The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

222. A Practical Approach to Storytelling w/ Anna Marie Pryor

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

An effective story can be a creative way to communicate your brand’s identity and company’s purpose. If you think you aren’t a storyteller, it may be time to change that narrative (pun intended).  

Hear our conversation with Anna Marie Pryor, Director of Marketing at Alameda Mortgage Corporation. We discuss:  

  • How she defines customer experience 
  • Who her ideal customer is and what problems she solves for them
  • How her agency experience helped with her current role 
  • Why adopting a practical approach to storytelling can help brands 
  • What are Milestone-Based-Marketing Goals   

More information about Anna and today’s topics:

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes, and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the Customer Experience Podcast. Here's your host, Ethan. Butte to me, storytelling is a lot like being creative. Everyone knows it's important, but each of us approaches it in one of two ways. I'm good at it or I'm not. I'm not creative, I'm not a very good storyteller. If you tell yourself that story of not being a very good storyteller, prepared to rewrite it. Among other insights, today's guest will help make storytelling more approachable for us. She's got a background in journalism and in marketing. She's a writer, photographer, and videographer. She served in several social media strategy roles before becoming direct Store of Marketing at Alameda Mortgage Animal Ree prior. Welcome to the Customer Experience Podcast. Thank you so much. Ethan, so glad to be here. A big fan of the podcast and from the episodes I've listened to I'm excited to talk more. Awesome. Thank you so much for listening, thank you for spending time with me, and UM I'm really looking for We had a great conversation initially, UM, and we'll go through some of that stuff today. But before we get into storytelling, pioneering a marketing organization inside a company where it didn't exist before, and some other things, let's start, of course where we always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? So customer experienced me? It can mean a lot of things, but first and foremost, it's a relationship from start to finish, and UM even before the start, right, so it's before they even interact with your business they have a problem, and even after they interact with your business, they may need your service in the future. So just a UM fully formed relationship is what I think customer service UM experience is. I love it. I've of course asked that question to over two hundred people now, and uh, I don't know that I've I've had anyone. I'm sure I have, but it doesn't come to mind really key in on this relationship board, and I think it's a really good and smart choice in particular because you know, a lot of people might resist it because I think relationship necessarily requires this, like direct human to human and like I have a relationship with you Anna UM, but a lot of the experiences we have that we feel wonderful about, we don't necessarily feel like we have a relationship, But there is still a brand relationship there. Like how do you think about relationship to another human being a customer or or an employer um it versus like a relationship to a brand. I actually think of them quite similarly, and to uh. There's a common concept of like love languages, which sounds so funny when you think of it UM in terms of work or in terms of customers. But people have just different ways they want to be communicated with UM, and that includes both. So I actually don't differentiate the two so much, especially because with what I do with Alameta Mortgage, sometimes my customers or my audience is internal, so I try not to separate them too much because really, for me, my customers are more than just UM. For example homebuyers. Yeah, absolutely, How often internally? How often do you use the term not you personally, but your team, the people you're around culturally? There? How often do you use the term customer experience or do you feel like there's other language that you use to kind of get at the same spirit of it. UM, I would say pretty often. Um, not necessarily in terms of customer experience, but I would say the term that I use and that we use internally most often is like kind of the customer journey too, just because it is a journey from start to finish with the home loan process too, So I would say journey kind of translates in that way to customer experience. Awesome again before were diving into mortgage storytelling in some other themes, I would be...

