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Mortgage lenders take almost 7 days on average to respond to consumer inquiries via phone, and over one day to respond to inquiries received via email, resulting in a poor return on their marketing investment, bottom line under-performance and a disappointing or even damaging customer experience.

Only 21 percent of mortgage lenders attempt to call consumers within 24 hours of an initial inquiry and only 58 percent respond within 24 hours to an email inquiry, according to a new study of 19 leading mortgage lenders’ customer service and sale effectiveness by Leads360, a sales management and technology firm.

Previous Leads360 research indicates that leads responded to within one minute result in a 391 percent improvement in conversion rate. “Simply put, many lenders are damaging their business prospects unnecessarily by taking too long to respond to inquiries,” the study concludes.

“The lack of a thoughtful and consistent consumer response strategy is resulting in lost opportunities and lost origination volume. Most importantly for the industry, the customer experience of searching for reliable mortgage information, contacting a prospective lender and receiving responsive, appropriate information and service from a lender is a game of hit-and-miss…at best,” reports the study.

Only two lenders, Bank of America and Quicken Loans, were persistent enough to contact all leads. Forty-seven percent of lenders didn’t even make an average of one call attempt per lead.

“Despite the competitive state of the industry and generally low supply of high quality leads, this study illustrates that mortgage lenders have a significant opportunity to improve their business by improving their customer response strategy, processes and systems,” concludes Leads360.

Researchers visited mortgage lenders’ websites and submitted similar loan inquiries. Once a lead was submitted, each communication attempt from the lender was carefully logged for evaluation. After several weeks of collecting and logging relevant data, researchers calculated the average speed-to-contact attempt and the average number of contact attempts made by each of the lenders. Once aggregated, Leads360 compared the lenders ‘performance against their peers, industry benchmarks and prior Leads360 research on best practices and then assigned letter grades based on their performance across four key performance metrics.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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