A few days ago, the thing that all founders dread happened. After all the positive reviews - we got our first negative one.
Bad reviews hit hard, especially when you are a small company like Fronted. A bad review can knock you off your stride - it impacts customer trust in what you do. What makes it worse is that a few days later… we got another.
Both of these reviews are a stark reminder that we aren’t just a lending business, to our customers the Fronted Deposit is a lifeline: a chance of getting a new home. And there are a few things we took for granted:
- We can’t give false hope to people who turn to us.
The emotions involved in finding and moving into a home are high. Most renters get turned away from a few properties before they get an offer accepted.
At the start of a Fronted Deposit application, we offer customers a deposit quote to help them shop around for a property–but not a full approval. However, when it’s time to turn the quote into an offer, we need to underwrite the customer. This is where we check an application, and as a financial product sometimes we can’t meet that customer’s needs. The impact: people could miss out on the house.
- Timing and speed are very important in our line of work.
When you apply for a loan, it helps if the money can land in your account within the hour but it isn’t (usually) a deal-breaker. With rent deposits, it’s the opposite. When someone makes an offer, they need the money sent as soon as possible to guarantee the property is theirs. With the current volume over the four day weekend and the infancy of our automation, we weren’t able to move fast enough.
- What we say, really matters.
This is a big one. We tell people on our site a few very crucial things, one of which is “decisions in 24 hours”. When a customer submits their application, there are times where we need more information. It might be that we need an older address or that someone hasn’t linked their main open banking account, and we can’t finalise our decision until we confirm this.
The way I see it we could have just accepted the negative reviews, hidden them away, made some changes to the product and got on with it. But, I don’t want to shy away from the bad reviews. And I want to make it clear that we understand the important role we play in our customers’ lives. So what have we done about it?
- We changed the language in our product to make it much clearer to customers what state they are in during the application process - whether they are ‘awaiting approval’, ‘approved’ or ‘declined’.
- We’re working on improving our automation, which helps us deal with more and more applications faster and we are hiring more people to keep up.
- We’ve made it clearer that 24-hour decisions aren’t possible just yet over public holidays and weekends, and we’ll send out messages to customers who’ll be affected just in case they miss it.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully this is the end of our 1-star reviews.