Industries such as retail are placing a greater emphasis on digital channels to provide superior customer service. However, in the mortgage lending sector focusing more on the digital experience doesn’t necessarily equate to better overall customer service.

Finding the right home loan often prompts the need for a “consultative” style of service for mortgage specialists. And this requires more of a human touch to engage with consumers effectively.

This is exactly the point Fannie Mae points out from the results of their quarterly Mortgage Lending Sentiment Survey (MLSS). While most senior mortgage executives “believe that their omnichannel customer service strategy is strong and rate their firms quite successful at delivering customer care,” this strategy “might not be well-aligned with consumer preferences.”

The biggest disparity is with person-to-person (P2P) communication.  Nearly 40 percent of lenders expect P2P communication to decrease, yet 90 percent of recent mortgage borrowers prefer to use P2P communication channels with lenders.

When shopping for a mortgage, consumers tend to use a combination of personal and online sources. However, consumers indicate that the most “influential” source of information comes from mortgage lenders who offer a human touch over online sources.

Financial firms such as The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recognize the importance of human touch in banking. Banks are launching programs that allow consumers to schedule video conferencing calls to speak with financial advisors.

During a video conferencing call, a consumer and an investment advisor can review the financial portfolio together. They can even assess the progress towards financial goals, which mimic an in-branch experience.

Virtual advice through video conferencing can also be leveraged when dealing with a complicated decision-making process, such as a home loan or other large investment.

“Clients told us that when it comes to investing, trust is key…For most clients, they build trust with human beings first – not just technology.” – Michael Walker, VP, and Head of Mutual Funds Distribution and Financial Planning at RBC.

Utilizing face-to-face video communication to speak with a banking or mortgage specialist combines the best of both worlds for consumers when it comes to human interaction and online communication. Instead of spending countless hours scouring online information sources, consumers can connect with a mortgage officer right from their mobile device or desktop. This also saves the time typically involved in traveling to and from the bank branch to discuss and review mortgage documents, so the entire process is expedited.

From a mortgage lender standpoint, using video communications with consumers is a P2P channel differentiator. Mortgage officers can interact face-to-face with consumers to address their needs in real-time, and relevant documents can be reviewed through screen sharing capabilities.

When it comes to mortgage lending, trust is key. Consumers need to feel comfortable working with a lender who will provide them with the right loan product. And utilizing the right communication platforms can be a way to set mortgage lenders and banks apart from the competition while delivering an exceptional customer experience.