MortgageStream has launched a new version of the lead management, point of sale and back office software.
This release is the 8th version and contains a host of new features and benefits to support brokerages. New Features include a customisable fact find and a new IDD wizard that can be used for Life & General Insurance Sales.
This is complemented by an expanded business register and MI reporting to reflect the latest requirements for FSA reporting around lending into requirement and sales without protection.
The new version features a revised Windows 7 themed layout to provide more intuitive screens and a brand new instant text message interface for instant communication from the office PC to the client’s mobile phone for updates and for mass text message shots.
The new version also includes full integration with the free “Open Office” software from Sun Microsystems enabling advisers and administrators to create MS Office compatible letters & mailshots and to produce financial spread sheet reporting from MortgageStream without having to purchase Microsoft Office products.
This is especially useful for larger brokerages using a server for remote access as they can now load the royalty free Open Office for their advisers to use with MortgageStream remotely instead of having to purchase expensive multiple MS Office licenses for their server or PCs. An enhanced Find facility has been added to make finding leads and cases even quicker.
Today’s FSA announcement highlighting disappointing failures in the advice process are frequently the result of firms having inadequate systems in place to monitor and improve phone based protection and life sales.
Firms should be recording ALL calls in or out and saving the recordings INTO the client file in a database to be frequently reviewed by managers. Phone based Advisers should be regularly monitored by having their calls listened to and any remedial action taken without delay.
There really is no excuse not to as call recording costs under £5 per week per adviser and interactive website screen sharing costs £5 per week, firms that don’t have these simple procedures in place are just lazy and are asking for the FSA to come down on them like a ton of bricks. There is really no need for the financial services industry to be so scared of technology.
Technology proves that you are doing a great job if you are, and warns you if you are not in time to take action
John Malone of PMS recently wrote that in his opinion “brokers have an opportunity to increase their protection sales by targeting private rented sector tenants”. I wholeheartedly agree, clearly, the rental section is going to grow as mortgage finance becomes ever harder to secure. The UK will move closer to the European model where a substantial proportion of the population will remain as long term tenants.
A successful broker will evolve to service the double whammy of requirements of both the Landlord and their tenants. Where better to start than your own existing client bank? By using BrokerStream as your new customer database, you can import in all of your current and previous clients from your mortgage sourcing software, excel spreadsheet or paper files, and then start intelligently marketing your products & services to those landlords that you have previously dealt with and with their assistance you will be able to promote your services to their tenants as well.
A landlord Marketing database represents a huge opportunity for Advisers and can be set up and launched for just a few hundred pounds, the same amount as one reasonable sized commission. In other words the entire annual set up costs could easily be paid for with just one sale of an appropriate policy!
So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today, we will provide the training, the support and set up new new database and show you how to import all of your client details from your existing sourcing software with just a few clicks. Then we will help you set up your marketing letter templates, and even text messaging templates for you to start contacting your important clients right away. Don’t wait and let other brokers contact your landlord clients for you, call us today on 0845 220 2202 option 1 and get cracking right away.
Mortgage Brokers are busy people, or so they tell me! Dealing with client enquiries, chasing new business leads, giving advice and chasing lenders and providers for updates all takes up a lot of time. As a result, one area that often gets overlooked is the documentation and back office compliance, TCF and case management notes.
The really good news is that this is no longer needs to be the case, MortgageStream provides the means for a broker to join up all of the key ingredients of the process into one manageable and seamless process with a beginning, middle and end.
Purchased Leads & Website Enquiries can be imported to MortgageStream; leads can be fired straight into Trigold, Mortgage Brain or Home Buyer System, Client, Product and Lender details, KFIs, Dips & Apps are saved back into MortgageStream and diary appointments, contacts and tasks are exported to Outlook Calendar and to Smartphones, PDAs etc.
Why would you input data into multiple systems when you can input the data once (or never type a name in at all if you buy in leads) and have the data prepopulate every part of your business process?
For more information and a demonstration call 0845 220 2202 option 1
Northern Rock plans to slash its application fee from £250 to £99 for home buyers from Monday next week.
Customer Relationship Management part 1
You often see the letters “CRM” or even hear people speak of “customer relationship management”, however, this sounds so American; so does this philosophy of managing the relationship with our customers and clients actually fit in with the British psyche?
The more I look into the subject the more that I realise that the British people actually do very much value being looked after by businesses and other organisations. In todays online, on digital, on demand world the emphasis is often on speed of delivery, speed of decision, and speed of return; however, the basic human need to be valued, listened to and considered still runs deep in our sub conscious.
There are tiny examples of this all over our lives, small daily occurrences like another driver slowing down on a narrow road and indicating to allow you to pass through, or perhaps a door being held open by someone who passes through a doorway in front of you. Other examples of customer management include when you walk into a shop or a bar and you get a warm “good morning, how can I help you?”
These little interactions between strangers and those we are more familiar with are prevalent in society because they begin the communication process that often leads to a transaction of some kind.
