By Kemp, Leslie
Mortgage Banking , Vol. 65, No. 3
TOP LOAN ORIGINATORS CONSISTENTLY REPORT THAT BETWEEN 70 PERCENT and 100 percent of their production comes through referrals and repeat business from existing customers, compared with the industry average of around 30 percent. [??] Industry experts are constantly reminding us that it is five to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to generate referrals and repeat business from an existing customer. [??] So why is it so few mortgage companies--probably no more than one in four--engage in any form of customer relationship management (CRM)? [??] For Stephen Margrett, cofounder of The Turning Point Inc., Sedona, Arizona, this question demanded an answer. In the mid-1980s Margrett created one of the world's first database marketing agencies, where he developed and implemented CRM solutions for clients such as Air New Zealand, BP Oil, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, Hertz, Lotus Development (IBM), TSB Bank and Volvo. [??] Margrett found that financial services organizations have approached CRM in many different ways, depending on their budgets, appetite for risk and faith in technology. At one end of the scale were large banks and mortgage companies that purchased CRM software and implemented enterprisewide systems, often with mixed results. At the other end of the scale were smaller and midsized companies that shied away from technology investments for the most part and, if they engaged in any customer retention activity at all, tended to rely on labor-intensive and dated methods. [??] For the large number of mortgage companies that are doing little or nothing to exploit the profit potential of their customer databases, CRM has been viewed as too expensive, time-consuming and complicated.
Above all, the technology challenge appears daunting: CRM software requires installation, integration and a good deal of support. What's more, software vendors are usually trying to sell as many licenses as possible on top of selling their consulting services. Many also generate additional revenue through maintenance and upgrades. By default, then, the task of managing customer relationships fell to individual originators--and they always seem to have more pressing demands on their time.
Fast, measurable results
CRM is a process used to connect information, people and systems across customerfacing functions: marketing, sales and service. Its purpose is to maximize customer value by helping companies learn more about their customers' needs and, as a result, provide truly personalized service that differentiates them from their competitors.
A customer who is cared for in this way will become the source of multiple future income streams, generating repeat business and providing high-quality referrals.
The opportunity in the mortgage industry was evident: remove the complication, financial and time-based obstacles by providing an easy-to-use automated platform that would make CRM accessible to all mortgage companies (and even to individual loan originators). So, The Turning Point[R] (TTP) was created with the mission of offering turnkey CRM services that enable mortgage professionals at all levels to build lifetime customer loyalty, generate referrals and cross-sell their other services--all with very little effort.
The Turning Point's turnkey CRM solution is powered by Oracle[R] technology: the world's most robust, reliable and secure database engine. There are currently more than 800 companies under contract with TTP and more than 6,000 individual loan officers. Oracle's scalability enables The Turning Point to meet the demands of growth into the future.
"This extraordinary technology gives the user a simple platform with online tools that empower them to respond instantly to changing market conditions," explains Margrett. "What we provide are automated marketing solutions [AMS] for customer relationship management. For example, if interest rates change, the user can immediately access their data online and launch targeted and highly personalized campaigns with a few clicks of the mouse. …