 Monitor Social Media and Online Reviews: Keep a close eye on social media platforms and review sites to understand what customers are saying about your brand and offerings. Both positive and negative reviews can offer valuable insights into pain points and areas of improvement.

🏢 Competitor Analysis: Study your competitors and the pain points they address in their marketing materials, product offerings, or customer service. Understanding their approach can help you identify gaps and opportunities to better serve your customers.

🖱️ User Behavior Analytics: Utilize web analytics and user behavior tracking tools to observe how customers interact with your website or app. Identify patterns of drop-offs, repeated actions, or areas where customers spend the most time, as they can reveal pain points or areas of confusion.

📊 Conduct Surveys: Surveys can also provide structured insights into specific pain points or issues that customers face, allowing businesses and organizations to make informed decisions and improvements.

📖 Read More: Two Customer Surveys Title Companies Should Use [Blog]

 

Understanding Today’s Disconnect 

There’s a big disconnect between where the typical customer closing experience is and the kinds of experience everyday consumers are accustomed to. You’re not only competing within the industry, you’re competing against companies like Dominos, Amazon, and Uber who are setting the bar on what customers should expect. This has created a disconnect where people are used to having their needs met.

“Happiness is typically driven by expectation” - Paul Stine

The “Make Their Butt Look Good” Principle

Yes, you read that correctly. Essentially what that means is enabling the product to speak for itself, and eliminating the need to convince the customer of its suitability for their needs.

This principle is inspired by Tom Ford’s response to how marketing played a role during his time revitalizing the Gucci brand’s image in the 90’s. Tom Ford downplayed the company’s marketing tactics and stated, “I don’t really like that word marketing – it’s used for hollow products that can’t speak for themselves.” To visualize his message, a customer will walk in, try on pants, and if the pants didn’t “make their butt look good”, they will leave, no matter how much marketing you did to get them in there.

Any customer’s first experience is either going to their cement relationship or cause friction and might be the only interaction you ever have. So, the focus should be on creating a product that genuinely meets their needs and exceeds their expectations. When a product is truly exceptional, it becomes its own advocate, generating positive word-of-mouth and loyal customers.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Demands: Key Strategies

Process Transparency

Consumers love having a sense of control. Lack of transparency in the customer experience has been an issue for a long time but people didn’t have that expectation until more recently. Do your customers feel like they’re going to know what happens next?

When you understand what is happening, it changes the way you experience. 

Uber is a great example for this. They provide transparency, expectations, and a sense of control to both its riders and drivers through various features and practices in its platform.

Transparency

  • Cost Transparency: Before confirming a ride, Uber provides riders with an upfront fare estimate based on the distance and estimated time of the trip. This ensures that riders are aware of the cost they will incur before starting the ride.
  • Driver Information: Uber displays the driver’s name, photo, and license plate number to the rider before the driver arrives, enhancing safety and transparency.
  • Real-time GPS Tracking: During the ride, riders can track their route in real-time on the app, providing transparency about the journey and ensuring they know the route being taken.

 

Expectations:

  • Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA): Uber provides riders with an estimated time of arrival for their driver, allowing them to plan accordingly and know when to expect their ride.
  • Driver Ratings: Uber allows riders to rate their drivers at the end of each trip. This two-way rating system establishes expectations for both riders and drivers, promoting accountability and encouraging quality service.
  • Service Level Options: Uber offers various service levels such as UberX, Uber Black, or UberPool, each with different price points and service offerings. This allows riders to choose the level of service that aligns with their expectations and budget.

 

Sense of Control:

  • Destination Input: Riders can input their destination before requesting a ride, giving them control over where they want to go and allowing drivers to decide whether to accept the ride based on the destination.
  • Driver Acceptance: Uber allows drivers to see the rider’s pickup location and destination before accepting a ride, giving them control over the rides they choose to take.
  • Cancelation Option: Both riders and drivers have the option to cancel a trip if circumstances change, providing a sense of control and flexibility in the process.

