Last year we moved to a new city. This year we refinanced our home. For any of you fortunate souls who have not gone through the mortgage process, let me tell you a few things about it.
- You have to share more details about your life with people you will never meet than when you get married.
- The number of forms you have to fill out prior to getting approved puts the word “Byzantine” to shame.
- The number of pages you sign at closing that say the same thing in multiple ways in order to make everything “clearer” is mind numbing.
- If you don’t plan on bringing a lawyer to closing you will likely have to admit that a large percentage of the papers you sign you will not fully understand.
- Apart from getting teeth pulled without painkillers, the mortgage process is typically one of the last things you will ever want to do.
When we refinanced our home I got estimates from different companies and ended up choosing Quicken Loans. You may have heard their commercials. They are “Engineered to amaze.” I didn’t really think much about their slogan since it seemed like typical marketing silliness.
Getting the initial quote was easy. I filled out all the information online in about half an hour. From that point on I actually was amazed.
Everything, apart from a couple of phone calls, is done online. Most of the paperwork is done with electronic signatures and uploaded scans of documents so you don’t have to mail anything. Every time I had a question, I filled out the form online and had a call back in about two hours.
When we finally got our closing packet I was expecting the standard inch-thick stack of legal paper that we’ve always seen before. Instead, I saw this:
Seriously? The box had a secret agent hat, font and ominous music on it! Regardless of the boring contents that were to follow, the box was at least amusing.
Next, I pulled out the closing documents. Somehow, Quicken Loans had managed to make the most boring package of documents in the world look important and interesting.
Yes, they actually made this stack of documents almost exciting. They color-coded each section and explained what they were for. They kept up the Mission Impossible / secret agent theme and even called me a “special agent”.
The closing itself went exceptionally smoothly. The closer was a pro who knew how to organize everything and passed documents around our dining room table like a card shark. I think that were done with everything in less than twenty minutes.
The finishing touch was the inside of the closing box which congratulated us on a “Mission accomplished”, thanked us for our business and asked us to share our experience and refer some friends.
Look at this, we’re part of a club! It always feels good to be part of a group of successful people, even if it’s just a loan closing.
So what can a Catholic store owner learn from a mortgage loan company? Quite a bit.
- Make your shopping experience easy and memorable from beginning to end. Quicken Loans starts off with an easy-to-fill-out application and then provides an online tool that you use for most of the process so you aren’t mailing things or having to go to someone’s office.What do you do to make the shopping process in your store easier and enjoyable? Do you keep the store clean and organized? Do you help people find your store with advertising?
- Let your customers know that they are doing something smart and good by shopping with you. Shouldn’t everyone know that buying Catholic stuff to strengthen their faith is a good thing? Some of your customers may just be buying a gift for a First Communion and not even be thinking about the spiritual value of what they are doing. Did you notice how many times in that loan package we got a pat on the back? We accepted the mission! We accomplished the mission!Be sure to let your customers know, either through what you say, signs in your store or handouts you give your customers that they are helping people get to Heaven!
- Make your customers part of a club. Quicken Loans lets you know that other people have “completed the mission” and even gives you names, locations and a note from another “agent”.Do you have some sort of rewards program or a way of identifying your top customers for special offers?
- Never forget to say thank you. Quicken Loans thanked us at least three times for our business: once in the box, once with an email and once in a phone call from our loan agent.Your customers could be shopping on Amazon. Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their business. Thank them at checkout. Send them handwritten notes.
- Invite your customers to come back. Even though refinancing isn’t something you do regularly, Quicken Loans gave us a coupon for our next loan.How do you get your customers to come back? Do you just assume that they’ll come back because your the only Catholic store in town? Do you ever write to your customers and invite them to stop by?
- Invite your customers to bring their friends. Apart from the coupon Quicken Loans gave us, they also asked us to share our experience on Facebook and Twitter and gave us coupons to share with friends.Do you have any plan to get new customers in your store? Do you ever offer your current customers coupons to give to their friends?
Okay, what do you do to amaze?