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Customer Retention Services

Encore Relations, Salesforce.com manage touchpoints

July 25, 2007

By PAULA PARISOT


photo of Paula Parisot
Paula Parisot

Staying in the minds of customers is essential in generating repeat business, according to two companies that manage the process for salespeople.

Encore Relations recently launched a five-year client continuity program that helps keep originators at the forefront of customers' minds after their loans close. The service uses 15-20 annual touch points including housewarming gifts, postcards, holiday cards and letters delivered to specified customers.

Chris Medina, the Austin, Texas-based company's founder and CEO, told MortgageDaily.com that the idea for the program was born out of a need he had as the former vice president of a national mortgage company.

"I wanted to implement something for our clients where we would continue a relationship with them after the transaction would close, but it was too time-consuming to put something together," he said. "Nobody offered the service. I figured if I had this problem so did others."

Understanding the importance of continued customer contact, Medina developed Encore. For $299 per client, the basic five-year plan handles the follow-up touches on behalf of the originator.

The chief strategy officer of a similar service told MortgageDaily.com that studies in the financial sector have shown that in order to build consistent client relationships, "you have to touch your clients 10-20 times a year."

The caveat is that every client is different, according to Tien Tzuo of Salesforce.com.

Some clients might not need as much communication as others, he said, and for some -- a phone call might be better than a postcard.

"We can set up a customized action plan," he explained.

For example, one client might need a monthly touch, another once a quarter, Tzuo said. Or for another an arrangement for lunch or a social event might be appropriate.

These touches should be timely and relevant, he added, use news events, interest rate changes or perhaps a change in the stock market.

Follow-up touches before the loan closes might be just as important as after it closes.

Another vital aspect to be aware of is the period right before the transaction completes, Tzuo said. For instance, after a loan goes into processing, a broker might want to set an action plan to touch the client every one, three or five days to ensure they don't lose that borrower to perhaps another broker or mortgage company.

Follow-up touches offer the borrower an opportunity to express any concerns they might have about the experience. After the close, the originator can find out if the transaction went as smooth as possible and if there is anything they could do to better the experience for the customer, all the while keeping them in the forefront for future transactions and referrals.


Paula Parisot is a MortgageDaily.com feature reporter and a blogger at CloserBlog.com who has also worked in the mortgage industry.

e-mail Paula at: [email protected]



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