 

By incorporating similar features and practices, companies can empower all individuals involved with a transaction, including Realtors and lenders, with a greater sense of control, clear expectations, and transparency throughout the closing process. 

 

Embracing Automation

A technological customer experience is not a futuristic idea anymore, it’s a reality. Automation offers title companies the means to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and ultimately deliver more value to their clients in this digital age.

As the industry continues to evolve, those title companies that embrace automation will be better equipped to thrive in the dynamic landscape ahead. Ask yourself: “Are we automating what we can automate?”

Real-Time Communication: Consumers today expect instant updates and timely responses. In fact, 83% of customers now expect immediate engagement when they contact a company, up from 78% in 2019. By incorporating automated communication systems, title companies can keep clients informed throughout the transaction. Automated emails or text messages can provide updates on the status of the title search, closing schedule, and any potential delays. 

Automated chatbots and virtual assistants can enhance customer support by providing instant responses to frequently asked questions, guiding clients through common issues, and routing inquiries to the appropriate department when necessary. This ensures round-the-clock support and minimizes response times.

Online Ordering and Tracking: Today’s consumers prefer the convenience of self-service online services. Implementing an automated online platform for ordering title services and tracking the progress of transactions allows customers to initiate and monitor their transactions at their convenience. This not only saves time for all parties but also enhances the overall customer experience.

 

Building Seamless Connections for on the Go

The demand for digital convenience has become paramount, especially in our industry that involves extensive paperwork and transactions. Whether it’s a Realtor working out of their car or a homebuyer trying to manage important documents while on vacation, consumers expect seamless digital interactions that adapt to their on-the-go lifestyle. As a result, title businesses must prioritize creating a mobile-friendly and device-responsive experience to meet these evolving needs.

This involves developing responsive websites and user-friendly mobile applications that enable customers to access, view, and interact with information effortlessly on their smartphones and tablets.

Consumers also frequently switch between devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Offering a flexible and convenient digital experience that meets customers where they are, regardless of their location or device, will undoubtedly set businesses apart 

Enhancing Security

Cybersecurity has been a hot topic for the last few years in our industry, and consumers expect nothing less than robust protection of their sensitive information. 

Oftentimes high security can mean sacrificing accessibility and vice versa. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a seamless user experience while maintaining the highest level of security. Striving for simplicity and ease of use in security measures will encourage customers to actively participate in safeguarding their information. 

For example, Apple lets you get into your phone with your face, and now that’s the expectation. People are asking why they need to jump through hoops to access other services or information. 

To meet these expectations, businesses must invest in user-friendly authentication methods that don’t compromise security. Biometric technologies, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, offer a seamless user experience while enhancing security. Additionally, multi-factor authentication (MFA) can provide an extra layer of protection by combining something the user knows (like a password) with something they have (like a mobile device) or something unique to them (like a fingerprint).

“We firmly believe that the biggest offense against fraud is education and informed customers are the starting point”

User education is equally important. By empowering customers with knowledge about potential risks and best practices, businesses can foster a proactive approach to security. Regularly communicate security updates, tips, and the importance of strong passwords to create a security-conscious customer base.

By embracing user-friendly authentication methods, educating customers, and prioritizing robust security practices, businesses can strike the delicate balance between accessibility and protection, earning the trust and loyalty of their clientele in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.

 

Key Takeaway

By embracing customer experience adaptation, title companies can redefine the standards of excellence in customer experience and set new benchmarks for others to follow. By adapting your customer experience to meet and exceed the ever-changing consumer demands, you’re not only securing your company’s future but also creating a lasting legacy of customer-centricity in the title industry. Here’s to the success that comes from putting your customers at the heart of everything you do.

 

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Mariah McQueen Marketing Generalist

Mariah McQueen is a Marketing Generalist at PropLogix who is passionate about protecting homebuyers and enjoys writing about subjects valuable to the title industry. She currently lives in Orlando and enjoys practicing Jiu-Jitsu, traveling, and playing the piano.