"Many brokers don’t do anything to utilise their existing customer database,” argues FAST managing director Steve Kane. (CRM data is greatest asset: Kane, Australian Broker issue 8.16) But if CRMs are such an asset, how can their full potential be getting overlooked?
According to Brett Spencer, managing director of Stargate, brokers are too focused on loan processing via CRMs. “What brokers have to realize is that a CRM is more than just a glorified loan processing system,” Spencer said. “Brokers do have the ability to process loans from the point of a customer lead, right through to settlement, but they don’t understand how to use their client base after that. That’s where they fall down,” he argues. So are there some key areas where brokers could improve their CRM use – and subsequently, their business?
Are you using your CRM for e-lodgment, or going direct through free bank platforms?
Stargate’s Brett Spencer said many brokers choose a free online bank system, rather than lodging through the Symmetry system, which costs approximately $10 per loan. In fact, out of 164,000 loans processed over 12 months, only 30,000 went through the platform. “That means that the CRM system for many is becoming defunct,” Spencer said. “You are not getting all the back-channel messaging, and that is a big issue,” he said.
While acknowledging the cost, Spencer said brokers miss out on the functionality, which would enable them to monitor through regular reports the entire process – eliminating problems such as ‘forgetting’ or tardy lender responses –to stay on top of their customers.
Spencer said the cost and time efficiencies that could be achieved are in the vicinity of two to three hours per loan file, when taking into account 30 minutes to enter two sets of data, and manually updating back-channel messaging not coming into the system.
As data is the core of a CRMs usefulness, it is the key to getting closer to clients through marketing. However, it is in capturing data that many brokers are in fact falling down.
“If you don’t use the full data component – if they only put in half the data, or not the correct information – then how can you manage and market to a client after settlement?”
It is this leveraging of available data for marketing where many argue mortgage brokers could improve. Spencer said brokers who use the files in a system to keep in contact with a customer benefit from repeat business. Such strategies can be as simple as a birthday letter, or a letter on the anniversary of buying a home. Alternatively, it could be specific offers.
“I know a broker in Melbourne who does nothing but market his existing database,” Spencer said. “He has 700 clients and manages 30 to 40 loans a month. His clients come 100% through existing client referrals,” he said.
Spencer said that it comes down to not having the time, and the small amount of work required. “I think in many cases it’s laziness; it’s more of a case of ‘I’m not going to worry about that, I’m going to do something else’ – I think that’s the biggest reason.”
Brokers should also view their CRM as a key tool in assisting the diversification process, in order to generate increased revenue and deliver exceptional service to clients.
According to Stargate’s Spencer, brokers need to see a CRM system as being for more than “just a loan”, as it can assist in providing a spectrum of related and peripheral services.
“You need to be able to sit with your customers, and say to them that you are able to provide a service for anything in relation to the mortgage application,” Spencer said.
Some CRMs have the capacity to include business partners specific to the mortgage application – like mortgage insurers and valuers – as well as providers who can assist with related credit products, including personal loans, credit cards, insurance and accounting.
Spencer said they can also incorporate ‘customer specific partners’ to create a ‘wow factor’ – including the likes of removalists, and assisting with arranging utilities arrangements. “There is a massive opportunity for brokers who can provide this sort of service,” he said.