In our last blog post, we introduced the idea of 2023 as the year of the “mindful market” – an environment where companies are (wisely) focused on making sure every initiative and investment leads directly to measurable ROI.
Since we’re all about presenting solutions vs. just telling people about challenges, we also kicked off a blog post series on how financial services businesses can succeed in the mindful market.
In Part 1, we focused on how to make sure your technology investment pays off. We’ll continue the series here by focusing on an equally important topic: your processes.
In an uncertain economy, your core processes can make or break you. Inefficient, outdated, or just plain bad processes lead to delays, errors, and customer dissatisfaction you can’t afford. Reorgs, layoffs, hiring freezes, and other cost-cutting measures often exacerbate existing process problems.
On the flip side, innovative, well-designed processes will help you weather the storm and get ahead while others are falling behind. They’re also vital to accomplishing everyone’s #1 goal this year: doing more with less.
“Accomplishing More With Less” in Financial Services
We work with clients across the financial services industry – mortgage lenders, real estate investment firms, property insurance, wealth management – and we’re hearing the same thing from all of them this year: we need to accomplish more with less.
You probably have the same general goal, but “accomplishing more with less” can mean different things based on your unique situation and goals. Here are a few “more with less” requests we’ve encountered recently:
- More personalized communications and updates to investors with less time spent crafting individual emails
- Faster loan application processing and approval without increasing staff
- Handling more customer service requests with shorter wait times
- More interdepartmental collaboration with fewer misunderstandings
- More access to client (or investor) history with less digging
- Processing more claims, onboarding new clients, or following up with leads in less time and with fewer errors
- Smarter, faster decision-making with less guessing and less manual number-crunching
- More work with fewer people in the wake of layoffs and hiring freezes
The details are different, but all these requests spring from the same motivation: financial services leaders are trying to increase ROI by doing more things that generate revenue and keep customers happy while reducing the time, money, errors, expense, headaches, and manual effort involved.
So where do processes come in?
Well, if you want to change your results, you have to change what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. Either way, taking a hard look at your core business processes is a necessary step.
Three Meaningful Ways to Improve Your Processes
Let’s be honest: there’s a lot of room for process improvement in the financial services industry.
Spreadsheets are everywhere, finding data is like hunting for buried treasure (booby traps and all), and there’s still a whole lot of manual data entry and calculations going on.
Maybe you’re ahead of the game and have it all figured out. If so, feel free to stop reading now, but for the rest of you, we have three practical ways to meaningfully improve your processes.
Problematic processes stick around because of inertia. If you want things to change for the better, start by evaluating your existing processes. You need to get crystal clear about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and where there are opportunities for improvement.
You’ll get overwhelmed if you try to do them all at once, so pick 2 or 3 of the most important (or most problematic) processes to focus on first.
Then conjure up your inner 3-year-old and start asking lots of questions like:
- “Why are we doing that?”
- “Why are we doing it that way?”
- “Where does that data come from?”
- “Where does that data go?”
- “Who needs this data?”:
- “Why does it take so long?”
- “How do things go wrong?”
- “What would ‘better’ look like?”
- “How is this process affecting our results?”
- “How would making this better help achieve our goals?”
And so on and so forth – just keep asking and digging until you get real answers. “I don’t know” and “because we’ve always done it that way” won’t cut it – and they won’t help you improve either.
Once you’ve completed your process evaluation, it’s time to look for opportunities to improve.
Automation should be at the top of your list.
Because one of the best ways to “do more with less” is to automate routine tasks that slow down your processes and keep your team tied up with low-value busy work.
So what sort of tasks can real estate & financial services businesses automate?
Here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning:
- Customer Status Updates
- Case Notifications
- Renewal Notices
- Task Assignments & Handoffs
- Application Requests & Initial Reviews
- Signature Requests
- On-boarding & Account Creation
- Dashboards & Reporting
- Customer outreach & Follow-up
By automating these and other routine tasks, you’ll speed up your processes and free up your team to get more done and put more thought and energy into activities that drive sales, revenue, and customer happiness.
Nothing kills process efficiency like siloed systems, duplicate manual data entry, and good ‘ol swivel sweating. Oh, and we can’t leave this one off the list: spreadsheet multiplication.
You might get away with disconnected systems for a while, but as your business grows and demand increases, so will the errors, delays, and frustrations.
Whether you’re already experiencing these problems or want to avoid them, integration is the answer.
Integrated systems eliminate much of the need for manual data entry and facilitate easy data access. You end up with fewer errors and much less time wasted searching for data or waiting for someone to send you what you need. Plus, you can use all that newly accessible data to identify opportunities and create value in ways you simply couldn’t before.
Integration also helps you elevate customer experiences and nurture relationships.
Take a look at these examples of integrated financial services processes that help businesses “do more”:
- Integrated mortgage applications allow data to transfer directly from online 1003 forms to your LOS and other systems like Encompass, Optimal Blue & Credit Checkers with no manual re-entry.
- CRM and LOS integrations give your team quick access to customer information and make it easy to automate requests for additional information, which helps you get clients from application to closing faster.
- Integrated CRM and email systems let you auto-capture information you can use to create detailed investor profiles.
- Integrated real estate and property management systems allow you to see complete property history, create optimized stacking plans, and track financials over time – all with just a few clicks.
The takeaway is clear: integrating your systems is a great way to accomplish more with less and get excellent returns on your process investment.
Ready to Take a Closer Look at Your Processes? Platinum Cubed is Here to Help
We get it – the thought of detailed process evaluation (not to mention tackling automation, integration, and other improvements) is daunting. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Platinum Cubed specializes in Salesforce solutions for real estate and financial services businesses. In other words, we help companies like yours use Salesforce to transform processes, increase revenue, and power growth.
We’re experts at process evaluation, design, automation, and integration. Plus, we know the real estate and financial services industry inside and out, so whether you’re considering Salesforce for the first time or looking to improve ROI from your existing solution, we can help!
We also offer managed services to keep things running smoothly and take care of your ongoing Salesforce staffing and development needs.