Overcome the challenges of separate communications silos

by Contributor28 Nov 2018

by Patrick Kehoe

Communication technologies today provide fast and effective ways for mortgage institutions to reach out to prospective borrowers, as well as keeping a lender’s name in front of existing clients as future opportunities arise. In fact, finding and closing on profitable transactions in a competitive market often depends on which lender has the most success knowing their clients and quickly communicating with them at the right moment. That said, the way a large enterprise is organized can be an obstacle to developing positive and long-lasting relationships with clients.

Frequently for larger financial institutions (often with branches and offices located across wide geographic areas) routine operations are conducted by separate internal departments to achieve operating efficiency. However, this creates separate data and communications silos. To overcome these challenges and enable agility and relevancy in their outreach, lenders can benefit greatly from implementing customer communications management (CCM) technologies alongside their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, such as Salesforce. Each of these technologies plays a unique role in customer communications. CCM provides the tools and processes that enable two-way, personalized mortgage communication directly with borrowers through the channels they prefer, such as printed mail, SMS and email. CRM systems, meanwhile, focus on managing and analyzing client interactions to build stronger, long-term relationships with borrowers to sustain and grow business.

The various departments in financial services organizations often have individual libraries of customer-facing content, as well as their own separate CRM tools (such as Salesforce) for managing the contact information of potential borrowers and tracking responses. Different teams manage these different corporate functions and more than likely they are using different communication tools. This can lead to a situation where a customer service representative or loan officer is engaging with a borrower and sees an opportunity to promote a specific product, but they are unable to quickly access and send out relevant content on that product. The content they need is only readily available to the marketing team and can be transmitted only through the marketing team’s output channels.

Additionally, while CRM technologies give your business the tools to collect and analyze customer data to better understand their preferences and behavior, a tight focus on CRM may overlook a key component of customer communications—the quality of the content in those communications.

A CRM process will fail to deliver optimal benefits if it can’t access the most appropriate content to fit the needs of each customer interaction. And likewise, a CCM process that can deliver a well-designed customer touchpoint via a mobile device but doesn’t include the right messaging because it can’t easily leverage the kind of customer data contained within a CRM system, will fail to move the prospective borrower.

It is important for lenders to evaluate if their CCM technology integrates its enterprise-wide capabilities with CRM applications and systems that house critical customer information. Having this capability enables customer-facing staff to create personalized and relevant messages that can be delivered quickly to potential borrowers. For example, they might send a customized, company-branded and approved communication directly from a contact record, or send out information on a new financial offering to a whole category of clients stored in your CRM system. Such integration gives these front-line workers the power to streamline the communications process by providing the right pre-approved content that is readily available to them without having to search for appropriate correspondence or templates.

If the CCM solution is equipped with built-in approval workflows, the process of obtaining approvals for materials is completely seamless. This allows deeper personalization of individual communications to speak directly to the consumer while protecting the regulated and pre-approved content. The right CCM systems can also direct messaging through multiple and/or customer-preferred communications channels—print or digital—to ensure the customer receives the desired customer experience. Linking the two systems optimizes your investment in both.

Most communications are not “one and done”; they are part of a collection of multiple touchpoints that build upon each other. Linking CCM systems with journey management solutions such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder make it possible to have automated campaigns that build upon the actions (or inaction) of the previous touchpoint regardless of print or digital channels. Having this capability would make it possible to add targeted and sophisticated messaging to your communications, again without having to call up multiple templates.

Integrating CRM with CCM empowers lenders to take advantage of the best features that each technology has to offer. CRM systems augmented with a holistic CCM approach can ensure that valuable borrower data and insights aren’t trapped in data silos, but rather are leveraged into effective and profitable borrower communications.

Patrick Kehoe is executive vice president of product management for Messagepoint, Inc. Kehoe has more than 25 years of experience delivering business solutions for document processing, customer communications and content management. For more information on Messagepoint, visit www.messagepoint.com.