Everyone’s had at least one really bad experience when trying to buy a product or service. You know the one: You want to buy something, and you’re met with poor quality customer service, miscommunications, and delays.

Although negative experiences happen within all types of industries and with all types of products, it’s remarkable that the retail banking industry is often mentioned as one of the top negative experiences customers have had to face in their life…especially when it comes to mortgages!

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that mortgage complaints and debt collection make up about half of the 1.2 million complaints reported to it since July 2011.

J.D. Power, a global company leader in consumer insights, released its 2017 US Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey, highlighting that overall satisfaction with mortgage originators has even declined. This is partly because consumers now believe the loan process is slower, despite a significant increase in the number of customers applying online. One might argue that there’s a clear link between the rise in poor customer experiences and the increase in online applications. Buying a house is a major moment in people’s lives, which means customers expect a personal touch when asking for a long-term loan. If the online mortgage application process doesn’t reflect this properly, it will lead to unsatisfying customer experiences.

Today, first-time home buyers often go through a cumbersome, stressful process lasting three to six months on average, with no guarantee of getting their loan approved until the very last moment. They’re looking for the house of their dreams and asking their bank for support in the form of a mortgage, so that they can afford to make an offer. Therefore, time is precious, and frustration is often part of the process due to lack of communication, a long wait for approval, and uncertainties about the chances of getting the loan. Bad experiences can lead to poor bank-client relationships and, in turn, many missed future opportunities.

That’s why banks should focus on providing the right balance of digital and physical interactions, thus preserving the human touch while also offering more tailored services than ever before.

The mortgage loan process today is still paper-based and manual in many organizations. Automation is a far cry from reality, even for banks that have already begun their digital transformation. Mortgage automation is not only possible but crucial, if we consider that investing in technology can improve internal efficiency—freeing up employees’ time for relevant tasks—and enhance collaboration between departments to clear up the path to “yes.”

According to Alessandro Tortelli, Appway Solution Practice Lead, “Banks that orchestrate customer experiences across digital and physical channels are better prepared to provide a frictionless, no-line origination journey. Additionally, the use of data and a 360-degree view of a client’s situation speeds up the origination process and makes it easier to deliver a transparent, personalized, and smooth experience.”

What will the mortgage loan process of the future look like? It will include real-time answers to borrower’s requests, straightforward, transparent, and proactive communications, and working with clients on their preferred channels. By personalizing the experience customers have when applying for a mortgage, financial institutions are more likely to earn the crucial trust and confidence that translates into repeat business and referrals, connecting with clients in a “happily ever after” story.

Find out how to guide your clients to their dream home, digitally and physically.