Rocket Mortgage is one of the largest lenders in the United States, and the largest online lender. The company offers a wide choice of both purchase and refinance options. It has made enormous strides in recent years with its multicultural marketing and servicing.
LanguageLine® sat with Rocket Mortgage’s Senior Multicultural Campaign Manager Wilson Santiago-Soler to discuss how the company has leveraged language translation and interpretation to increase customer satisfaction and expand market share.
You can watch the video here.
Tell us how you landed at Rocket Mortgage and how has your role developed over time.
The company originally made me an offer to move from Puerto Rico to Detroit as a mortgage banker working with Spanish-speaking clients. I saw a lot of opportunity to grow in the Hispanic and Spanish-speaking market, so I made a presentation to senior leadership. Four years ago, I transferred to marketing and created the first multicultural marketing team for the company.
For most of us, buying a home is the single biggest purchase we’ll ever make. How does Rocket Mortgage differentiate itself and what role does language access play?
We live in a diverse world here in the United States and it’s becoming more diverse every day. The availability of diverse languages so you can communicate over the phone with clients as well as in writing is invaluable. We want them to be comfortable that they know what they are signing when they are making the biggest investment of their lives.
That’s why we’ve maintained our relationship with LanguageLine for so long. What matters to us is service. Language translation and interpretation is extremely important today and in the future it’s going to be even more important.
In a perfect world, what does language translation and interpretation look like in the mortgage industry from your vantage point? And can you tell us what Rocket Mortgage is doing to get there?
For me, a perfect world looks like this: A client comes in speaking Mandarin or Spanish or any non-English language. They enter the sales funnel by working with someone who has interpreted for them, and they’ve looked at written materials that are in their native language. Once they get documentation for the loan they are acquiring, to me the perfect world is they can click a button and read that documentation in the language they prefer. We are working on getting to that point in the near future.
LanguageLine’s relationship with Rocket Mortgage goes back a very long time – even to when you were Quicken Loans. We’ve provided interpretation for your call centers as well as translation of processing documents. Over the past few years, language support at Rocket Mortgage has become much more comprehensive, from having your website in multiple languages to multilingual marketing campaigns, and on and on. Can you take us through the decision-making process that led to this expanded language support and can you tell us where it’s going from here?
It wasn’t a complicated process. We knew that we had the right partner in LanguageLine. We needed to have the right team to make sure that we had the right content to be translated. It’s not just translation. It’s “trans-creation” of any material we create for our clients.
“Doing the right thing” is one of our “-isms.” Helping people in their language is doing the right thing. Plus, it was an easy sell because the business case was there.
Right now, we’re looking at how we can expand our internal communications, as well as our email campaigns and text messages. Leadership here understands the value of the opportunity. It was easy for me to sell them on the opportunity and the service that went along with it.
Language support is often perceived as being expensive, less than necessary, or complex to manage. How does that square with your experience?
To me, it’s more expensive to lose a client because of a language barrier or misunderstanding. It’s far less expensive to have a partner like LanguageLine to help the client understand what he is signing and the product he is buying. I can’t put a dollar value on a service like this because it’s doing the right thing, and that’s what we do.
For those in finance or commercial lending who have yet to adopt a full-throated, comprehensive, multi-language strategy, what are they missing?
They’re missing a huge opportunity. Just focus on Spanish alone. Hispanics will represent 70 percent of the new home buying increment in the United States. We know that Hispanics are bilingual and bicultural. We also know that Spanish is often the language that is spoken inside the house. Thirty percent of Hispanics say that when inside the house, the language spoken is Spanish. They could buy in English, but they don’t prefer to. If there’s one word they don’t understand, they’ll instantly wish it was in their native language.
I want to give the best service possible. If there is anyone in the industry that is not moving forward with a language strategy, they’re going to miss out on a lot of market share. They might continue to do business, but they’re not going to grow.
What is your advice for any company – not necessarily a lender – that is planning on conducting multicultural campaigns?
Do your research. Understand your business. Saying “I’m just going to do a voiceover in Spanish and translate the script” is not enough. Everything about your approach has to be culturally relevant. A sentence in English is not the same sentence in Spanish. Doing a simple translation can end up appearing very disrespectful. You’re not going to lose just one client. They’re going to tell someone and someone else and a family member and a friend. That’s where brands go bad.
Wilson, you mentioned the value of building a great team. What has been your experience working with LanguageLine as your language-access partner?
I’ve been working with LanguageLine for a long time now. Over the past four years since I moved to marketing, that use has expanded in a huge way. It’s been great. I send an email and within 30 minutes I get a response. The whole team always finds ways to help us, even late at night or weekends. I’ve seen them work over the weekend to make sure we have things Monday morning. It’s been a great experience because of their experience with translation and trans-creation. It’s a great team using great technology. We look forward to working with LanguageLine for many years to come.