When it comes to our own businesses dealing with clients and customers many of whom we never actually meet face to face, the role of courteous business communications is paramount. Regular, relevant communication between a firm and its customers is essential to complete each transaction and to ensure repeat business in the future via regular contact. For a “one man band” to manage this process would be a tall order, however, for a busy brokerage with thousands of enquiries and clients processing hundreds of cases per year it is simply impossible.
With the increasing regulation that brokers face from the FSA’s TCF regime and the inevitable subsequent inspection visits, clearly documented communication is more important than ever, and a system that manages, records and reports this process is more vital than ever before. Running your business with paper files is simply no longer acceptable in a 21st century world and those that do are metaphorically drifting slowly downstream coming ever closer to the FSA’s Niagara Falls and, the gentle roar in the distance is slowly getting louder!
In Part 2: I will be looking at ways that a firm can utilise affordable, proven technology to management their businesses and customer communications
For almost every mortgage and protection broker their single most valuable asset (after their own knowledge and skills) is their client bank. The phrase “client bank” even conveys the fact that the clients are of real and essential value to the business.
In the past it was common place to have ones entire client bank contained in files and folders housed in numerous metal filing cabinets stored on the premises. However, over the last decade forward thinking firms have invested in back office software, also known as CRM or “Customer Relationship Management” software. Those brokers who use MortgageStream already know the huge benefits of utilising a dedicated mortgage brokers back office software. The data and documents contained within a CRM system is absolutely vital for the operation of the business and has to be protected and secured under “data protection” legislation.
In the last few years the cost of all types of data storage has reduced drastically to the point where it is possible to purchase a small device the size of an old personal CD player that can store millions of documents or tens of thousands of photos or videos or other data. Inexpensive storage is all well and good as long as the business owner has a robust, reliable procedure to ensure that daily back ups actually do occur.
What is needed in a busy brokerage is an automatic facility for backing up data that does not involve human involvement. I believe that the most reliable and secure of these methods is offsite incremental back up. The reason why offsite back up is so effective is in the nature of the back up i.e. “offsite”. The vital data for the business is automatically saved, encrypted and transported across the web to one or more remote servers every day with no human involvement after the initial 10 minute set up.
Whilst it is true that backing up to an external hard drive from within the office is perfectly effective, this is as long as this is done every single day, and that the hard drive is physically removed from the premises every day and rotated with a second hard drive to ensure total coverage in the event of a fire, flood, equipment theft or other disaster. Back up tapes can also provide a similar facility but are less popular these days with the event of alternative solutions.
The Financial Services Authority requires that brokers have a robust, reliable back up facility for securing client data and a proven disaster recovery strategy. Relying on good fortune and keeping fingers crossed is just not acceptable, ask anyone that has suffered a hard drive failure and loss of data. I can guarantee one thing; victims never let it happen to them twice! The pain of loosing data is so enormous that victims inevitably take action to prevent a reoccurrence, a classic “shutting the door after the horse has bolted” reaction. The smart business will learn from other firms misfortunes and protect their business immediately before disaster strikes them.
For more information and free advice on protecting your most valuable business asset, and how to get offsite back up set up for under £100 per year please call us on 0845 220 2202 option 1
We hear a lot these days about call recording, with the ubiquitous message “calls may be recorded for security and training purposes”! Traditionally large institutions recorded all their calls via their corporate switch board, something that smaller firms could not easily achieve. However things are very different now, it is very easy and affordable to record your phone calls on both landlines AND mobile phones.
So why would you want to record your phone calls? Certain industries are statutorily required to record all calls e.g. Investment Brokers, Stock Traders, Banks and other financial organisations including some landlords and owners with tenants who are in arrears.
The simple truth of the matter is that more and more business is transacted over the telephone (and in some cases is not transacted) and the other party to these transactions may develop what I call “selective amnesia” over who said or agreed to what!
With this in mind it makes very clear sense for mortgage brokers both large and small to protect their business and their clients by logging and recording calls.
Is permission required to record calls in the UK? Under ofcom rules firms must make every effort to inform callers that their calls may be recorded. This can be in the form of a “welcome message” on the phone before the call begins as above, or via a terms of business agreement, website, e-mail signature, office poster or ideally all of the above. Individual permission to record calls is not required in the UK.
Brokers can call their clients when a mortgage is offered to read through the mortgage offer and check that the client is happy with every aspect of the product selected. Once all this information is agreed over the phone the call can be logged and saved to the clients record in the database.
Recording Mobile Phone calls while you are in the office near your PC or laptop is possible via a special Bluetooth device that pops up the callers details on the PC and then logs & records the phone call to their record in the database. You can also record mobile phone calls when you are not in the office by having calls routed via a special device that passes every mobile call via your office for automatic call recording.
If you would like more information or a demonstration of how these facilities could work for you, please do get in contact 0845 220 2202 option 1