The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 5 months ago

193. The Culture of Innovation vs The Work of Innovation w/ Lee Jelenic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How do you operationalize innovation? One way is to build innovation into the company culture by incentivizing ideas.  

In this episode, I interview Lee Jelenic , Chief Innovation Officer at United Wholesale Mortgage , about living out the six pillars of his company by committing to continual improvement and preserving the human touch. 

Lee and I talked about:

- How positive client experience helps to cut through the noise

- Why “client” signifies a longer-term relationship than “customer”

- What guiding philosophy led to growth from 2K to 8K team members

- How the value of innovation is expressed throughout the company

- Where humans and tech should intersect 

Check out these resources we mentioned:

- Lee Jelenic on LinkedIn 

- UWM.com 

- FindAMortgageBroker.com 

- Mat Ishbia on LinkedIn 

- Mark Fields on LinkedIn 

- Jim Farley on LinkedIn 

- Delta Airlines 

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

It is all about finding that right connection point, what matters, when do they need you, and then making sure that human is there when that's needed. 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. Operationalizing Innovation, valuing relationships over transactions, preserving the human touch as experience has become increasingly faceless and automated. These are a few themes will be talking through with today's guest. He's spent a decade at Ford Motor Company, where he led marketing for the Lincoln brand, served as VP of marketing for Ford Motor Credit Company and served as CEO of Ford Commercial Solutions. Prior to that, he spent four years at JP Morgan and he also played professional hockey for a couple of years. Today he serves as chief innovation officer at United Wholesale Mortgage, the number one wholesale lender in the United States for several years running. And the second largest mortgage provider overall. In that role, he leads client experience, digital innovation, government affairs and investor relations. Lee Jelinic, welcome to the customer experience podcast even thank you very much, very happy to be here and and you know I love this topic and it's so important to discuss and and to come up with new ideas, because you're right, in the in the landscape were in, it just seems like there's always new technology and as we embrace technology, we always have to realize as businesses that face clients or customers, we always have to focus on what's that ultimate experience and what if the technology do for that? So you already got me excited right out of the gate. Awesome. Happy to hear it and we, you know, our companies, have a lot of similar values and vision around this stuff, so I'm excited about it too. So where we always start on the show, Lee, is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? Well, to me it's everything. It's the only thing that matters in a any sort of transaction with a consumer or with an end customer or client. It's what matters, it's what is remembered. And in a world full of noise, the one thing that is irrefutable is how that customer, or in our case, client felt when they were going through that that transaction and experience. Right, how do you feel when you get your coffee from starbucks? How do you feel when you when you're deplaning after a cross country flight, about the the flight experience? To me, it's the only thing that matters. I love it too. Keywords that you offered there. One is noise. That's really interesting into is, of course, the feeling. That feeling drives our thoughts and our thoughts drive our behaviors, whether that's repurchasing or writing a negative review or any of variety behaviors we might take. Talk about noise like when you when you think about noise in the environment. What do you mean by that? While you kind of touched on a little bit there, you know, feelings drive the way we think and then the thinking drives the behavior, and I there is a lot of noise out there now that is trying to change or impact how we think and the noise can sometimes, on a short term basis, impact or change how we think, but it can't change how we feel because you derive that feeling from the experience, from the senses around you. Right it's sites, sound, smells, emotions and so noises. It can be social media, can be social media advertising and marketing, it can be all of the content that is thrown at us and it can be why sometimes people want to retreat into a bubble. And so to me, the noises that and it's also just the nature of our lives right now. We are always connected. It can be the twenty four our news cycle. It can be the incessant demand of the phone and the text to answer. It's all of that in one. And so we're so busy, we're so connected. And again, through all of that, the one thing that is irrefutable and unpenetratable is how we feel when we're interacting with a brand or a company or just a person...