...remiss if I did not ask you about something I saw in your LinkedIn profile, which is your time training cast members at Disney parks and resorts. And the reason I have to ask is that you know they're obviously so highly regarded in terms of customer experience, which is certainly based in their commitment to employee experience as well. So like when you look back at that, I know it wasn't yesterday, but it wasn't that long ago either, So when you look back at it, like what, um, what was awesome about that experience? And or what do you take from it that you feel like it's still useful today. Um, I would say just the capacity to change somebody's entire day, entire trip based off of that customer experience too. So what was always surprising to me is receiving guest feedback. Sometimes it would be like a week after the interaction and the way that they kind of interaction affected them, and they would still be thinking about it later, even if it was something to me so small. UM I really feel like that kind of changed my perspective on how those just micro moments can change somebody's experience with your company. I love it is that something that you uh consciously reinforced two people are like when you think back about the curriculums you're like training these new cast members, um were one or two things that you feel like apply even beyond someone that you know, Like you say, I was a new cast member and you're training me, Like you could actually teach that same thing to a variety of people, right And um So with Disney, they kind of have core concepts that they go off of. And again this was a couple of years ago now, but basically there's their different keys and one of them is courtesy, and I feel like that is something that seems so simple, but a lot of people forget. UM. I kind of experienced that lack of courtesy even just in day to day interactions with different companies, especially post COVID. It is a little difficult when UM, you know, a lot of these industries are super impactive and impacted and there's not as many employees. But I feel like it's so simple, um, to just be courteous and to be kind And I feel like that is one of the biggest things that I took from that and that we try to impart is any person that you're interacting with kind of deserves that. At least. I love it. It's so attitudinal, and I mean we could execute um, let's not do you and I because we're both I feel like generally kind of people listen, Like, if you take any two people and they could execute the exact same thing right on behalf of a customer, and one of them could do it from a from a mindset and uh in a delivery that comes from a spirit of kindness and courtesy, and it makes a dramatic difference. And I raised that only to say it doesn't cost anything more UM, and the only cost is whatever investment it takes for your company to support that culturally, UM and it and it it pays. The r o I on kindness is probably immeasurable, although I'm sure someone's tried to take it on all right. Uh, I have a number of layers to get into here because I'm really into us in your story. UM, well let's start with H. For anyone who's not familiar, tell us a little bit about alamate a mortgage. UM, like, who's your ideal customer and what are some of the problems that you solve? So alamatea Mortgage is in the name a mortgage lender. UM. It was family owned and operated since nineteen. Prior to me coming on board, we had about thirty something loan originators. Today we have over a hundred. Prior to me coming on board three years ago, we didn't have a designated marketing department. So it's been my responsibility to create that marketing department from the ground up, often with the help and direction UM and coalition with the sales team as well too, so bringing on all of the services and software that we have. So in terms of ideal customer, it kind of ranges right, anybody behind a home really, but that can be such a large demographic, so our mind is always in so many different places for who we are marketing too...

...with our programs. Love it And the interesting thing I think for you, and we'll dive into it now, is like you mentioned people who need a mortgage, right, so they either want to buy or refinance a home or a you know, I'm sure you do a variety of different things like second homes and investment properties and things, so you have those like let's just generically call those borrowers. UM. Then of course you have loan officers as customers because they have a unique relationship to the organization. I'm sure you operate your marketing UH team from a from a service perspective. Internally, Plus you have um other internal stakeholders, uh you have real estate stakeholders and referral partners, Like how do you balance you know, in terms of lining out your work and looking at what you and your team are delivering and what you're focused on. What how do you balance those various stakeholders? How do you think about that? UM? So, first off, I'm just glad that you understand to the different audiences because that could be a whole conversation in itself to explain that to somebody. Um. So, yeah, we're our heads in different places for different audiences that we have. And the answer just is as simple as organization and thinking of it in terms of percentages. Right, how often or how much of a percentage of my time am I spending creating content for our originators? How much time am I creating um stuff for their borrowers or internally? So I would say, first and foremost, Um, my personal audience too, is largely the lone originator database that we have because they are the ones that are acting on behalf of the organization marketing what I give them to their borrowers. So I think I kind of, um, I wouldn't say it was a mistake, but kind of made the assumption, uh, even three or four years ago, prior to being with this lender, that the audience is specifically the borrower and really it's not. The marketing department for any mortgage company should be the loaner originator. So it's just a shift that we've made in our marketing department to really put them first with the content that we're creating for them. I love it. It's really interesting. I think a sub conversation that's come up a number of times here on this podcast is this idea of UM helping your customers serve their customers, especially in the B two B type setting, or in this case it's a B two B two see kind of like like because you're talking about consumers and and these people are so are these loan originators direct employees of the company? Yes, yes, does not really mean to be it's an internal service layer then, But in any case, UM, it comes up a lot that like, the more you can understand your customers customer and the more you can help them serve their customers better, the more valuable you are and the greater experience you're delivering. So UM, I really like your ability to shift focus between both of those, and I think it's probably something that not enough people are thinking about. They're really just thinking about from a marketing perspective, how do we get more customers and given the things they need and want? It's a dance, yeah, or it just comes from a place of stress, right, Like if you don't outline that ahead of time, it's like, oh my gosh, like I have to do all this content like social media flyers even and it's just I feel like, you know, the courtesy bit of it, but also just the organizational end of it too is so undervalued in just how you're spending your time and energy. And I feel like if you just enter your day, um without that, you can just be creating content that isn't necessary necessarily valuable. So um, so I think you're You're journey at alimated is so cool in part because you've got to pioneer this thing and kind of you talked about building a tech stack from scratch, probably building a team from scratch. UM walk us through kind of this pioneering the marketing function there is starting with perhaps like based on how you were evaluating the opportunity yourself, the way...

