I have a friend who uses a poster board to track all the sporting events, dance recitals, and other extracurricular activities for her four kids throughout the year. Every time a child participates in one of these events, they place a sticker on the board. In 2018 alone, my friend attended over 300 different functions!
My friend is not alone in feeling the hustle and bustle of today's society. We are a community of people who are always running here and there. In the rush, many consumers find the Internet a useful source for finding the information they need quickly.
However, just because a web page has information on it, doesn't necessarily make it useful. Seventy-five percent of users admit they judge a business' credibility by their website design. Your website is the online face of your lending business, so you must leave a good first impression.
How can you make sure your website is useful to users? Below are seven features that can help improve the usability of your site.
A website that is cluttered, hard to navigate, and difficult to read quickly turns users away simply because they don't have the time to decipher the information and pull out what they need.
Don't make your prospects search for who you are or what you do. Design your website and content, so this information can be found and digested easily just by browsing your site.
Reviews and Testimonials
With the wealth of information available on the Internet, today's consumers are quickly turned off by pushy sales messages. Instead of talking with sales representatives, they turn to real-life customers to get their input. It is reported that 97 percent of people read reviews for local companies, such as your office, and 90 percent of those readers claim positive online reviews influence their buying decision.
On the front page of your website, be sure to share a few of the positive messages your borrowers have shared about your office. Do you have more positive reviews than you can fit on your home page? If so, consider dedicating an entire page to sharing messages of why borrowers loved their borrowing experience.
Set the Expectations
Your website can help lower anxiety levels about getting a loan by painting a picture of what customers should expect when they arrive at your office. Create a page for answering frequently asked questions, outlining your office policies, and explaining what information they will need to provide for a loan application to be processed.
Office and Staff Introductions
Another way to help lower the anxiety of getting a loan is to give an excellent online introduction to your staff. Post pictures of your office and staff throughout your website so patients will have some familiarity when they arrive.
To go the extra mile, you can put pictures and introductions to all of your office staff to help borrowers feel they already know you when they walk into your office. For a more personal touch, have your staff film these introductions and posted the edited videos on your site. These introductions can include things about their job, what they can help the borrower accomplish at your office, and their hobbies outside of the office.
Potential and current borrowers don't want to waste their time filling out all the necessary forms. Have PDF versions of your forms, this way, they can print them off and fill them out at their convenience before their visit, thus reducing wait the time they will need to be in your office.
Online bill pay is another online convenience that your website should include. It is reported that 56 percent of consumers are paying their bills online, while check payments have decreased by 20 percent. By allowing borrowers to pay bills directly from your website, you can easily provide a better customer experience while getting paid faster!
It can be difficult to get all the necessary information you need on your website. Borrowers might have questions about forms, interest rates, or other matters. Putting your contact information where it can easily be seen helps borrowers get answers quickly, which in the long run, lowers frustration and increases satisfaction.
Like my friend, all the sports games, dance recitals, plays, and errands consumers have to attend regularly have made browsing the Internet on mobile phones a widespread habit. In 2019, 63.4 percent of mobile phone owners accessed the Internet solely from their phones, and that number is predicted to increase to 75 percent by 2025.
Having a mobile-friendly website is crucial to the success of your site and your lending office. Test your site to make sure that when accessing it through a mobile device, you don’t lose the ease and functionality of a desktop experience.
You only have seconds to make a first impression—what is your website saying about you? By making your website easy to read and helpful, with a vast knowledge base of content and other online conveniences, you can quickly build a better online presence. This, in turn, leads to a better borrower experience and stronger, long-lasting borrower-office relationships.