Welcome to CustomerCorner, a short Q&A format blog designed to share gifting and customer loyalty best practices across industries and brands.
The team at Sozo Gifts had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Judy, Sales Manager/Sr. Loan Officer (NMLS: 64301) at Capstone Home Loans, a division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation. Jeff has shared his wisdom around client engagement and relationship building in the transient home mortgage business.
Q: If you could have a vacation home anywhere in the country, where would it be?
A: Kauai, it’s a beautiful place. And it’s usually sunny there when the cold and rain are here in Seattle.
Q: How long have you been in the mortgage business?
A: 17 years. I joined in 2002, and wow, has it changed a lot since then.
Q: In your opinion, what’s a big challenge of working in this industry?
A: The regulations. They’re a new challenge, and don’t get me wrong they’re very important for the industry, but it can make it cumbersome to talk about the products we offer. It’s just something that needs extra care and attention to navigate.
It also makes it difficult to show my appreciation to my clients and partners due to the rules and laws about when I can and can’t give a gift.
Q: Why are the regulations such a challenge?
A: They make the process more cumbersome for our clients. Depending on their situations, there can be many more hoops they have to jump through to get cleared for certain financial and life circumstances.
For many of our clients, this is the first time they are jumping through these hoops and it’s frustrating to them, because they assume — and justifiably so — that these hoops are created by us: that if they went to another mortgage company, it would be easier. That ultimately can make it harder to retain our clients.
Q: Is client retention an issue?
A: It absolutely is, but not just because of regulation. We have a fairly loyal customer base of people who come back to us because they are very satisfied with the work we do and the experience they had while working with us.
Despite this, a big reason that people don’t come back to us is sadly out of our control. Often times (and the same is true for real estate), someone they know, some mutual friend, will have gotten into the mortgage business, and they’ll do their next loan through that friend because they feel they have an obligation to do so.
Q: So it sounds like you’ve figured out a way to keep your customers loyal, at least in-so-far as it’s in your control?
A: Yes. For us, loyalty starts with the very first interaction we have with a potential client all the way beyond the close in through the life of the loan. It’s in our guiding principle; “Treat others as you would want to be treated”. Our clients notice this difference.
Q: Do gifts fit into this approach to loyalty?
A: Gifts are the cornerstone in our approach to loyalty. I feel genuinely compelled to thank every one of my customers. It’s a multi-step, multi-year process that gives me 4-6 touches with my clients per year, and the gift they receive after they get the keys to their new home is a Sozo gift.
Q: What keeps you using Sozo Gifts?
A: I’ve been in the business since 2002 and have done closing gifts since the beginning. I almost never had a client acknowledge me or thank me for a gift until I switched to Sozo.
Something about the way Sozo delivers the gift — the flavor of the products, the charitable component of the gift, the quality of the box — means that now around 20% of the time my clients send me a text or email to say “thanks” for the gift. That’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Sozo as long as I have.
Q: What’s your favorite Sozo product?
A: The chocolate and the wine, it’s delicious. It’s also the “thank you” gift that I give to my clients.
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