...that you were interviewed as much as you can describe like what was missing for the company or perhaps for the customer that prompted this whole thing to get going, Like what what did they identify internally said man, maybe we should do this or is this something you like rolled up you knew someone and rolled up and sold the idea. How did like, how did this even start? Well? So I was recruited and um, I was recruited under the kind of desire to grow the company, and it's really difficult to grow a company without marketing, right, so you don't have the awareness. And then also when you're bringing on those loan originators, especially when they're coming from a variety of backgrounds themselves, with their own experience, they have an expectation of having that marketing provided to them as well too. UM. So I feel like when you have a smaller team operating as they do, you can kind of get into that groove and have and that's totally fine as well, but when you're looking to scale up, you really do have to provide more as well. So I feel like during the interview process, a lot of what we talked about, UM was building that marketing department from scratch, But the biggest conversations that our CEO and our CEO Tim Laren and Ron Perkins were having during that interview process was actually s c O and search engine optimization because prior to me coming on board, although we didn't have a marketing department, individual loan officers were um sourcing material and having like a paying like a contractor to create that and so you don't really have the brand consistency, but maybe you do have a nice flyer, but what we didn't have, UM was any kind of online presence outside of the website too. UM. Although we had at that time about eight branches spread around California, there was only one Google business location for those. So a big thing coming on board UM was you know, getting the contracts with all of those um different companies in the tech stact, but also just creating the online presence outside of that too, because you could have all the technology in the world, but if nobody knows about you, it's kind of for not so yeah so, and you already kind of gave us a glimpse into it. But you know, coming into a functionally a blank slate that you had some of your own ideas about that. It sounds like you already the executive team had some ideas about UM. Where did you start? How do you prioritize things like I am I'm imagining this now myself, Like you identify the three four or five biggest most important things, you lay them out on the table and then you're like, this one's first. Then we're gonna do work on these two at the same time, and then we'll move on to these other three. Like how did that go, Oh, it's so funny because it was just entirely everything I want And I really during that interview that sorry, I'm sorry, that's the realistic answer I was imagining like the ideal way. But yeah, yeah, it's totally. It's it's it's nice to think of it in terms of, you know, first we focus on this and then this, but when you're just coming in especially just like running full force and this again was pre pandemic to so I was going into the office every day and just communicating and having to be in the different headspace for each of the conversations with UM vendors that we were bringing on. It was it was a lot for those first couple of months UM, but I feel like with everything at once, it kind of actually gave us a unique opportunity to look at what fit together and what didn't, because I think one of my worst nightmares on the other end of things would be to just have all these separate log ins and didn't have all of these overlapping technologies. So I feel like there was actually, um a lot of like perks to just doing it all at once, and over time there has been some things that we have swapped out too. So I'm just really glad that the team is, um, you know, so open to that or open to coming with new ideas, and that our executive team, the management team is open to bringing on those things and making those switches to cool. I...