...in our lives. That feeling cuts through all that noise really good, really nicely stated. I mean, I think can talk about it a lot. One of the terms that we're using a lot here at bombomb is digital pollution to kind of capture the most negative experiences that we have amid all the noise. But this idea that people are trying to bypass the feeling but still somehow influence us in a significant way. Is At some level of fools errand, but is you observe, sometimes it works on a short term basis. You use the language client experience, and I think you think this. So if you do, I'm with you on it, that the language that we use really does matter, whether it's how we talk about our customers or a team members or what we call a cross functional team or project. I think names matter. Talk a little bit about customer experience versus client experience, like how do you think about those terms, and what does it mean for you to call it client experience at Uwm even great question. I do want to say I love Your Company, Love Your love your platforms and products. I mean we use them and it's it is a way to cut through that digital pollution. So you mentioned a couple times. I did want to throw that out there, big fan, because it is a way to connect, you know, making a bombomb video. So what you just said, they're resonated with me and I can actually draw a thread through where I am now at Uwms as the chief innovation officer and where I've been in some of my past professional lives. So I'll step back. First, I'll go back to the days on Lincoln at Ford Motor Company, when we were when we were turning the brand around or when we made the decision to keep the brand. I mean that was a time when, for it we'd come out of the financial crisis of o nine and Ford had been a house of brands and shed all of them, close some down like mercury, and sold off the others, the Volvos, the Jaguars, the Land Rovers, the ascent Martins. In the decision was made to keep Lincoln, but that wasn't just a decision that was isolated. It was keep it and then invest in it and grow it into a jet, an iconic luxury brand. It had been around for a long time and had certain heritage and brand equity. But how do we make it, you know, how do we get the time for Motor Company Make Lincoln brand on par with Mercedes and BMW and Outi and Lexus? And one of the very conscious decisions we made on the Lincoln brand of that time was to stop referring to those owners and people driving Lincoln's as customers and start referring to them as clients. And it was an active decision that was meant to drive the experience all the way through, whether you're shopping for a Lincoln in a dealership or whether you are owning a Lincoln. We made this mindset as a brand to refer to the Lincoln owner as a client and it just raised the level of effort and importance of that experience that they had. You a client as a longer term relationship. And some of it is semantic, some of it is maybe a little bit of a Jedi mind trick, but I you said it before, words matter and that was a decision we made in a discipline we held to, and that was this. That was a signal for all the other disciplines that we had when it came to building out the dealerships to feel like a luxury experience and every little thing mattered, right the sense the smells. We got away from a potted plant row separating a four dealership from a Lincoln dealership. And so one of the things that resonated so much with me when I started at U Wm about three years ago was that the same thing. It's words matter and we also refer to our customers as clients. We are a large, large mortgage lender, but we are a hundred percent dedicated to the wholesale channel, which means that our clients are independent mortgage brokers. Their clients are the end borrower, and it is, it is very important to us. We refer to them as clients and we will do anything for them to make them look good for their clients at the end borrower. And it doesn't, it doesn't stop there with us. I mean we don't we don't call people that work at UBM employees. We call them team members because we're part of a team we choose. It's in our ethos not to refer to those that lead teams as managers, but they are team leads,...

...you know, or they are captains. It's a bit of a sports reference there. But all of these things matter and when you commit to them and you believe in them, it all lines up and it does create a different experience, and that's one of the things that struck me when I was walking through these doors three years ago to see yet to see what was uwm all abrout. You can feel the difference in the culture. And again, it's a team member, not an employee. You know, we are a family and it's in. All those things add up, and so I think if you're a business that is looking at your customer base and saying, how can we deliver the best experience possible, thinking through is it. Are they a customer or are they a long term client? And what's the difference? And maybe it's not as simple as customer or client, maybe it's some other word. But yeah, words matter. I'm with you on that big time. Yeah, and the agreement in both, of course, is the experience to the ways. You talked about the importance of the emotional residence in the feelings that we create. So good. Gosh, I guess you kind of already described I always like to tea up, like you know who is Uwm and you know what problems you solve for people. I think you already described that a little bit. So I guess what I'll do with that is is to say I believe the company is approximately tripled in size in terms of team members since you join the company, from Ksh to about Ksh. What have you seen in that time to make sure that you preserve what I think is probably key cultural components? That of a, allowed the growth be allowed so many independent mortgage brokers to trust you and continue to do business with you and to grow. I mean, obviously you don't hire people unless you need them, you know, to support all these folks in a variety different ways. What are a couple things that the company is doing at a high level? Perhaps then we'll get more into your role and your multiple teams and some of the stakeholders that you and your team member serve. But at a high level, what do you think is going right or what are some key factors at U Wm that allows you to preserve the most important elements of the culture that drive these outcomes even in like a x growth period like that? So great question. There's a lot there. There's a lot of material. I can probably talk for two hours on that question. I won't, but I'll take I'll take like a few minutes exactly. So I will. I will give a little bit more of a recap on exactly what we are, because I probably did it partial justice, and then I'll answer your question. So we are the second largest overall morrigage lender in the US, but we are the largest whole cell lender. We are mortgage lender and and we view ourselves as as an entity that ultimately makes dreams come true for the American homeowners and are. Our stated goal is to provide mortgages in the fastest, easiest and most affordable way, and so our business model as a wholesale lender coupled with our independent mortgage brokers, who are the ones that are out there doing the original, the origination. I mean they do the origination. They're the ones that had that know their markets, in their communities, they have the relationships with the realtors and the nature of walking into a mortgage broker when, if you're a consumer that needs a mortgage, while that mortgage broker is going to find the best fit loan for you. Among seventy five wholesale lenders out there, we happen to be the biggest and the best, and it's really rooted in our experience. And so you know, we're chosen thirt you know, thirty one percent of the time or more in that world. Now what is held us together as we've grown? So you were right. When I joined we were actually closer to two thousand team members and now we're around eight thousand. So it's it is for x growth, and not only did is it for x growth and team members we've expanded our campus. You know, we were when I started, we were in one building and now we're in three, although we're connected. We've gone public. So it is there's a number of things in there, not just a growth that I know. I know you guys bomb have experienced significant growth as well, and I think on one hand it's holding true to your to our beliefs. We're a company that has six pillars and we live those pillars every day. They're not just words on the wall. You know, our people are our greatest asset. Is Our first pill and our second pillar is service. Is Everyone's responsibility. I won't read...

