TMS’s founding mission was to help Grow Happiness and put an end to sub-par subservicing. As originators, we found that it was all too common for subservicers to treat customers the opposite of how we wanted them to be treated — too little kindness, too little enthusiasm, too little…well, service.
Service is about more than a transaction. Transactions start and end with an exchange; service is about how that exchange is delivered, and how it leads to meaningful relationships. Regardless of the context, good relationships are the key component of happiness. At TMS, it’s our objective to help Grow Happiness for everyone in our network, including our customers, our clients, and of course, our team members.
To put an end to sub-par subservicing, and to help Grow Happiness in all the people who make us who we are, it wasn’t enough to simply render service. We had to develop a Culture of Care, a company ecosystem defined by meaningful relationships. It started with defining our Core Values, and it has extended to everything and everyone we touch.
A little care goes a long way. In addition to the intrinsic benefits of making meaningful connections, cultures of care are good for business. Experts suggest that caring work environments produce happier, more engaged employees, who then extend their pride to the customers and clients they serve. In other words: Happy people = happy customers.
In this article, we explain how care pervades our entire organization, and what that all means for you.
Care starts on the inside. No entity can care for others without first caring for itself. Our foundational act of self-care, you might say, was defining our Core Values:
- People Matter. By recognizing the true value of every TMS team member, we instill a sense of pride and trust in the bones of our organization.
- Inspiring Leadership. Leaders set standards. TMS’s leaders are active listeners, front-liners, and high-performers.
- Strength of Character. All TMS team members must meet work ethic, transparency, and accountability standards. The right culture starts with finding and galvanizing the right people.
- Rock-Solid Service. We don’t just want customers — we want a raving fanbase. Once we build the right team, we reinforce their commitment to quality, competence, consistency, and kindness.
While we’re extremely proud of the non-human elements that make us who we are — subservicing portal SIME chief among them — you’ll notice that each of these values originates in people. We don’t make loan transactions; we make homeowners happy. We don’t assemble a workforce; we cultivate relationships with the people best equipped to further our mission.
The Right Team
People make up cultures. We’ve always tried to hire the most skilled, committed people, but above all, we hire people who care. That has never been more necessary than it has been over the course of the past year. As a result, we’ve doubled down on this philosophy and put our hiring into overdrive.
COVID-19 put an extra burden on mortgage subservicers. With millions of people struggling to make ends meet, millions had to take loss mitigation steps, and subservicers like us saw them through. To handle the increased volume, we had to expand our team. But it wasn’t just about finding people to fill seats. We had to find the right people, the kinds of people who could help us through a difficult stage, connect with our customers on an emotional level, and then stay with us once we reached the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, we intensified our hiring process, putting prospective team members through situational interviews that evaluated their off-the-cuff problem-solving skills. We added multidimensional on-the-job training procedures that made new hires more skilled and more autonomous in a shorter period of time. We added more than 160 team members to help us make the most of crisis mode. By the end of it, the crisis turned into a year of success.
Our fundamental approach was the same as always: Start with care. By finding more great people and investing in their development, we created a super-team of caring individuals. They helped us continue to help Grow Happiness by outpacing industry averages, and even setting new benchmarks for customer satisfaction.
Do Unto Others
By understanding our Core Values and recruiting people who exemplify them, all that’s left is extending care to our customers and clients. We aspire to do this in every interaction, no matter how small. Here are some of the most prominent examples.
CAREology Scholars. Most people don’t expect to smile when they have to deal with a mortgage issue. Our CAREologists ask: Why not? Positive interactions are the cornerstone of loyalty. Technical know-how makes a good customer service rep, but kindness and compassion make a true CAREologist. When we train new hires, we spend as much time on brand voice and bedside manner as we do on compliance protocols. Such thorough training makes our CAREologists elite problem-solvers, exemplified by our 92% first-call resolution rate.
360° Data in Seconds. Business in the internet age revolves around data. Business intelligence systems help companies turn a chaotic mess of information into a humming data engine. SIME (Servicing Intelligence Made Easy), our proprietary subservicing portal, does just that for both clients and customers. For clients, that means 90+ standard and customizable customer reports, loan-level detail and raw data, records of customer interactions, and more. Customers get access to the Happinest app, which has led to an 82% self-service rate. All in all, SIME handles the technical end of care: the freshest information for the most informed decisions.
All the Small Things. Company procedures and top-tier tech go a long way. But finally, our culture of care comes down to all the little, unquantifiable things that happen on a day-to-day basis throughout our organization. It’s the paint on the walls, which creates a bright environment. It’s the way our team members interact — friendly environments lead to better work, after all. It’s the choice to show a customer patience and understanding. These immeasurable events are the true proof of a culture of care, and TMS has them in abundance.
Culture in Action
A culture of care doesn’t develop overnight, but it is defined by what happens on Day One. We knew how we wanted TMS Subservicing to feel well before Day One, way back in our origination days. Dealing with sub-par subservicers gave us a very clear picture of what not to do, and by contrast, what would constitute a Subservisational experience. By now, we’ve achieved recognition for our work environment, our tech, and our compliance standards, and become one of the nation’s Top 10 Subservicers.
But what matters most is that we’ve continually set personal records for customer satisfaction. At the end of December 2020, it sat at 98% — its highest mark ever. That’s the clearest indicator of care: our culture hard at work.