...won't make you walk through the whole tech stack, but I assume it's you know, CRM, marketing automation and some other pieces UM and probably some other functions marketing functions that that require technology but not necessarily a fundamental part of the stack per se. But UM to turn it into a question, what is a decision that you made, you know, within the first couple of months of being there, and you're like, man, I'm so glad we paid that decision, whether it's a whether it's a piece of technology that you chose, or a process or something else, like, what's something that you set in place early, and you're just really glad that you did. Um. I can think of so many Yeah, right, UM, first and foremost experience dot com. It used to be social survey. It is a way to automate the review process for buyers and relators that are connected to the loan. UM that well, I think it was the first piece of software that we got up and running so quickly, and you know, all that we had been around since nineteen sixty three and a half years ago, we had probably maybe forty two reviews as a company total, and now we have over four thousand. UM So I feel like that has made a huge impact, and it all ties into obviously the s e O and the online presence, but it's just really nice for the loan originators to be getting that review back where they weren't before. And then the other thing of it, UM or the other thing that I can think of is that in that proposal, I had actually proposed an entirely different CRM, and it was one that I was more comfortable with that I had used before, and based off of the input from the sales team UM while I was transitioning over, they decided that they wanted to go with a different CRM and marketing operating system. And I think my flexibility in saying like, yes, actually, this is the better option and this is something that I'm willing to work with two UM, I think it made all the difference because in hindsight, I think we're better off for having that platform versus the one I had initially. UM suggest did awesome, nice piece of flexibility there. You came from an agency background, UM, and just kind of doubling back to this idea of having multiple stakeholders and operating from a service mindset. I feel like that was probably one of the reasons they were looking at you and actively recruiting you. Like, how how helpful was that agency background in terms of the way that you're operating now? I think it was super helpful, and UM, I'm sure it played a part in the hiring process. But what I love is getting to talk about it with members of the team now, so certain loan originators, and when we just have conversations about the marketing we're creating. UM. I think the most overwhelming response when people learn about that background is oh, that must actually help to create you know, new and fresh content for mortgage and for mortgage marketing, because I feel like a lot of the content can start to look the same. UM. And I feel like when you come in with a fresh perspective, I feel like you can create some really different, really cool up cool let's um, let's go into storytelling. UM. You know you've mentioned content a number of times. We've like loosely mentioned social it's obviously fundamental to those things. But as we were chatting a week or two back, we established that you were in journalism, and I was immediately adjacent promoting a whole lot of Uh, you know, journalism, work in television. Talk about your background, your perspective on storytelling, and UM, perhaps start with maybe do you agree that storytelling is a little bit misunderstood. I feel like all the gurus and presenters and books and things are like telling stories since we were cave people. Storytelling is fundamentally human. You need to be storytelling. It's like, I think we kind of do it naturally, but we might not do it well. Like that's too many questions, but I think I can start start there, like, how do you storytelling miss understood in a marketing...

...context? In two? I think it is. I think it's misunderstood, But I think it's also like overspoken, right, Like I think it's a key word that we use, um and it's one that I use a lot too. UM. And I feel like you need to tell a story about storytelling in order to tell a story effectively. UM. And I just really think that my background in journalism was what gave me that ability and I think the misconception is that a story has to have all of this flourish and you know, all of this embellishment, and that's not necessarily the case, and especially not with what I do in mortgage marketing. It needs to be essentially straightforward, and you can tell the story of the home loan process and you know, for example, being a first time HomeBuyer UM and being able to tell those stories can be straightforward, and two people take in those stories differently. So you know, we're doing a podcast right now, and that's a great way to market UM a company or an idea. There's also a video format emails. So I feel like telling a story isn't just telling a story, and I think it's just said too much, right, UM. So I really feel like though more people than they think they can actually be a storyteller, even if they're very you know, straightforward. Yeah, that is. I really appreciate where where you button that up there? Uh, And that's why I kind of introed it tied to creative. Like as soon as we got off that call and I was thinking about, all right, where are we gonna go with this conversation? It reminded me that these people are like, oh, I'm not I don't have a creative bone in my body. And it's like, well, in our last meeting, you gave me three pretty good ideas and they were at the intersection of being novel and useful, like that is creativity and so um, when you're trying to make storytelling, I assume that you're kind of sharing these ideas with some of the lone originators and trying to help them gather stories or organize the pieces so that they could tell a story more effectively. Like do you have a framework that you like to use or share with other people, or like, you know, how do you make this easier for someone to understand who is telling themselves that false story that they're no good at storytelling? I would say to approach it in the way that you're comfortable with. Right. So um, some creative writers just need to get down and like write their novel from start to finish, and that's one sort of storytelling. But for the storytelling for something like this, where it is more straightforward and for somebody who doesn't necessarily think that they're creative, do it in a way that's more analytical. Sit down and create a map, create you know, um, just a timeline of events and tell it in that way. UM. I feel like the visual representation doesn't need to be a painting, it doesn't need to be a book, um, and you don't need to do it in any certain prescribed way. I think it's just about doing it in the way that you're most familiar with. Two. So, I feel like it's a lot of industries though, that we get it in our head that, um, something needs to be a certain way, and it's not that way. It's not the so I would say to answer your question, just do it in a way that's analytical if you're more analytical person, do it in a way that's creative, if you're more creative as a person. I love it. What UM. I guess to go back to that Disney type question that I asked, what what from your time in journalism? Beyond the obvious answer of story talking? Maybe go get that. I'm just trying to kind of dive into storytelling a little bit more. What are a couple of like just fundamental perspectives or truths or ideas or habits or practices or processes that you picked up during those years that are still really useful for you now first and foremost. UM, there's a Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, and I feel like that ethics piece comes back into play in so much that I do, but especially with this UM. There's obviously a lot of compliance naturally that needs to go into finance and this space. So I feel like that just gave me that understanding of that going into it. So telling stories but also telling them in a way...

