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2020 Hindsight: Success in a Year of Crisis

The world has never seen a year like 2020. Life as we knew it was abruptly interrupted. For businesses of all kinds, the question was clear: Will you be able to adapt to a socially distant world?

  • Our overall customer satisfaction rate sat at 98% throughout the year
  • In November, our own employees voted us a Top 5 Mortgage Professional America Mortgage Workplace
  • In December, we posted an 82.1 Net Promoter Score (NPS) — which evaluates how likely customers are to recommend our services — our highest ever
  • We added 200,000 loans to our platform, with smooth onboarding processes
  • We maintained a 1-minute call wait time 95% of the year
  • We kept our customers’ delinquency (DQ) rates below the market average

Luckily, we had certain advantages from the beginning — we were already a fintech organization embracing the cloud- and Zoom-based setup (and had been for over eight years), so the transition to work-from-home (WFH) was simpler for us than for many. But we also used the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate, modernizing our tech, expanding our customers’ self-service options, and doubling down on our Core Values.

Through all of last year’s challenges, the people who matter most to us were there for us. We are enormously grateful, and we believe that it’s our commitment to our Core Values that helped set the tone. Challenging times tested our resolve, and while it wasn’t always easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, our common beliefs helped us pass the test.

Success in 2021 will have the same starting points as success in 2020: staying committed to our Core Values and making everything we do about helping Grow Happiness.

We remembered that, above all, People Matter

All good business depends on happy people. Our team members must believe in our overarching mission — to help Grow Happiness — and understand that they are valued as more than just numbers on a spreadsheet. Our customers must understand that we’re on their side, doing all we can for them, especially in trying times. The pandemic made life harder for everyone, which meant we had more of a responsibility to invest in our people.

To show our people that they mattered, we:

  • Revamped our training process, hiring two additional trainers to optimize our interview and onboarding processes
  • Remodeled our interview strategy, emphasizing situational dynamics in addition to our evaluations of Core Values
  • Reinvested in on-the-job training so that we could get new team members up to speed and independent more rapidly
  • Ended up adding more than 160 team members, between new CAREologists (our exemplary customer service team members) and overflow staff, to meet the elevated needs of TMS customers

But we didn’t just add a lot of people — we did what we could to make them happy. Everyone had a unique set of challenges when it came to WFH, so we reached out to each and every one of our employees to try and make accommodations. We worked to engineer flexible call center shifts to reduce our employees’ emotional burdens, and to make it easier for parents to handle the challenges of remote schooling. We made sure everyone had ample break time to reboot — we all experienced a little COVID burnout.

A happier, more finely selected, and more thoroughly trained staff meant more Rock-Solid Service for our customers…which brings us another reason we made the best of a challenging year.

We recommitted ourselves to Rock-Solid Service

The statistics we talked about in the intro mean a lot to us. But what they represent means much more.

Particularly at the outset of the pandemic, there was a lot of misinformation going around. People had questions about the nature of COVID-19, what they should do about their mortgage payments, whether they should look into forbearance, and more. Because we invested so much in our customer service CAREologists, they were ready to answer those questions. Our customers received accurate information, and were able to make informed, rational choices, staying committed to timelines.

Additionally, we rolled out a number of new self-service options, including our post-forbearance workout option evaluation tool, to make things more convenient for all of our customers, including those impacted by COVID-19 hardships. We enhanced Joy, our automated assistant, improving her ability to answer questions in customer-friendly ways. We made it possible for our customers to request callbacks about beginning forbearance plans, which ensured that they knew what they were in for — and, as in our myth-busting blog, what they weren’t in for.

Because we put smiles on the faces of our staff, our staff was able to put smiles on the faces of our customers. We cared for each other, making it easier to care for those we serve. It’s all part of TMS’s overarching goal: to help Grow Happiness in all facets of our organization.

2021 Foresight

2020 was indeed an unprecedented year, but that doesn’t mean the challenges we faced last year are gone for good. As we look forward to the (hopefully COVID-free) future, growing on the steps we took in 2020 will be essential to our success.

In 2021, we will continue to enrich our team of CAREologists. For those partners still honing their WFH situation, like some tax/county offices and insurance companies, we will strive to perfect our relationships and procedures to make onboarding new loans even smoother. We will continue to develop Joy, making her a stronger resource for our customers. We will continually expand upon our existing self-service options — stay tuned for more announcements about this.

As we move forward, we will redouble our commitments to our Core Values, and to all the great people who helped us through 2020. Thank you to everyone, inside and out, who helped us pivot the pandemic, making 2020 a success. Here’s to more giant leaps forward in 2021.

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February 23, 2021