...them all, but you get a sense that we believe in those. We live by those. Matt our CEO, he walks the walk every single day. He's so visible. He's out on the floor. In fact, every Thursday he has no meeting Thursday where he walks through the whole company and talks to he's got his root. He goes and figures out and finds out what's working and what's not, and he's that's how he stayed connected as our business has grown. And so then, you know, I report to him. He's an amazing leader. We all emulate that right, and so it's living, it's living those pillars. And I'll give you one example, a tangible one. When we realize that we were outgrowing our building that we're in. You know, we're in a six hundred thousand square foot building. When we realize we were out growing it and we purchased the building across the street, one of the first big hurdles that we had to get overalls. Will wait a minute. We're all about being together and being connected every day and I can remember it like it was yesterday. We're in this meeting and Matt just said, well, once his build a bridge and it's like, but that was that important that we built the longest land bridge, pedestrian land bridge, in North America to connect our campus and it's amazing. When you come out here, you got to walk across that. I get a little bit of adrenaline every time. But it is walking the walk. So, whether it's a no meeting Thursday or whether it's building a bridge to connect your campus, that's how you stay. That's how you keep that family feel when you grow for acts or when Your Business, I mean our business in that period has grown more than four xts as far as what we what we originate to. So that's how you do it, so good. I'm going to go on a limb here and assume that you were not replacing some outgoing chief innovation officer. So when you came in and charged at titled As and charged with the responsibilities of a chief innovation officer, kind of what was going on in the organization? Was it that you wanted to be there, they really wanted you. Let's figure out the best role, or was it, Gosh, we need to be more innovative and more facets of what we're doing. Let's find the right person for that. Like, what was the state of innovation or the goal of embodying this responsibility in one person and then, you know, building out teams or organizing teams in support of that mission? Great Question. So I'll say this. I mean the spirit of innovation was very healthy when I came and we are a company that builds all of our own technology and house. Our internal it team is almost like a company in and of itself, with over a thousand team members, and so the drive to continue to make our products and our process is faster, easier and more affordable for our clients and make us the obvious choice for the independent mortgage brokers in America. That was alive and while and healthy. The conversation was more and I should say this. I'll caveat this, I loved my ten years at Ford Motor Company and couldn't have appreciated the time and the people and the opportunities I got more there than I do. I really, really had a great experience there and I still I still root for Ford and I'm very connected to a lot of the people at Ford Motor Company. Yeah, when mad and I talked, his mindset was a look, we're going to blow this company up, we are going to experience a ton of growth over the next twelve to twenty four months and I know that we have some blind spots. I'm not sure what they are. I know there's some things were not doing that we should be doing. I know there's some things that we're doing maybe we should stop, and I know there's some things that we're doing, but we need to do better and invest more in and I think he just appreciated my background and I had spent time at JP Morgan and capital markets and I had spent time, as you describe, kind of across the number of disciplines at Ford and he kind of Said, I'm going to look to you to figure out where the holes, where the gaps? Let's close them. Where can we dig the Moat Wider? And he sort of just set me loose and free, and I think the key to succeeding then and doing something like that is something I learned by watching Alan mollally navigate for Motor Company, which he took very much the mindset of seek to understand before seeking to be understood. And so I had to do that initially and then it then it started to become obvious things that we there were teams that didn't exist. It need to do exist.