...that's responsible and true. UM. So I feel like that's first and foremost, but also just making things understandable too, because I feel like if you just start in marketing and that's all you ever know, and you read all of the books about how to create marketing, it's kind of this like grandeur thing. And I feel like what I learned in journalism is to actually cut out the unnecessary parts and to make things super understandable, especially for something like mortgages, where it's the biggest purchase most people will ever make in their life. We don't want to make it this whole, you know, game of monopoly or confusing thing. UM. It should really be first and foremost understandable and approachable. I love it. So the implications of that are I need to know who this is for. I need to understand approximately where they are in relationship to this idea or this principle that I'm going to use a story to walk through. Um, you talked about laying out a sequence of events. And then the key thing I think you offered that makes a difference between a bad story and a good story, and a good story and a great story is what we take out. Like there are um, so many quotes I'm thinking of, um, Charles Mingus, Um, fantastic jazz composer and musician. Um who you know making anyone can make totally good at butcher this thing, but anyone can make something complex, um, but true geniuses and making things simple. And I really think this this essence of taking things away, taking things away, taking things away until we have like the most essential piece that we can have. But then again, just to paraphrase somebody else, I'm going to but butcher this one too. I might have been Mark Twitter's like out have written you a shorter letter, but I didn't have enough time, you know. UM, So there's like a balance in there between what we remove. But I really appreciate this idea of taking things away. Is that, um, is that something that they're formally schooling people in. UM. You know what, it's been a little while since I've been in school. I feel like I haven't seen the concept that often, especially when it comes to marketing, because I do continue to take courses that are relevant. The most recent one was about neuromarketing UM and neuroscience in marketing UM, and so you know, it didn't pertain there. But anything that I've seen, I haven't really seen that talked about too much. I'm sure it has. I'm sure I'm not the first one, you know, to say that, that's for sure, UM. But I do think more people could benefit from the process of editing down right. I feel like, UM, the editing process is really what it comes down to. Yeah, And the requirement to do so or else you don't know what to pull out is who is this for? And what do we want to leave them within the end? And I think if you're clear on that, you're in great shape to to use some of the tools that you already laid out here to to tell a better story. UM. Something else that I really enjoyed in our in our initial conversation was, you know, I've been talking a lot about moments that matter. That's the way which that I use, and we're using a little bit internally here. I've taught video messaging a variety of ways, you know, across the customer life cycle, across the employee life cycle. And you know, you can't make a human touch in every moment. It's just not a profitable thing to do just at the bottom line. So you need to pick the moments where this kind of emotional connection, the clarity that the richness of it this, I feel like I know you before I ever meet you, Like all these things. We have to prioritize some of these moments that matter. In UH and the language you use for a similar ideas this like milestone based marketing UM talk a little bit of give a little bit of definition to that and UM and why it's so useful definitely UM. I feel like it has two sides to this, and the first is that our motto is a homelan for every milestone. So everybody across the course of their life has different life milestones. Maybe you're graduating college, UM, starting a family and...

