Thursday, September 13, 2007

LendingTree Re-Invents Itself. Sort of.

My former boss once told me that - when confronted with the need for drastic, fundamental change in his business - he'd ask himself "what would my successor do?"

Doug Lebda's latest successors, CD Davies and Bob Harris, are making some changes. But no worries for Doug, its not too drastic. It doesn't throw out the lead-aggregation, lenders compete, you win model which Doug helped to invent, which I've argued has had its day.

Bill Rice was there, this week, at LendingTree's 2007 Partner Summit. He shares with us LendingTree's new emphasis their commitment to three fundamental initiatives: 1. Positive customer experience, 2. Higher quality inquiries, 3. Repeat customers and promoters. What struck me about his summary was that there was no indication of what specifically was going to change with their business model to cause these things to happen.

LeadCritic, posted earlier this month that LendingTree is rumored to substantially raise their prices. Even more interesting than the actual post is the discussion in the comments that ensues.

Other than mission statement goals, what is LendingTree really changing about the customer's experience shopping for a mortgage online?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Paul, I am just giving my opinion of the unstated change I interpreted: price out the lenders in the network that can not fulfill the consumer experience LendingTree consumers come for. That means getting rid of lenders that can not close for a variety of reasons. Like, ineffective lead management (my favorite problem to solve), lack of understand of the Internet consumer and how to communicate, lack of motivation to diligently follow-up, lack of products and services that are appealing to the consumer, and the snake-oil salesmen. The second and related change was obviously to winnow out the expectation shattering and sometimes deceptive teaser offers.

All in all, it is not quite buying a book on Amazon consumer experience, but it is a step in the right direction--and certainly gutsy in a market of declining mortgage providers.