There were products and processes that we did well that we needed to double down on and maybe others that we needed to stop, and so it became I had to get very close to a lot of my peers and really understand things and then, and then it was just off to the races. Awesome. What is I mean, at the sake of asking you to define another term or to give it context, kind of what is innovation like? I have my own understanding of it. I'm sure people listening have their own understanding of it. But for you, like what does it mean to innovate? And then we'll kind of go a little bit from there. I've got a couple other things related to but I want to be I'm going to be clear on you know, for you whether it's relative to the title or relative just to the idea. where the spirit of it like what is innovation? Is it just like constant, ongoing improvement? Like give it a little bit of definition, for sure. So our I said, we have six pillars. Our fifth one is continuous improvement is essential to long term success. So that's the plainest way to say it. I've always been someone who strives to be better and you always obsessing about what's the peak performance state for me, for my teams, for my company, for my family, and then if I understand and identify what that is, and then I can help this stay in that state. That comes from my time as an athlete. So to me it's this constant quest to always be your best and to never rest on your laurels, because there is always I mean we're all fueled by something. I'm fueled by competition and I think our company is filled by competition, and so there's always someone out there that does something better than you and you have to stay hungry and try to continually improve and then be humble along the way, right, knowing that that you've the many, you think you have no blind spots. That's when you're about to get steam rolled. Yeah, absolutely true. What a humbling experience that is and it I guess, it's some level off and fuels fires for people when that happens, because you're all of a sudden aware of like the unknown. Unknowns shouldn't Oh, let's see that coming. I loved that they had the foresight to bring you in in light of that context. How much for you and what you and your teams are doing, how much of innovation, as you just described, at this constant quest to be better and to improve processes that exist, to maybe create processes where they didn't before, to shut things down maybe that aren't as effective as they should be in there, maybe their purposes changed? How much of this work is cultural, if you can even describe this? How much of the work is cultural versus? How much of it is, you know, projects and initiatives and you know research dives and process and for like. It feels like it's probably a balance of both, but for you? Is it a sixty forty? Is it a is it a se five hundred and twenty five? Like how do you think about like that? Because if part of what you're describing is a spirit but a lot of it is activity, and I think I feel like I've talked to people that are maybe too far on one side or the other. You know, it's too too spiritual, without a not without enough activity or too much activity. But it's regarded as assignments and people just don't take that service responsibility that you described in one of the pillars you than your spot on. So by my instinct when you when you answered it, and I think about UWM, is seive hundred and twenty five, because seventy five cultural, twenty five tasks and projects and work. Because if you are trying to do this without that culture, it is limited, it is it will have a ceiling, it is capped. The fact that we have this embedded in our culture, and I'll give you some examples of it, and not just the pillar, but it ensures that it's happening at all times, everywhere and it's not directed or top down. It's more ground up, in organic and I'll give you an example of one of one of the elements of our innovation that that my team has. It's been around along, it's a long time of this company. I certainly didn't found it or come up with this idea, but we have this brilliant idea platform and any team member at any time and we get we get about a hundred of these ideas that are submitted, you know, in any given week, any time there's an idea to improve our business model, the products we offer. The process is the way we take care of our team members. Any of those you can...

