Reverse mortgage lender leader Finance of America Reverse recently partnered with ConsumerAffairs to unlock greater insight on customer experience. Below, AVP of Digital Marketing Steven Cooley shares more about the company’s decision and what they’ve learned about customer engagement and reputation management along the way.

The floor is now open for any questions, concerns, or thoughts about what you have heard. Your input is important. All questions valid. Feel free to say anything. Don’t hold back. But why extend this invitation? Why open up your business to a stampede of potentially damaging, misinformed, and un-editable questions, concerns, and opinions? Especially — and I mean especially — if you work within a business sector historically susceptible to public skepticism. Surely, it would be wise to avoid any platform that allows the public to openly ask questions, critique your business, and describe their experience.

Finance of America Reverse took that bold move with ConsumerAffairs in 2016. We quickly learned the benefits outweighed the challenges, and the challenges were simply opportunities to be better. Better professionals. Better customer service providers, and better stewards to our consumers. Our relationship with ConsumerAffairs taught us three essential things:

1. We found out the truth.

The reverse mortgage is for seniors 62 and older, and they had no problem filling out reviews and describing exactly what they experienced. The reviews came pouring in and revealed everything. We had to face every review and ask ourselves, “What are we doing well? What could we do better?”

We continue to gain an understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and what needs improved to help consumers through the reverse mortgage process. Ultimately, we confirmed we have amazing customers and a staff of professionals that genuinely care about their well-being. Every glance at our ConsumerAffairs company profile reminds us that we are aligned with our mission.

2. Consumers need to know the truth.

There are countless statistics backing up the fact that consumers use online reviews to make purchasing decisions. They are more likely to trust a company and buy products or services if customer reviews back up the message sent by marketing. For Finance of America Reverse, that is exactly what happened.

Consumers spend an average of 10 minutes reading our online reviews on ConsumerAffairs. A reverse mortgage is a serious decision for seniors, and they deserve a transparent look at our process, the challenges, and how we treat our customers.

3. Customer engagement is a must.

For many mortgage brokers, after the deal is done it often seems easy to move on to the next one. This isn’t the case at Finance of America Reverse. When customer stories are shared at ConsumerAffairs, we are given another opportunity to engage and build even more trust. Most times, we have an opportunity to extend our gratitude and show appreciation for their business.

For the customers who feel they did not have the best experience, we get the opportunity to make it right, whether we answer questions, provide understanding, or fix any mistakes missed during the lending process. The time a customer spends writing a negative review online reflects a need to have their voice heard. More importantly, it reflects the potential word-of-mouth conversations about that negative experience we may not be able to see otherwise. Negative reviews are a second chance. This engagement is a critical part of customer experience that set you apart from the pack.

Visit Finance of America Reverse’s website to learn more about reverse mortgages, and stop by their ConsumerAffairs page to hear stories shared by their customers.