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 Chatbot Gives Borrowers Quick & Easy Access to Forbearance Info

Borrowers Can Opt in to Digital Self-service from IVR

deflection for calls


Calls Opted In
to Forbearance Bot

engagement bot


Bot Engagement
IVR & Web

build and deploy bots

30 days

Forbearance Bot
Built & Deployed


Crisis Creates Urgent Need for Digital Self-Service

The CARES Act, passed in the USA when the pandemic hit in 2020, provided a mortgage payment forbearance option, where borrowers could seek a temporary pause on their loan payments. 

Cenlar recognized that the terms of the CARES Act would create an influx of calls from concerned borrowers. They needed to provide an alternative channel for borrowers to quickly and easily get responses to their queries without having to scroll through a lengthy FAQ web page, wait on hold for an agent, or click an email communication from the company. A digital self-service option in the form of a chatbot enabled this.

“Our digital strategy is heavily focused on meeting our borrowers on their terms, ensuring borrowers have access to the channel of their choosing. A new digital self-service option in the form of a chatbot would allow borrowers to get exactly what they need, without having to navigate a lengthy FAQ site. The bot can present complicated information in a way that is understandable and relatable to our borrowers, getting them there quickly and easily.”

Josh Reicher, Cenlar FSB, Chief Digital OfficerSelf Service Chatbot Enables 12% of Borrowers to Resolve Queries 1

Choosing ServisBOT for Flexibility, Speed & Agility 

AI was part of Cenlar’s digital strategy but the pandemic accelerated their first foray into the technology. They had considered some industry-leading vendors, but they needed a vendor that would provide them with the flexibility and agility to deliver on their needs at speed.

The Cenlar team found ServisBOT’s collaborative approach helpful. Their guidance, templates, and hands-on support helped the company stand up the solution in just over 30 days, a record-breaking speed for brand new technology. What’s more, introducing ServisBOT’s reusable, scalable technology, would allow Cenlar to continue to build bot solutions beyond the initial bot. 

“The partnership with ServisBOT has been great. They were fast when fast was needed. The agility and flexibility of their solution and services meant that they could train and make modifications to the bot quickly, meeting our needs at each turn.”

Lou Sigillo, Senior Vice President for Contact Center Operations, Cenlar FSBSelf Service Chatbot Enables 12% of Borrowers to Resolve Queries 2

Creating the Forbearance Bot 

Different Cenlar teams came together to update all appropriate content, links, and agent scripts in order to deal with the queries they expected from borrowers. These were used to create the initial set of intents and utterances for the bot but are continually reviewed and expanded as guidance from regulators changes. Missed intents are also monitored and used to add intents, improving the overall bot experience. 

Cenlar Forbearance Bot

“Once the bot was turned on and offered in our IVR, 10-12% of borrowers who indicated they were calling about a hardship, opted in to an SMS with a link to our website instead of talking to an agent. In the beginning, more than 90% of borrowers that engaged with the bot were choosing to click through to the get-started link.”

A Single Bot Serves Different Clients on All Endpoints

The Forbearance bot is offered on four different endpoints, with the automated phone system (IVR) being the most popular, whereby incoming callers are offered an option to receive a link to the bot via SMS. The bot is also accessible on Cenlar’s related websites that were designed to handle online forbearance requests and serve customers with COVID-related information. Cenlar services many different mortgage clients, including private label and non-private label clients. A single bot serves both client groups on all endpoints.

“The launch of the bot was a definitive success. The value we recognized from increased borrower satisfaction first and foremost with a result of decreased borrower call volumes made this a positive ROI experience for us, and a greatly improved experience for borrowers.”

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