Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Over-Communicate (Part 2 of 5)

This is part 2 of 5 in the “Title Company Fail: Improving Our Industry” series. The original post can be found here.

2. Over-communicate

After almost 2 years in Maryland, I finally opened a local checking account. I was dreading it, fearing endless paperwork, signatures and bureaucracy. Plus, my old bank in New Hampshire was still getting the job done – they gave me no reason to switch. For various reasons, however, I had to make a switch.

It was painless.

I walked in to a local branch and within 15 minutes had a new account. I didn’t even need to give them money. Had an ATM card in a matter of days, and was ready to roll.

But here’s the best part.

I get a call maybe once every other week, just asking if everything is OK. With a new bank there is a transition period. Is the ATM card working? Is online banking and bill pay set up? Is direct deposit working? Is the mortgage payment getting pulled automatically every month? While I go through this “transition”, the bank isn’t waiting for me to call with a problem – they are asking in advance.

I don’t think we do enough of this in the title business.

If I ran a title company (*sheepishly looks around the room*), here’s what I’d do:

- Start every opened transaction with an easy to read one page letter showing who the players with contact info. Signed by me with my contact details.
- Make at least one phone call to the real estate or loan officer during the process for no reason but to make sure all is going well.
- Offer email updates for transaction touch points (title ordered, commitment sent to lender, prelim HUD prepared, etc.)
- Offer to communicate via text message, and provide quick status updates.
- Call – in advance – with any outlier: title is not back yet, HOA info has not been sent, lender figures haven’t arrived, etc.
- When a particular issue arises, choose a time interval (daily, twice a day, hourly) where you agree to communicate the status of the issue, and religiously adhere to it!

Between asking the occasional “Hey, how are we doing?” and systematically keeping parties in the loop on all important touch points, we could all raise the bar in the title industry.