...submit a brilliant idea, there's a workflow process to get that idea reviewed, you know, approved or denied, and then implemented. And then once it's implemented, you get a brilliant ideal lightbulb and you know, these things are more valuable than cash inside of our building, almost like people come at them and they have them on their desk and it really is one of the foundational pieces of our culture of innovation because then any time anyone in the company can submit an idea that's going to change the game for us to our clients. We also have a similar platform like that on the outside with our clients and so you know you can't fake that stuff and you can't just sit in a in an ivory tower with with a bunch of smart people, or perceived smart people, and just come up with ideas. The other thing I would say, and you know this because your company is growing very fast, when the core business is doing well and the company is growing, you have to be extra thoughtful about diverting any resources away to from the core business. So anything that is innovation, the batting average is going to be lower than just nailing the core business. So you have to strike that right balance of allocating time and thoughts and even people and capital to how much we innovating from scratch and how much is just incremental improvements on the core business. And so again, the culture helps balance that for sure. Yeah, really good. It's important to be working both of those simultaneously because there are gains to be had from both and you can't rely on one or the other. Really good. I let's for the sake of time. I would love to go to client experience. It is one of kind of the for zones of responsibility for you in your team. It's obviously the heart of this conversation. We already talked a little bit about it and especially the term on it. I read that your team, the client experienced team, has grown from five people to approximately a hundred, so that's obviously an important commitment. You've talked a little bit about how important that human to human experience in the emotional resonance is. Talk about some of the things that you're doing practically. How do you think about your clients? I mean also within your zone of responsibility or variety of stakeholders. I said the word government. I said that were investor. You talked about how important your team members are, your first team, but your clients and their clients all need to be considered in every decision. Like who is the client, I guess, and client experience or how many clients are there? And maybe you just go into a couple initiatives that you really think have been helpful, like, for example, when I read about is no call left behind, which is something we did at bomb bomb years ago. In was classically it was a catalytic mechanism, like it changed a lot of things, not just that activity. So anyway, that was a lot all in one. Take a take a good first crack at client experience. Who are your clients and what are a few initiatives that you're really excited about? Okay, awesome. So so the clients themselves are ultimately our end clients. The the loan officers that work at the independent mortgage brokers you know cross America and we have over tenzero independent mortgage brokers that we consider our clients. And then within those mortgage brokers on average there's about for loan officers. Now some are larger and some are broker, owner, producer, your one or two two person shops, and so we treat them all equally and we do as much as we can again to make their their process to take, to take all of the any of the roadblocks, any of the speed bumps out of the way for them. So when I think of client experience here, it's amazing to have a team that is devoted to just making that experience better. And so I'll run through a couple facets of it. So, so some of it is we're responsible for all incoming calls. So we've made a conscious decision at our company and anyone that has heard maddish bea speak or any of our senior leaders speak will know that we we manage, are we run our business for the long term. And so even our contact center, every endbound call, that's a person under under our roof, in these four walls. We're not outsourcing that. That's not a contractor. And so every call, and it's twenty to thirtyzero inbound calls a day, comes through that team, which is one of my teams. So the front door the of our company is is...

...a team member at UBM that lives and and breathe these pillars and will bring that to the even just the thirty or sixty second interaction. So that's first of all, you talked about no call left behind. So those calls are coming in and they're obviously going to our sales team or underwriting team and we have a process in place. And at that all the teams have a slightly different application is depending on how they work and how their shifts are structured. But if you're on the sales team to call, if you're if you're taking your lunch break, the call is is forwarded to your cell phone. If you're out of office, the call is routed, depending on again, sales underwriting it see they can be routed to a body that it's next to you. It can be routed to a dedicated team that is there if you're out of office to support that client. So every call is answered. I could almost say every call's answered multiple times, because there's a you know, there's the the initial answer and then the getting to where it needs to go. But that's just a process we abide by and then we have ways to measure it and you can have goals, but if you can't measure and provide feedback, it's hard to help teams improve. One of the other things we do in client experience that I love is we use speech analytics on all of our calls and we look at that data and we can aggregate it right down to the individual team member or up to like a division per se, and we can determine whether teams and divisions are being efficient at running the plays that are called. Are they are they exhibiting the right tones and are they offering the right help to our clients? And we can aggregate this day or we can do it on a micro level and we're there to to literally that Helps Enforce or enhance the coaching we do. So we coach our sales team, we coach our underwriting team and there's no better feedback than immediate feedback that's rooted in either the data from your calls or the calls themselves. So that's another that's another piece of it. I talked about the twenty of Thirtyzero calls, but sometimes we talked about the age of technology and innovation and letting the text sort of get some of the mucky work out of the way and leave the important work for the humans will. We also have a platform called client requests where, if it's a little bit more of a simple request, a simple issue on a loan, a client can submit ACR and there's a dropdown of different categories and subcategories and then they can tell us what the issuer question is and then it's about rock smart routing. It'll route right to the right team member to solve that and then, on our side we measure our team members on how quickly they respond and how quickly and efficiently they respond. And then is the client happy? And if the clients not happy, it'll escalate up to the next leader in the hierarchy. And so we've built these these processes, in these technology and these tools in mind to ensure that whatever avenue the client needs or needs to get in touch with us, they can. The experience will always be pleasant and the experience will always be optimally efficient. So those are some of the examples that you know and and I'm lucky enough that I get to lead the team that has built and runs these platforms. I love it, I feel like, when you start talking about that volume of inbound calls, because we're you know, we talked to leaders in a variety of different functions, in a variety of different industries, but we talked with a lot of software companies and I I'm thinking about some of those people now, like the heads of customer service or customer successes those organizations. They're hearing that call volume and thinking about humans answering them and they're saying, we could never that's too expensive. Like what is the at the risk of asking the obvious, what is the benefit? And I know that you're I know that you're very quantitatively oriented, so maybe even take it in that direction to but why is it so important to have humans answering humans phone calls and to even have a phone number that people can call? You know, it's a such a great question. It might seem like just a simple question in the middle of this whole thing, but I think I might be your most important one. So when I think about my career, largely it's been around either selling and financing an automobile or the financing of a home, so to experiences that are very much high stakes but also not viewed as the most pleasant generally by the end consumer. Right. Nobody sits there and says I want to sit for...

