Whether you’re buying or building the customer relationship management (CRM) technology for your lending program, there are some important ways in which it should differ from a general-purpose CRM. Here are 9 key features to look for that will help you lower your servicing costs and increase agent and borrower satisfaction.

1. Omnichannel communications

A modern approach to servicing means having a CRM that supports a wide variety of communications channels, including email, SMS (including two-way texting), chat and direct mail. You’ll want asset class-specific default cases, workflows and templates that are vetted by industry and compliance experts. For instance, if a customer reaches out via email to say that they’ve declared bankruptcy, agents should receive predefined workflow steps and communications templates out of the box—ensuring consistent application of your policies and compliance with applicable bankruptcy laws. You’ll also want the flexibility to configure your own cases, workflows and templates as your lending program scales.

2. Compliance built in

Lenders know that complying with federal, state and local regulations—including the recently implemented Reg. F—is as important as it is challenging. That’s why you’ll benefit from a CRM that automates much of the complexity in meeting your servicing and collections compliance requirements.

Your CRM can help you take proactive steps to support borrowers during significant life events by monitoring borrower accounts for bankruptcy, death, active military duty, and federally declared disasters. The CRM can automatically provide legally required protections, proactively offer hardship solutions and receive automatically generated cases for review.

Your CRM should also check outbound communications for compliance with servicing regulations and borrower preferences, providing you with default rules that you can further configure. It should automatically block communication attempts that are in violation—for instance, a collections call during a time when a borrower has expressly asked not to be contacted.

3. Support supercases

The future occurrence of natural disasters, pandemics and the like is an unfortunate but inevitable reality. That’s why your CRM should support automatic monitoring of FEMA disasters, and enable you to cluster impacted customers and generate corresponding cases and notes. Likewise, you’ll want to be able to cluster do-not-interact rules to avoid inappropriate servicing and collections communications during disasters. The alternative, which is still a reality for many lenders today, is to rely on spreadsheets and manual processes—a resource-intensive approach that’s prone to human error.

4. Enable remote servicing

Though the need to support remote work arose seemingly overnight, it’s now mandatory for many employers—not to mention cost-effective. Whether or not your agents are currently working from home, a CRM that supports remote servicing is at minimum an important hedge against future remote-work needs. Look for a CRM that’s cloud-hosted and browser-based, where agents need only a computer and an internet connection. From an information security perspective, your CRM should support multi-factor authentication, data encryption, role-based access, real-time security monitoring and a strong password policy.

5. See what the borrower sees

Many servicing platforms give agents an entirely different interface than what borrowers see. In reality, though, there isn’t any reason the agent and borrower interfaces need to be fundamentally different. A better approach is to give agents the same view as borrowers—just with augmented capabilities—so that agents intuitively understand the borrower experience and can more easily guide borrowers toward self-service actions. 

6. Robust and modern borrower self-service

Though not a CRM feature per se, robust and intuitive borrower self-service features—enabling borrowers to easily make and schedule payments, update account information, customize their payment plan and more—have a direct impact on servicing costs by reducing customer contacts and simplifying resolution. A thoughtfully designed borrower portal can increase repayment rates, improve the customer experience, and make borrower actions quicker and easier—benefits that accrete both to your brand and to your bottom line. 

7. Superior agent experience

It sounds obvious, but it’s not a given in most lending CRMs—the experience of your agents deserves as much attention as the experience of your borrowers. When your CRM accords with the same user experience principles as your borrower portal, training can happen more quickly, agent efficiency and satisfaction rise, and resolution times are reduced. Not to mention that the positive experience of your agents will inevitably translate to a better experience for your end customers.

8. Fully integrated tools

Most lenders have separate servicing, CRM and ticketing systems—requiring agents to toggle between multiple windows to execute even basic tasks. This approach should be avoided because of negative impacts to data consistency, resolution time, agent satisfaction and vendor costs. Instead, look for an integrated, all-in-one solution where your CRM and servicing systems stay in sync by default. Your CRM should know of open cases, update information seamlessly between systems and automatically check actions for compliance.

9. Smart case matching

When your servicing system and CRM talk to each other, you can distribute work in efficient and powerful ways. This unlocks team ownership of tasks and cases, eliminating dependency on a single agent. Your task system can automatically distribute work by matching it to appropriately skilled agents, and the first available agent can then take the work and triage from a shared task queue.

Lenders can get by without some of these features, but it will likely come at the expense of efficiency, resolution times, and agent and customer satisfaction. In today’s advanced lending technology ecosystem, there’s no reason your CRM can’t deliver on all these key features, enabling you to maximize efficiency and keep servicing costs down.

If you’d like to learn more about Peach’s CRM, send us a note at info@peachfinance.com.