There is no denying that technology has changed the way industries and consumers interact with each other. In the rush to create a seamlessly connected world through digital platforms, numerous industries have evolved their strategies to ensure consumer satisfaction.
The outcome of J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study  found that, while going digital has improved customer satisfaction, interactions with human representatives continue to play a significant role in customer satisfaction. The study is based on responses from 5,187 customers who originated a new mortgage or refinanced within the past 12 months, and it was fielded in July-August 2018. The study measured customer satisfaction with the mortgage origination experience based on six factors: application/approval process; interaction; loan closing; loan offerings; onboarding; and problem resolution. The results were ranked on a 1,000-point scale.
Increase in Digital Adaption
According to the study, the overall satisfaction with primary mortgage originators increased by 10 points in 2018. Increased customer utilization of digital and mobile channels played a part in the resulting digital adaption. The report revealed that on average, customers use 3.1 different channels during the mortgage process, with the phone being used at 72 percent, website at 69 percent, and email at 58 percent.
The Importance of Human Interaction
The study also explored the role played by human representatives in customer satisfaction. While usage of digital channels has increased, a mere three percent of mortgage customers exclusively rely on digital self-service channels in the origination process. Over-the-phone conversations played a dominant role in shaping the satisfaction levels of consumers among 871 customers during the mortgage application process, followed by 868 customers who used a mix of personal and self-service tools. Human interaction with a representative featured as an important part of the follow-up contact after initial inquiry and during confirmation of loan terms and payment.
The Efficacy Factor
The report stated that customers who used digital platforms considered the speed of contact critical to satisfaction. Waiting time after an inquiry for contact from a lender resulted in a decline in satisfaction levels. Overall satisfaction among customers who receive contact calls within one day is 869. Satisfaction falls to 852 after two to five days and to 806 after six or more days. Online via smartphone/tablet is the inquiry channel with the fastest overall contact times—2.0 days on average—followed by online via desktop at 2.2 days.
Quicken Loans  leads mortgage origination satisfaction for a ninth consecutive year, achieving a score of 876, followed by Fairway Independent Mortgage  with a score of 873 and Guild Mortgage Company with a score of 857. Mr.Cooper  bagged the year-over-year improvement among rank-eligible companies, increasing 41 points from 2017.
Based on the report findings, it is safe to say that there is a clear preference for digital interactions in specific areas of origination, however, there is skepticism about the possible outcomes of digital impact. One thing is for certain: human interactions continue to play a vital role, regardless of the industry.