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Credit Services—Turning a Commodity Into a Game Changer

Editor's note: This article appears in the March 2021 issue of MReport, available here. 

If your mortgage business is located in New England, you are probably familiar with Birchwood Credit Services. If not, you might be missing out. We’ve been providing a wide range of flexible and innovative credit services for almost 30 years; and I’ve been with the company for nearly 20. In all that time, the accomplishment we’re most proud of is that almost 100% of our customer base is referral business, a fact that speaks to how much customers value our partnership. 

Birchwood’s “best-kept-secret” is changing as leading mortgage businesses across the country get a taste of our unwavering commitment to “customer delight.” Delight is our core business growth principle, and it has served us and our customers exceedingly well. 

Three Customer Service Pillars 

People ask how we’ve built and sustained such a fiercely loyal customer base. The answer is simple: we walk the walk. The words on our website aren’t just marketing jargon, they are promises that we keep every day.  

There are three pillars to our philosophy: 

  • Service that goes way beyond customer expectations — We believe each customer’s time is valuable, so we treat it that way. No endless automated attendant scripts or eternal hold. When our customers call, we’re there with immediate and personalized answers and direct access to company ownership, so we can all resolve issues quickly. 
  • Flexible product and pricing packages — One size doesn’t fit all in the mortgage business, so we provide customized solutions that deliver substantial savings. 
  • Unexpected and unconventional resources and benefits — We provide training and education that helps customers educate partners and consumers.  

 Finally, Birchwood is made up of people with big hearts. We are active in state associations, lobbying for the greater good of the industry. We also partner with philanthropic organizations on charitable ventures that range from building homes for vets to coordinating and funding local efforts to alleviate hunger and provide school supplies to underprivileged kids.  

Bottom line: Inspiring loyalty is about proving that you actually care. 

Building out a Business Model 

Creating customer delight is all about making things easier for our customers—simpler, faster, and more reliable. We are the partner they count on to have their back, sometimes even before they realize they need help.  

For example, our proprietary GAP and CLB Plus bundled pricing models provide simple-to-understand and cost-effective approaches to credit report pricing that ensures equal treatment regardless of a borrower’s credit standing. And our Portfolio Protector delivers an efficient, low-cost, and reliable way for our customers to identify credit shoppers in their portfolio before they sign on with a competitor.  

Bottom line: Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is the best way to find opportunities to delight. 

Overcoming Industry Challenges 

As Birchwood continues to grow, we remain committed to our delight-based business model. We believe that—done right—it’s definitely scalable. This belief stands in stark contrast to one of the biggest trends we’ve seen in the industry over the last year or two: consolidation.  

There are a lot of risks with mergers: 

  • Service disruption due to transitioning/departing staff and new technology  
  • Process and pricing changes that force changes on the customer end 
  • Degraded service levels that leave customers hanging 
  • Diminished bargaining power in a less competitive market 

We don’t believe that bigger is automatically better. We have grown our business in a careful and intentional way to ensure we can consistently deliver delight. That includes remaining agile enough to be able to pivot quickly when needed, as we did in response to the COVID-19-driven forbearance situation.  

Bottom line: Growing a business doesn’t have to rely on big deals. Staying true to who you are is a powerful growth strategy.  

Learn more about how to get your credit reporting with a side of delight at BirchwoodCreditServices.com.  

About Author: Larry Avery

Larry Avery - Birchwood Credit Services - 3.16.2021
Avery has been with Birchwood Credit Services for almost two decades. He is the EVP of Partnership over Vendorship.
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