...four hours in a dealership in the F and I office going through warranties and nobody's nobody dreams of the mortgage. They dream of the car or the House. So I always say like I've got the two and maybe the third one will be I'll get into like the funeral business or something, all the things people don't want to do and try to make a better experience. But the importance of a human is at the end of that call, somewhere in that process is a person going through the biggest financial transaction of their life and it's not that person calling us because as we're hose whole, so it's the lone officer calling us. But to have a human being answer the phone and connect whoever is on that call with the exact person they need to speak to to resolve that, that issue a problem or get that lone closed is so important because, again, that transaction is an important financial transaction. And even if it's not that, I can remember times in my life where the most digital of companies, the awesome companies that we think of that would be in the hall of fame of Cx, Amazons or starbucks, when you need to talk to someone in Amazon, you can get someone right away, any time of day. If something goes wrong with that starbucks APP and you need to get something, you know you ordered it to the wrong store by accident, you can get a human pretty quickly to fix that for you and it just removes anxiety. And so I'll close with NPS. I love net promoter score because it is apples to apples. It's one of the few objective measures of how happy are your clients with the experience you've given them? Are would they be willing to recommend your company or the service or product you offer to someone? And anyone that knows NPS knows they've got US say nine or ten for it to be a promoter. Right seven or eight out of ten doesn't even get you promoter and anything below seven is like a detractor. So it's a steep scale. I'm proud to say that our NPS is it's a negative to a hundred, negative one hundred to one hundred scale. Eighty seven is our NPS. That is astronomical for a company of our size and we take so much pride in delivering that experience, you know. But it boils down to we want that feedback and we get we don't share pick it. We get thousands of NPS survey as a month and at the end of the day, that's our that's our great that's the most important one that matters. Yeah, and I think what it captures at some level is that difficult to capture. Feeling that you talked about in the beginning, this idea of you know, I know that I can pick up the phone and call them if something goes sideways, and something often goes sideways, you know, in these transactions, especially the purchase side of the business, there's a lot that can go in different directions where and there are a lot of different points where things can turn, and so this this trust that you know they'll take care of me as a thing, and I that is an astronomical score. It is something you should be excited about anything else you want to share in client experience. I mean I feel like I got a sense of your guiding philosophy. You shared some innovation and client experienced examples of things you're actually doing internally. Is there anything else you maybe want to bring to mind there? Yeah, there's were probably one and I'll refer back to our one of our pillars when I talk about this, but one of our other pillars. I think it's our fourth, fourth pillars. We are thumb pointers, not finger pointers. That's pretty powerful. I believe that's rooted in Michigan State Basketball and Tom is oh and it's important because when something doesn't go wrong, it's always easy to look around and point to someone else that could have done something, but it's it's not instinctual for us to point at ourselves and Saif, hey, what could I have done differently? And one of the things I'm very proud of in our you know, in our total client experience platform, is our is our make it rights, and that's when we've made a mistake we will send a no doubt send an acknowledgement out, maybe, maybe send US small token to basically say, Hey, we mess this up, we know it, we're sorry, here's what we learned, and that acknowledgement goes such a long way. I often find that coming out of those moments, those make it rights, is...