...eating to get a bigger home, UM, starting a new career in a new area. So I feel like that is where the storytelling comes in, and that's where you can apply that moments that matter mindset is that this is a major milestone for most people, not only just buying the home, but where they're at in their life in order to be able to buy the home. So I feel like that is where that connection piece comes in. UM. And then just for the more technical side of it, there are milestones to the loan process, right so getting pre approved and then everything along that journey until you're closing the loan. Right So, UM, just marketing to where they are at in that life milestone, but then also just making sure that they're informed every step of the way through the milestones of the process is where I start to think about that milestone. Marketing. Love it. So the two layers there again are and the way I typically teach it is the small version. I love that you started with the big one, and I typically I'm teaching around this idea of like, here's the journey. It starts somewhere over here with like awareness and the understanding that there's a problem or opportunity. It goes through all these things they make. There's a commitment, there's onboarding, we deliver some impact and then hopefully wind up in this positive growth loop where a customer becomes a customer for life and a great source of new customers. Um. And there are milestones along that journey, but I love that you took it up to the kind of the life level because, um, it gives so much context, you know. And now I'm thinking about an episode that I hosted well over a year ago with Lisa Earl McLeod and her and her whole practice in sales, consulting and teaching is around UM, noble purpose and more salespeople would be more successful if they could articulate their work in terms of having a noble purpose and what you did and elevating it to this kind of life percentage that you put yourself in that zone of like this is actually noble work. This isn't just getting someone a rate and making sure they're clear on what they need to bring to the closing table in terms of um, A, I guess we probably don't sign things I bought. I bought my my house that we're now like fifteen years ago, and I have signed everything. I don't think we do that anymore. But um, but in any case, you gotta bring, you know, some money to it as well, like, um, talk about that kind of transcendent piece. I mean, when you ever have those conversations, whether it's internally or specifically with loan originators, like talk about the noble purpose around the work that you all do. Definitely, and I think it, uh, I think it comes back to several different key points that we've already talked about too, like relationships and about the milestones, um, and all of that. It is such as it's noble, but it's also humble in a way to I don't want to make it to grand um, but I feel like what I see most often is the people that are successful are the people that are creating personal relationships out of it along the way and not treating it like a transaction. Again to reiterate biggest purchase someone's usually ever going to make, so to automate the entire process would be a sincere disservice to the borrower. So I just feel like when I see the reviews that come back in, I feel like the most successful loan originators that I see are the ones that were on over communicating, calling them on their birthday, you know, following up on their homelown anniversary, we can automate those things, and we do right for the originators that don't necessarily want to make a call on the birthday. But the people that are most successful that I've seen in their positions have been the ones that have been willing to make that personal connection to would you observe um as I have? And you don't have to agree, um that the reason that is so stand out is that A it's increasingly rare and be that's because time and attention are the most valuable things that we have. And so on one side, you don't necessarily want to commit or give that because it's so valuable.

And then see, because you are doing that anyway, that's something that someone feels right like, they don't They're not going to intellectually put together like wow, that person took eight minutes and thirty two seconds out of their day to have a conversation with me just because it's my birthday. But it still leaves the impression of all of that, like, um, is that human personal touch so effective because of just where we are in the world right now? I think it is because it is a rarity, and you know, even us doing this podcast virtually right, Um, I feel like a lot of the world now is virtual or even with our process we did automated a month before covid Um to transition over and you were talking about your homeown process. Uh, it is mobile now. We have a mobile origination app which has been incredible. Right, there's so much of the process that you can and should automate. Um. But I think it is rare to have somebody take the time out of the day to address those things that matter. UM. So you don't need to be calling everybody every step of the process necessarily to say you know, this was done, this was done, you know every single part of it. Those notifications go out, but you can sit down and, like I said, be a little more analytical and say, this is the thing that I'm saying is meaningful. So I'm going to make it my thing to call everybody on their birthday or everybody on their homeland anniversary. And in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't take that much time. If you have the organization end of it too, when you start to look up at the layout of your day or your week, you can make time for that too. It is more energy, but you can make the time. Yeah, and it's about priority, we can really get anything that we want to. UM, I want to. I want to double back a little bit into storytelling. Just because you've mentioned reviews a few times, you mentioned experience dot com. Is it as a good decision that you look back on favorably. I feel like there's just so much power in the reviews, not just I think typical when we think about reviews, we think about, UM, this is social proof. It's validation that I've successfully done this for other people. And I'm a four point seven UM and the average in our areas at four point four, so I clearly had better than average. UM. You know you should give me a look and definitely return my phone call or check out my website or whatever. But you know, just dwelling in this idea of UM. You know, the journey, the big journey and the little journey, the big milestone and and all the little milestones within the process related to that big milestone. UM. In the storytelling, you look at a lot more reviews uh of of mortgage loan officers in the in the loan experience than I do. Do you find like characterize those a little bit? My my intuition would be that you know a positive review or a negative one. It is probably anchored on one or two or three moments. They're probably a bunch of them. They're generic, like you know, great person, highly responsive, we love our new home. But the ones that are a little bit more detailed, I would expect that they kind of change on some of these key moments that then can become stories that are part of how you communicate to other people, your unique value or some of the things you've overcome. Like talk about that relationship between a kind of a detailed review and this kind of storytelling principle. Yeah, so I feel like you hit the nail on the head and that in a way, the person leaving the review is doing the storytelling for you. So kind of a little trick there is just to um, you know, don't try to do the work somebody else already did. Recycle that, use that as the story, share that on social media, you know, talk to that, borrow or more to get their story and see the process. Um. But I read every single review that comes in, and I definitely think one of the most consistent things that I'm always in awe about is definitely the communication part of it. But more so than that is that I see a lot out of these borrowers refer...

