What to look for in back office systems

In recent years lenders have made massive strides with their online technology, including decision in principle, application submission and 24-hour case tracking tools. At the same time consumers are increasingly using the internet to shop and transact business.

Brokers are often criticised for concentrating only on new business and mortgages rather than the wider financial needs of their clients.

Unfortunately, the statistics prove that this is often the case, even when brokers know that many tools are available to look after their clients’ needs and boost efficiency.

So why have brokers failed to adopt client management and back office systems to the extent or at the pace at which logic suggests they should?

A relevant comparison could be made with sourcing systems. Only a few years ago many brokers saw them as reference tools they could refer to as required.

But come Mortgage Day sourcing systems became a necessity as they were the only tools that allowed brokers to prove their research.

Today brokers generally do not work without sourcing systems for protection and they have become a key part of their sales processes.

I believe client management systems will undergo the same evolution. At the moment they are used by a small percentage of brokers on an ad hoc basis, but this will change.

These systems will become a necessity as the need to manage existing clients, improve efficiency and follow regulated and documented sales processes becomes paramount.

So what are the most important features to look out for in any successful client management system?

I would suggest that before committing to new technology, brokers should ask themselves the following questions:

• Is the technology simple to use so that training is straightforward?
• Is there constant training support available?
• Will it help to streamline processes and reduce duplication?
• Is it integrated with sourcing systems such as Trigold, Mortgage Brain, Assureweb and The Exchange and does this integration go both ways?
• Does it offer direct integration with mortgage and insurance companies plus conveyancing and accounting software packages?
• Does it allow lead management and tracking?
• Will the system produce mail merges so newsletters can be sent to clients?
These are important factors brokers should consider before deciding on which system to use.