...when we turn you know, maybe a good client to a great client. It is an old adage in marketing and sales and client experience that sometimes your greatest opportunity is when the experience is initially not gone great and you can kind of turn it around, and so that's another element. We are humble when we make a mistake, we admit it and we acknowledge it and that that's really that's worked really well for us and this is just another one of those reminders that being a good business is really at some level about being a good person and conducting business well has a lot of parallels to just living life well, and I think this, this willingness and ability to admit your errors, apologize and try to make it good, it's just such a winning play. That's so difficult for a lot of people is doing their personal lives much less professionally just to winning play. High level question for you, and this is some I've been thinking about a lot, especially through these podcast conversations, but you know, at large, and you've already talked a little bit about it, and I kind of asked this in a in a very specific way around phone calls. But you know, when I think about the businesses that you've been in, cars and loans and Fintech, when I think about some of the businesses that use bomb im a lot, real estate, mortgage, financial advisory, insurance sales, you bring together a group of people, let's just say it's an industry conference, and some of the people that that would regard themselves or that others would regard as the smartest people in the room are always looking for ways and have plans to eliminate the humans from these processes, and we've seen companies come up that do it and so are trying to do it. Rather, where are we with humans in some of these processes? Like you know, I know people that are really purest on both sides. I feel like most like in most cases where there's polarity, the answer somewhere in the middle. Like when you think about these businesses, when you think about some of the startups and some of the industries, in some of these industries that are like highly disruptive, that are, you know, a hundred percent machine driven that are very often trying to eliminate people like I know that's not a question, but in that zone, how do you think about that? We're are humans going to be five years, fifteen years from now in some of these businesses? Like what's the relationship between humans and tech and where is it going in your view? Complicated, for sure, to ardent and very easy to get wrong and to get wrong and not realize it until you've made some some catastrophic mistake. But I believe that there's like there's a couple principles in my mind floating around as you were talking about that. I mean, I think first of all, the bigger the transaction or the more that's at stake, the more important it is to have that that lifeline to human at any time, and it has to be a real lifeline. It's disingenuous if the lifeline is a poorly constructed chat bought that leaves me in a Dou loop and eventually, and it takes me forty five minutes of hard work to get to human being or a very difficult to navigate through, you know, phone prompt or I v our integrated voice response that that I have to really power through to actually get to human being, and then when I get to that human being I'm starting from scratch again. I'm giving all my information and so, you know, I think it's easy to kind of get that wrong. What I like to point to is there's evolution, for sure, and time is the most precious resource that we all have, and it doesn't matter how much money we have or how much success we have, we all have a very limited amount of time. We all only have twenty four hours in the day, and so when technology can save time for the business or specifically for the customer, the consumer, the clients, that's a win. And so I think about a couple examples. Right. So, in the auto industry it used to be that it was on average five trips to a dealership before a consumer drove off that lot with the vehicle, and now that's down to one, one and a half. That's good. You know, the customer still needs to touch and feel the car and have the and have the questions answered and do the test drives, but they can do so much more on their own time and that's a win for everyone. Reduced overhead for the dealership, you know, reduced you know, less time loss for the stomer.

It's the same in mortgage. You need you. Ultimately, there's still a process, there's still documents to upload, there's still questions that will come up and conditions that will come up as we're approving alone. You know, our take has been and the data shows it. We're doing this in more than faster, than twice as fast as the industry. So we're application to close on average eighteen nineteen days. The industry is high for S and so we pride ourselves on removing those touches and remove you know. So it's the same for our clients, the brokers. They don't want to have to talk to us and touch alone fifteen time. So we've set it up and we've got technologies like bolt and ultimate submission that reduce those touches maybe down to one or two. But when they do need to touch it, when they need us, were there and it's efficient. So I feel like you can always, if you think through it properly, you can save time, make it more efficient, but you still have to be there when they need you. Hug. Go back to the starbucks example again because it's an easy one to relate to. The APP has changed the game and it's order ahead and it's less time in the coffee house and they were built on that experience in the Coffee House. But when you walk in to get your drink, the Barista still knows your name, your name still printed on the cup. You still get that that little experience where you feel like they made it for you and then you're then you're off on your way. And so it is all about finding that right connection point. What matters. When do they need you, and then making sure the human is there when that, when the that's needed love. It really, really well said. said. I'm going to call that a great place to wind down. It really is about that handoff and when the customer wants that handoff and it's different for different people. So making one experience and forcing everyone through it isn't the answer. So couple other episodes for folks who are listening on similar themes. On episode one hundred and seventy one, that was with Michelle de Suski, the global head of be tob marketing at Uber. We called that one better. CX Is the goal, not disruption, and it really was a conversation about innovation and how. You know, Huber's typically associated with disruption. She's like trying to disrupt anything. We're trying to make things better for customers and, Oh, by the way, you know that might be disruptive to other people. Sets. Episode one hundred and seventy one. More recently, very recently, episode one hundred and ninety one with sue wordard, senior advisor at stratmore group in the former chief customer officer, a total expert. We talked about these themes of tech touch and human touch, how to balance them. In this conversation there's a lot between the EXCX connection, internal culture and how that's manifest in the client experience. St Episode One hundred and seventy one with Michelle. Episode One hundred and ninety one with Sue Lee. Before I let you go, I always because relationships are number one core value here, I always love to give you the chance to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life for your career. That's tough to just pick one person. You have two or three if you want. Well, I think I would definitely say my wife. She's you know she she's in business and has a pretty big job herself and and to have someone who kind of understands what it's like to go to work and to to have problems to solve that you really care about and that you know that the you think of your team at work like an extension of your family. So to have that and to have someone to relate to on that level is huge. So my wife Annie, for sure. And then I was very lucky, and I've been very lucky in my career to have worked for some amazing leaders. And you know, I'd start with Matt. I mean Matt Is. He truly is. I call him a Unicorn. You know, he truly is very special and and working for him is probably what it was like to work work for Steve Jobs. You know, he doesn't see obstacles, he just sees the way and he's incredibly positive and he's so positive that it becomes, you know, very, very inspiring. You feel like you can do more. So working working format and seeing how he tackles problems and he plows through any obstacle with with positivity and he is so willing to help. Goes back to being a good human being. You mentioned that before. You then being a good human and being good in business or great...