...to a loan origenator as family, right, Like they treated me like family, and I feel like that's the biggest win, right Like, if I'm going to be buying a home, I don't want it to just be simply transactional. I don't need my hands held every step of the way. But I do want to feel like my like my life milestone and where I'm at and what I want is being respected and is seen. So I feel like our loan officers really do that, and it's just so evident in the reviews that we received that and it it relieves a lot of the work I need to do for the storytelling from borrowers when they're the ones leaving the reviews themselves. So it's too It's two parts of it, right where it's like you can automate that review process, but then there's a manual end of it to actually use the reviews that you're getting back in your marketing. So I really appreciate that in full respect for reading every review that comes in. I take a similar commitment here too. We have two slack channels that are automatically fed. One of them is every comment that comes back with an NPS score, UM, and I read every single one of those comments because the way our team set it up makes it easy to do and it matters UM. In the language that they're using matters UM. And you can, to your point, turn it into other pieces, or you can equip people with that information or those stories. UM. Same thing when someone cancels an account, we have a feed of that and we ask some questions, and not everyone answers all the questions, but I definitely read those responses UM because it matters. UM. For the sake of time, we'll go on this really quickly. But you spent several years really focused on social media, and it's obviously a piece of what you're helping with now or or driving. UM. How long have you been in social and how has it changed in the time that you've really been working in the space. UM social about like ten years now too. UM. So I feel like, oh, I would say like eight until be more specific, but I feel like it's changed so so much in terms of the algorithms for each of these and the expectations of each of the platforms. Right. Instagram has always been a very photo based sharing site and now we have TikTok, which is like very video based and for us, UM, I feel like we have to just see it. And I feel like most people right need to just in most industries need to see it as a means of brand awareness. I feel like there was an opportunity in the past to drive more sales in an organic way through social media. I just don't see that that's the case anymore, um without paid advertising obviously, and it's just not something that we do on a corporation level. UM with paid advertising, especially because we're licensed in so many states and that can create a lot of compliance issues. UM. So what we do and how I approach things is very organically. Social media doesn't really give the opportunity for that. So I just feel like it's a means for brand awareness and staying connected with borrowers at this point, do you, um? I assume then that you coach uh loan originators to use it more in a personal way, don't get anywhere near compliance issues, use it as a relationship tool. UM do you do you? I mean, this is something I've observed myself, is a lot of people feel like, I mean, because of the direction you already you mentioned you know, um, particularly Instagram and TikTok kind of being at the top of the food chain at the moment um, the people feel like they need to have some kind of an influence or mindset and they're building audience. And that's either um, for me and I'm going to run at it really hard, or it's not for me and I'm just gonna withdraw completely from all of it. Um. What do you is that kind of anywhere anywhere near kind of what you're seeing? Yeah, So I feel like, Um, I would say most of our originators are not in interested in doing that,...

