One of the most difficult financial decisions that many people face in their lives is taking out a mortgage. In order to support customers in this decision, mortgage lenders often provide extensive information. The PhD thesis of Marloes Herijgers focuses on 'the design of communication about mortgages' in four different studies.
Data from Dutch mortgage lender
She paid particular attention to information provided to people who take out a mortgage for the first time. The data she uses in her dissertation come from one of the largest mortgage lenders in the Netherlands. In her dissertation on mortgage communication, Herijers adopts a communication design perspective on mortgage communication.
In her first study, she investigated the multichannel communication package designed to inform first-time home buyers on their mortgage purchase. She showed that the bank is very concerned with providing information on their mortgage products. However, the customer’s wishes and requirements are underrepresented; the advisors’ communication is product-oriented rather than customer-oriented. Subsequently, study 2, 3 and 4 zoomed in on communication design in mortgage consultations, since consultations are still the main information source for prospective customers.
The four studies presented in the dissertation of Herijgers aim to contribute to an increased understanding of the complex nature of mortgage consultations. She analysed advisors’ routine manners as expert interaction design practices to show how mortgage experts are ‘juggling’ contextual, interactional or technological constraints. This is important, as the totality of constraints threaten the effectiveness of the mortgage consultation. For instance, customers who are cognitively overloaded are likely to forget important information, customers who don’t understand the advisor’s ‘moves’ during the consultation may feel as if the advisor is not concerned with their reason for visit and finally, customers who are not satisfied with advisors because they are too computer-oriented as opposed to customer-centered, may never come back for an advice consultation.