Patrick Drimmer of HCL Technologies: Modernizing Contact Centers with Future-Ready Lending Solutions
Patrick Drimmer is Director of Digital Process Operations with HCL Technologies, Highlands Ranch, Colo. HCL Lending Solutions assists lenders in moving away from legacy and monolithic systems to a host of digital platforms, including business process management workflows and robotic process automation to facilitate the true transition toward digital.
The post-pandemic remote working situation has compelled borrowers and customers to use online and mobile channels for lending services. And for finding answers to their complex questions, they are turning to social media or calling customer care. According to The Financial Brand’s recent survey, between December 2019 and 2020, interactions in contact centers of banks and financial institutions increased by 50%. This significant rise indicates that customers are depending more on contact centers for their financial needs than the loan officers at the physical locations.
Customers now expect similar personalized responses to their queries as they used to be during physical interactions in the bank/office. In this scenario, just call routing and call management tools are not enough. Financial service providers will need to enhance their contact center capabilities to provide better services and experiences. The contact center of today needs to engage with customers in an omni-channel environment – constituting chats, text, email, social media, and live calls.
Transforming call centers into contact centers
Call centers have been evolving into contact centers in the US increasingly at varying degrees. Some have adopted automated voice recognition and some are using technologies to expedite the processing and routing of calls. But these individual technologies cannot fully modernize the contact center. In fact, most contact center operators are still struggling to measure relevant key metrics that signify improvements in customer satisfaction, call quality, churn, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiencies.
These metrics determine the lender’s success in the market. For this, they will need a deeper understanding of the functionalities and business controls in the contact center. The key will be to distinguish the capabilities that will measure every single touchpoint within the contact center. This would allow the lender to better understand how engaged the customers are and how they want to be engaged. It will also help ascertain the efficiency levels and identify ways of improving those efficiency levels. And finally, it will assist in improving customer retention, churn, and satisfaction.
For this, lenders will need to further enhance the technological ecosystem within a contact center environment. Such a transformation will entail them implementing solutions powered by a host of technologies, such as cloud computing, automation, big data analytics, and machine learning, across all operations. Integrating these advanced technologies into a platform that combines data from all communication channels will allow greater operating efficiencies, cost mitigation strategies, and enhanced customer and service KPIs or scores. PwC reported that companies could save 15% to 30% operational overhead by modernizing their contact centers.
While the complete transformation of the contact center can yield significant savings, deploying such technologically enhanced solutions will require high capital investments. For most financial service providers, contact centers are already a major expense. These are operated out of necessity, therefore are not a core competency. This further complicates the lender’s desire to transform the contact center into a cost-effective or high-quality operation providing superior levels of customer satisfaction.
Lenders who have attempted to internally deploy contact center lending solutions have often spent months to implement, went beyond their budget limitations, and even after that found themselves struggling to achieve the targeted ROI. This is because they lacked the right expertise and technology experience, and were also unable to maintain speed to market. In such situations, companies usually outsource, to fulfill their IT requirements, through the Build-Operate-Transfer model.
Owing to the heavily regulated environment in the US, lending servicers may not have the option of outsourcing. This is mainly due to privacy concerns that have prompted governmental agencies, such as Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and government-sponsored enterprises to stop sharing customer data with third parties. Banks and big lending institutions also prohibit their service providers to involve another company in any part of their services.
Breaking barriers and achieving agility
Organizations face fairly typical challenges when they’re seeking to enhance their contact center efficiencies while staying compliant with regulatory requirements. However, most organizations lack the necessary technological infrastructure and analytics-driven solutions to cope with them. And the two key areas where they lack are in detecting areas of inefficiency in their extensive contact center environment and the burdensome prohibitions imposed on outsourcing by government agencies.
The lack of technological capabilities can severely limit any chance of them achieving their desired business outcomes. And the results are plain to see – escalating operational costs and an inability to meet service level requirements of clients at regulatory levels. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right solutions partner, mortgage financial service organizations can mitigate their challenges.
Let’s say, for instance, they are a leading provider of mortgage services, based in the US, with over 1,000 full-time call center employees. And as a part of their mortgage operations, they handle both inbound and outbound mortgage customer care and collection activities. To streamline their call center operations, the financial services organization has into a joint venture with a technology and operations solutions partner. But what’s the real value of such a relationship?
Well, a truly competent partner has not only the tech capabilities but also the domain understanding necessary to take over the entire contact center headcount and manage the center on behalf of the client. This means off-loading all the employees from the organization’s priority list and bringing them under our umbrella. Furthermore, this would be accompanied by a proprietary technologies implementation solution which would drive efficiencies and service level requirements at the same levels as mandated by the original organization.
Once all is said and done, this solution approach would result in an annual overhead cost savings which, in my experience, can be nearly 30% each year, throughout the entire term of the contract. This kind of ROI and specialized support is the mark of a truly impactful partnership with a lending solutions provider.
Lending Solutions for the industry of tomorrow
As it’s clear to see, modern lending solutions need to enable the complete modernization of contact centers with a laser focus on the entire length and breadth of lending operations. Also, it helps to better train the employees to take advantage of the implemented solutions for servicing the customers. Such a value proposition is unique and not available with all solution providers currently.
Going forward, lending businesses need to seek out teams that will continue to enhance deployments and deliver higher efficiencies with evolving technology and process innovations. Such an approach will allow lending service providers to build resilience and recover faster after disaster events. In the current world order, recovering after a disaster can be a major advantage that the financial services enterprises will need to gain a competitive edge.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at email@example.com.)