...but the ones that are, we do support in their marketing efforts in that way. Um, But I would say that most of our originators are actually just more involved in their specific communities. Right online, you're just kind of blasting out this information to these unknown people. You don't necessarily know who's viewing your post if they don't like it or comment, and so I feel like it's not a intentional effort to have an online presence, which is kind of counter too. I feel like what a lot of is preached in the last few years with marketing, Like you know, there's the LinkedIn influencer and there's like all of for our space, UM. In other industries there's like Instagram influencers, and it's just not something UM that we promote so heavily in that way. But we also do automate a lot of the social posts that do go out to just take that work off of the originator, so creating that compliant content that they're pushing out UM and just encouraging them if they do want to make a more active effort UM. But I do feel like maybe it's just my personal thing and this could be controversial, but I'm like really over the whole, like there needs to be like a new thought, a novel, idea, like every single day, And really what it comes down to is we're just re sharing the same things. Like I said, storytelling. You could have six people on this podcast talking about storytelling, but what does it mean to them UM in their industry too. So I feel like what we do is we just provide the materials to support the loan originators to be in their community first and foremost really well done. I feel like there's a whole another conversation we can and should have around compliance and the complexities of working in you know, multiple states at least five or six states now, and the laws around this are different everywhere, but I don't feel like we have time for that right now. UM. But as a listener, if you've enjoyed this time with Anna as I have, I've got two more episodes I know you'll enjoy. One of them is slightly related to something you've already mentioned. Anna. That one is episode one twenty with Brittany Hodak. She was the former chief experience officer at Experience dot com and author of the forthcoming book Creating super Fans UM. So we actually talked about her super Fan framework back on episode one twenty. That's Brittany Hodak, and then more recently Episode to ten with Kate Bradley Churnis. She's the co founder and CEO at Lately AI. Uh. It's a social content and social strategy play. It's a really unique thing that they're doing, UM to help generate more social content out of things that you already have, including podcasts and video clips and PDFs and other things. So that was Episode to ten with Kate Bradley Churnis. Uh, Anna, I have really enjoyed this UM as I did our initial conversation before I let you go. I'd love for you to do a few different things, but we'll take them one at a time, starting with your opportunity to thank or mention someone who has had a positive impact on your life or your career. First and foremost, my sister UM, and she actually just this month, this last month, graduated with her PhD in neuroscience. UM. So I feel like two entirely different sisters, right, But ever since I was UM a teenager, she encouraged me to follow what I want to do and supported me in that. UM and that she's five years older than me, so she's always helped give me that direction. But then second, I want to thank UM just the management team, specifically Ron Perkins and Tim Laren for always being willing to bring on the technology that we need. UM. I know that it is a complaint with other organizations that sometimes the upper level level management isn't UM willing to do so cool kind of related to the next question or the next opportunity I'm going to present you. We could also have a conversation around how you shopped for tech and the good patent ugly there, but that's again for another conversation. The whole conversation, Yeah, um, but immediately here, Um, how about giving an out or a shout...

...out to a company or brand that you appreciate for the experience they deliver for you as a customer. Doesn't have to be a tex stact play huh um, I feel like it has to be. UM. So I live in l A. And I'm in Koreatown and there is a Korean barbecue spot, and it sounds so funny to like say that that is the spot, But truly, they kind of treat you like family. And I think that's a consistent positive for me. It's something that I seek out every time I go. You have somebody from the team coming over saying do this combination, mix this sauce with this. And the way that they I don't know, the way that they approached their business and just how they make everyone coming through feel like family. I really UM appreciate. And just one more would be my mom in the business that she's built over the last twenty years. Um with cleaning. It's a cleaning business. I feel like it's a very similar now that I think about it in hindsight to a lot of our loan originators and how they've built their book of business. Sometimes over the course of twenty plus year years and it's always crazy to me that she has some of the same clients that she had twenty years ago still in that book of business, still as clients. So those would be my too awesome. And both of those are testaments to the idea of kindness and courtesy are winning plays. Um, definitely yeah, And that Korean barbecue is funny. I'm thinking of like, Um, James Carberry who's down in Orlando mentioned Joe's pizza thing. Um. And then a guy named ned Eric I think he's in Tampa or he was at the time, mentioned like that he just moved into a new condo and this this coffee shop downstairs is like by this third visit, they knew his order and they were like best friends and yeah, so it's like that's how it feels, yeah, that local field. And then it goes back to where we were with lone originators investing in their communities and in their clients and hearing things like they make me feel like family, um, which is it's just super super powerful. I've enjoyed this so much. For anyone else who did, where can someone find out more about you and more about Alameda? So first of all, please connect with me. Send me a message on LinkedIn um Anna Marie Prior or LinkedIn dot com slash Anna M. Prior. You can also find more about my background there or on our website Alameda Mortgage dot com under the leadership tab Awesome. I will link those up at bomb bomb dot com slash podcast, as I always do. I'll drop in some video highlights for anyone who wants to meet Anna before they meet her on LinkedIn. Anna, thank you so much, really enjoyed this and really appreciate all the time you shared here right. Thank you so much, Ethan, thank you for having me. As we've learned time and again here on the podcast, the essence of customer experience and of employee experience is how we make people feel. But so much of the experience relies on digital communication. On faceless typed out text. To connect and communicate more effectively with the people who matter most to your success, add some video emails and video messages to mix save time. Add Claire convey sincerity, be seen, heard and understood, and make other people feel seen, heard and understood. Try saying thank you, good job or congratulations with a video. Try answering a question with a video. Try introducing yourself with a video. Try it free at bomb bomb dot com. Thanks for listening to the Customer Experience Podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit bomb bomb dot com slash podcast.

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