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The Princeton Promise

Companies love to make promises

It is par for the course. We guarantee "this," we are world famous for "that." All of these are promises – words that the company put out to calm and assure their potential clients. But words mean nothing if they are not backed up by actions, and promises are easy to break if there are no consequences.

Enter: The Princeton Promise

The Princeton Promise is simple: if your mortgage experience isn't effortless for any reason, you get $1,000 back at closing. No strings attached.

So, the "What" of the Princeton Promise may be simple, but here is the "Why":

Our goal at Princeton is to give everyone The Effortless Mortgage. But, if a borrower ever feels their mortgage experience was anything but Effortless, The Princeton Promise is the system we have in place to make sure that we, as an organization, feel their pain.

Pain + Reflection = Growth. Ensuring that Princeton Mortgage feels it when there is a mistake has caused us to hone our systems and processes to avoid that pain.

For the past year, 499 of every 500 of Princeton's borrowers have said "thanks, but no thanks" to the Princeton Promise.

What is a Catalytic Mechanism

"Over the past six years, I have observed and studied a simple yet extremely powerful managerial tool that helps organizations turn goals into results. I have recently codified it; I call it the catalytic mechanism. Catalytic mechanisms are the crucial link between objectives and performance; they are a galvanizing, nonbureaucratic means to turn one into the other. Put another way; catalytic mechanisms are to visions what the central elements of the U.S. Constitution are to the Declaration of Independence—devices that translate lofty aspirations into concrete reality. They make big, hairy, audacious goals reachable." ~ Jim Collins, Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms, Harvard Business Review (July-August, 1999).

The Princeton Promise is the Catalytic Mechanism we put in place to help us turn our "lofty aspiration" of giving every borrower an #Effortless mortgage experience into "concrete reality."

However, the Princeton Promise is so much more than a catchy brand promise:

It is a vital part of our flywheel, the constant feedback that helps to make our processes more efficient and our company better. The Princeton Promise helps us find problems and enables us to fix the problems, which leads to happier customers, which leads to more loans, which inevitably leads to more problems. And on and on it goes!

The Story of The Princeton Promise by Rich Weidel, CEO of Princeton Mortgage

Every lender has shiny posters and says the right things. Performance is what wins. Our funded volume has increased by 631% since 2018 (we've outperformed the industry average by 552%), and we are in the top 1% out of 1,000 financial companies for customer satisfaction. But it's been a painful journey to get here: "We were committed to doing great work for our customers and had audacious growth goals. We built a great culture and hired amazing people. We studied what borrowers wanted and learned that the most important thing was to close their loans with the least amount of effort at a fair price. We launched new technologies, designed customer service training, and implemented Six Sigma processes. And after all that, a customer posted this online: 'I have purchased homes in 4 states and in multiple locations in each. This is house number 7, and this was the worst experience ever. Poor communication, endless paperwork, delayed closing, which left our family of 5 homeless for three days, and now another pull of my credit for an audit. Do not use this company.'

My heart was broken. Despite our best efforts, we had failed this customer. I didn't know how, but I was determined not to let this happen again.

The answer wasn't better marketing, hosting events, or launching grand customer service initiatives. We chose instead to empower our customers – to make it hurt if we let them down so that we would learn. Imagine if you paid for your airline ticket after your flight. And if you didn't have a good experience, you could choose to pay less. That's the Princeton Promise. If our customers are unhappy for any reason, they can choose to get $1,000 back at closing: no strings, no qualifications, no process. It was a radical idea, and we didn't know if it would work. When I launched it at a company-wide meeting, people thought I was crazy. One person got up, packed her things, and never came back I was scared. Did I make a big mistake?

But we forged ahead – committed to delivering the best customer experience in the country. We decided to try it for 90 days, and if fewer than 10% of our customers claimed the Princeton Promise, we would consider it a success. It was painful for the first 90 days, but we learned and were successful. We performed better as a team when everyone was truly accountable to the customer. With each Princeton Promise Payout, we made changes and got better. And after 12 months, fewer than 2% of our customers claimed the Princeton Promise, and we had risen to the top 1% in the country for customer satisfaction.

The Princeton Promise is our warning system, providing hard-to-ignore feedback about the quality of our service and customer experience. We are dead serious about customer satisfaction in a way that goes far beyond slogans. The Princeton Promise creates a culture of Freedom and Responsibility. We all know what we are responsible for: delivering The Effortless Mortgage. Bureaucracy may deliver results, but they will be mediocre because bureaucracy leads to predictability and conformity. The Princeton Promise allows everyone in the company to do unexpected things – to show initiative and creativity, to step outside of the scripted path and deliver an amazing experience for our customers." ~ Rich Weidel, CEO

Does it work?

Yes! At Princeton Mortgage, we are Top 1% of the Industry in Customer Satisfaction!

The proof is in our Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures customer satisfaction:

As of writing this, our lifetime NPS score is 91.

To put that into perspective, Bank of America has an NPS score of 24, Amazon has an NPS score of 53, and Starbucks has an NPS score of 77 (and their product is addictive!).

What people are saying!

“Great team!!! I am glad that I met a mortgage company that is very helpful, knowledgeable, and patient when they work with their customers. Love the facts that they understand what I need, and suggest me to do the best thing for my loan.” – Trang N.

“I had a very pleasant experience with Princeton Mortgage. I feel as though the entire team was working for me.” – Teresa T.

“This was the smoothest real estate transaction I've ever experienced.” – Jennifer F.

“Wonderful company! My first time home buying was a breeze! Very smart team! The process was so easy, everyone was very professional, knowledgeable and on top of it at all times! So happy!” – Jaclyn W. “I could not more enthusiastically recommend the Princeton Mortgage team! The process was effortless. I am at an age where a good bit of my friends are buying their first homes, and I've heard horror stories regarding their mortgage processes. Luckily I wasn't able to relate!” – Adam V.

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