“We have been gathering feedback from existing customers for a long time and have put it on our website,” says Kenneth Leenders, chief executive and partner. “From the beginning, we noticed that thankfully a lot of testimonials were really positive: we had nearly 1,000 reviews on our website before we had the idea to do this on Google because it’s more transparent and gives an even better picture of who we are and what people think of us.”
The most satisfied clients, the testimonials attest, really value the Expat Mortgages team’s “personal” approach, positive energy (even online!), smooth operation and its success in taking away some of the stress of raising a mortgage to buy a house in a foreign country.
On Google, some people describe their personal advisor as a “superstar”, the process as “very transparent”, the team as “professional” and supportive, and praise the fact that all communication is in English. Others are also happy with the after-care service to answer questions and express their relief in finding a company to help them through a complex process and unusual mortgage situations.
“Of course, we also get less positive reviews, although we are still really proud to have a five star rating,” adds Leenders. “We try to react to negative reviews right away, reach out to the customers, sometimes even sit down and really listen to the feedback quite carefully and try to solve it – which I think we have done a lot of times.”
In the pandemic year, for instance, it has been a challenge to manage staffing correctly because although the predictions were that the housing market would suffer, in fact it has continued to boom. Expat Mortgages had postponed plans to hire people due to the uncertainty, keeping everyone on the team in a job, and then found it was in fact hugely busy.
Growth requires patience, care and team work.
In response, now the team has been expanded by 12 people to a total of 61. “The expectations are pretty high, so we have decided to speed up the hiring process to meet them,” says Leenders. “We have a lot of positive testimonials but we’ve learned a lot from the negative ones too.”
Matching clients with the right advisor, finding out their expectations and knowledge of the Dutch housing market, and helping them manage the inevitable stress of buying are other lessons Expat Mortgages has taken to heart. “Sometimes you don’t agree with reviews but they are independent, they are people’s experience, and they are very valuable,” says Leenders. “You do your best and every kind of feedback is helpful to change or improve your way of advising or working with clients, or the process. We really appreciate the independent feedback from Google.”