Big Companies Use A.I. to Push Customer Abuse to Its Limit; Lessons?

    “Everyone Hates Customer Service” was the title of a recent and fascinating WSJ article about large companies using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to abuse customers right up to the point where they’re ready to leave for a competitor.

    It is only at that point that the companies will bend to a customer’s wishes in order to retain them. Companies do this in order to save money by providing the absolute bare minimum of customer service or client-support.

    Companies use data analytics for example to know exactly how long a customer will sit on hold before hanging up. Even more insidious though is the use of A.I. to monitor the tone and emotions of a conversation in order to detect when a customer is at the breaking point.

    The WSJ’s example is a woman who had to make six calls and spend over four hours to get AT&T to change her cell phone plan. After all that, it was ONLY when the woman asked to have her phone number transferred to a competitor (Verizon) that AT&T caved.

    Here are some of the things that fascinated me from the article.

    1. Contrast with the mortgage industry. While the companies servicing loans after they close are notoriously poor with customer service, those of us on the front end have to do everything we can to nurture every referral as much as humanly possible. We do this for several reasons:
      • Our agent partners expect us to nurture and convert every referral b/c those referrals are their lifeblood too.
      • Every referral is potentially worth thousands and we do not have the data to know which ones will convert.
      • Social Media. We of course want to treat every referral with kid gloves in any case, but the threat of bad social media reviews forces every mortgage company and loan officer to be particularly attentive. It amazes me that so many large firms simply ignore this threat.
    2. The need for “Controllers.” I found this quote so interesting that I shared it with my office and instilled it into our training: “… in an analysis of how well customer-service agents perform, a personality type known as a “controller,” someone who is “outspoken and opinionated,” did far better, Mr. Dixon said. Yet only 2% of managers interviewed in the study said they would consider hiring such a person.” This is a great reminder for all of us in sales or hiring for sales of any type. We need “controllers.”

    Will JVM ever use A.I. like this? Heck yeah! BUT not to abuse customers 😊

    What we will likely do is record conversations with new referrals, with the referral’s permission of course, and track those referrals to see how well they convert to closed loans.  And then use A.I. to analyze conversations to look for ways to improve; to see what we did right and wrong.


    We have one of the highest referral-conversion rates in the mortgage industry b/c of the training and technology we already employ. Our technology of course includes our 14-touch automated sequences and follow ups and all kinds of other nurturing techniques, including providing an immense amount of valuable info that clients both appreciate and use. Adding in an A.I. component to improve our customers’ interaction will only make us and our conversion rates that much better.

    Jay Voorhees
    Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
    (855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 310167

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