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Best Practices

Best Practices, Not Magic is Key to Customer Satisfaction

October 24, 2013

By Michelle Korsmo

A recent study from Harvard Business Review drew some interesting conclusions about customers frustrated with customer service. It found that 96 percent of “fed-up” customers simply find another option.

Regardless of the industry, if you have customers, you’re in the customer-service business. All companies have products, but it’s the customer service that defines which ones are great and will retain customer loyalty. Not only is existing competition fierce, there are new players in the game. Think about the grocery-store market. Everyone sells groceries these days—even places such as Lowes and Home Depot. A can of corn is—well—a can of corn. Most of the time, it’s not the price that determines the sale, but the experience. Think of the settlement services products you provide. What really sets you apart?

Jeff Noel of the Disney Institute shared some strategies that aid Disney’s success during the closing general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention. One of their messages is that Disney’s world-class reputation for service is not based on “magic.” Rather the company follows time-tested best methodologies and sound business principles. Disney believes that its people—and the culture they create—provide the only true competitive advantage in the modern economy. Implementing best practices and properly training employees helps ensure your organization’s vision, mission and values are followed, and ultimately helps exceed the expectations of your customers.

Implementing ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and training your employees on proper policies and procedures provides a great springboard for achieving ultimate customer service and being more than a company that provides a commodity.

Marketplace changes provide an opportunity to improve. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) release of the final rule and integrated mortgage disclosures will provide such an opportunity. We expect this to be released toward the end of October. Once the final rule is released, ALTA will hold webinars and provide information about the regulations and forms so you’ll be in the driver’s seat to educate your employees and customers.

By going the extra mile to exceed your customers’ expectations, not only will you retain business, you’ll garner more business as well. It’s not magic, but your clients might think it is.

Michelle Korsmo is the chief executive officer of the American Land Title Association. She can be reached at

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American Land Title Association
1800 M Street, NW, Suite 300S
Washington, D.C. 20036-5828
P. 202.296.3671 F. 202.223.5843
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