...in both are so tied together. And and he's the kind of person that he does the right thing when there's zero spotlight, when nobody's watching an he won't get credit. And it's when that's courty, your constitution. It just becomes easier to be better at everything when you're just doing it for the right reasons and to help you know. I also was mentored, very lucky for motor company be mentored by former and curren CEO's mark fields and former CEO and Jim Farley, Currencyeo, and learned a lot from from those two guys about asking tough questions and and getting to the right answer even when you don't have the knowledge to start with. Awesome, really well done and I really appreciate to mets kind of I call it managing by walking around just there's just something really valuable in intangible about being in direct contact with people in an in a kind of structured but unstructured way. The spontaneity, the Serendipity, the things that you learn, the moments that you're a part of and just that direct contact super powerful. so much good stuff there. Thank you for that quick opportunity to sit in the customer chair. Give me a nod or a shout out to a company, your brand, that you personally appreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer. That's awesome. So I'm not going to say starbucks and Amazon because I've kind of shadowed them out already and they do a great job. I will say this, and this is tough, I will say Delta Airlines has really and I we sort of cross Paul and it a little with that with them back in the day. So I know a little bit about how hard they how much thought and how hard they put into it, and I when I say we use it back when I was at Ford Credit. But they've really turned what can be very difficult experience when your flight is canceled, when things change, your ability, with their APP and their ability to connect their technology and their experience to the human even they have programs and platforms where you can recognize Delta team members. I really give a nod to Delta. I think it's a tough industry and they've done a lot to prioritize that experience and and they deserve a little shout out. So Delta Airlines, bad job, awesome. That's not the first time that I've heard Delta. That's been another fun thing too, is these episodes of accumulated the range of folks. Delta definitely gets love on this show. Thanks for that, Lee. This has been an absolute pleasure. I appreciate your time so much. Really love your experience in the way that you and your team are thinking about the work that you do and then obviously executing it at a high level, given your growth. If someone has enjoyed this, how would you encourage them to follow up and learn more about you or learn more about UWM? So I would say, first of all, if someone's looking for mortgage broker, find a mortgage brokercom is the place to go. It's the fastest, easiest, most affordable way to get up. That alone the close your loan faster. It will be a better experience and yelled certainly save on closing costs and have a lower rate. So I would say that you can always check out. We have an instagram page. You can find me on Linkedin. You know, kind of all the standard avenues and then I will say Ethan, I got it. The open invites you to come out. We're going to walk the campus, we're going to walk the bridge. I'm looking forward to that as well. My friend, awesome, me too. We're absolutely going to make it happen for folks who are listening. I link all this stuff up. We do short write ups. We have video highlights, so you can bring Lee into your life, not just into your ears, by watching some video highlights of this episode. We put all those up at Bombobcom podcast. Lee. Thank you again for your time, thanks for the invite that I kind of forced, but I think your sincere about and thank you all for listening to the customer experience podcast. Awesome. Thank you, definitely sincere. We have art in box constantly full. Home, we constantly have messages coming in. Work emails just went up to one hund and one have ninety nine plus six hundred and seventy nine on readymail. We'rere to talk about a major problem. My name is Kip Bodner and I'm the chief marketing officer at help spot. I probably get ten to fifteen phone calls a day unwanted and I probably get fifty a hundred emails a day unwanted. When I think about noise and trying to get that out of my life,...

I think about it through my most scarce resource was just my time and attention? Is it worth my attention over here, versus like me, spending a moment with my son or cooking a meal with my son? The answers almost always know. We also know that the byproduct of that noise is feeling overwhelmed, feeling like there's not enough signal, and that you feel discombobulated or confused. That's at least how I feel, so I also tried to protect myself from those feelings as well. Watch dear first name, a four part first of its kind documentary series now on Youtube, and explore how digital pollution is eroding our ability to communicate with each other and build trust. Clear Communication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. rehumanize your business how personal videos accelerate sales and and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. 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 Bombombcom podcast.

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