Banking on CRM

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These days Lance Manning, regional manager of GreenPoint Credit Collection Center, has many reasons to smile while he is at work. That is because he picked a CRM solution that has not only brought his company a killer ROI, but also has made the job easier for his workers. In fact, according to a recent report by research firm Benchmark Portal, GreenPoint's installation had an ROI of more than 300 percent, and has paid for itself in four months. Manning's job was not easy. GreenPoint Credit was working more or less in the Dark Ages. Its agents dialed phone calls manually, and Manning had no view into what calls the agents were making to reach the 40,000 customers who had defaulted on loans. Plus, using an archaic system made the job much tougher than necessary. GreenPoint Credit, a division of GreenPoint Financial, is a bank holding company that provides a variety of financial services, including the financing of manufactured housing. Because the market for manufactured homes hit bottom, GreenPoint Credit stopped lending in that market, but continues to recoup the money from its outstanding loans. A large percentage of its customers are sub-prime borrowers, which means they are considered to be less than creditworthy. Faced with a rise in delinquencies--and about 100 agents working from 40 collections offices across the country--in the spring of 2000 Manning got the go-ahead to form a committee to centralize the operations. He consolidated to one 20-rep call center in Ontario, Calif., to focus on 10- to 29-day delinquent accounts for GreenPoint's manufactured housing loan portfolio. But the call center was not meeting its goals. It needed to upgrade its collections systems with an outbound contact management system to improve the efficiency of the outbound calls. "We needed to touch our delinquent accounts and we couldn't do it with the system we had in place," Manning says. Manning says he received executive approval to assemble a team of four executives to find a solution. The team spent 60 days researching, kicking tires, and meeting with vendors. It selected Concerto Software and its Unison Call Management System product. Unison's features include predictive dialing, list management, case status reporting, and blended inbound/outbound call management. Peter Cohen, senior director of marketing at Concerto says Unison's predictive dialing feature only connects an agent when someone picks up the phone. "That features makes the agent productive. They are not listening to an answering machine. It's a huge cost savings," Cohen says. The installation took about 75 days, and each GreenPoint Credit agent is able to make 3.6 times more calls per hour than they had made when they dialed manually, he says, adding that in October 2000 the system was fired up and the agents had undergone an extensive training. One of Unison's key features is that it allows Manning to look at the system in real time and see what all the agents are doing. "I am able to listen in on a call and coach them right into their ear set," he says. That ability to look at a screen and see what an agent is doing allows the company to track its agents' progress on a daily and weekly basis. Although this feature is important to Manning for improving productivity, a bigger concern was ROI. Fortunately, the software paid for itself in four weeks, and Manning claims he has been able to streamline agent staffing by 60 percent, paring it to 25 collectors in 2002 from the 40 agents he had initially expanded it to shortly after opening the Ontario call center. The recent Benchmark Portal analysis, commissioned by Concerto, illustrates why: Using Unison each agent is able to place 116.2 calls per agent hour and generate 14.2 contacts per agent hour compared to placing 32.7 calls per agent hour and 6.2 contacts per agent hour using the manual mode. "The most important thing is that we were able to rescue delinquent accounts by 5.6 percent," Manning says. And that's money in the bank.
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