Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
More than ever before, traditional business models are being disrupted by competitors who are quick to embrace the latest in technology in an effort to win over customers with cutting edge customer service.
In order to keep up with the shift in customer expectations, Australian mortgage broker giant, Aussie Home Loans, has recently embraced a holistic digital transformation strategy from the ground up.
“The experience customers are having from disruptors in other industries such as Uber, Booking.com and AirBnB is raising their expectations with a range of different services on the whole,” Aussie Home Loans general manager, Richard Burns, said. “And I think the financial industry has come to grips with the fact that the consumer landscape is changing quite dramatically.”
Burns revealed Aussie is going through quite a significant shift in technology, and is doing a lot in the platform space to provide its internal teams with better ways of interacting with customers and modernising the whole customer experience.
“We’re also in the process of implementing the Adobe campaign products and we’re about to upgrade our telephony technology,” he said. “We had also outsourced our contact centre but recently decided because we want to put the customer at the heart of what we do, we felt having outsourced solutions for key customer moments was not good enough, so we brought that team in-house.
“In terms of our customers, more and more enquiries are becoming digital and through the mobile phone so we are also regularly tracking those particular trends and ensuring the design of our site and overall strategy is very mobile first.”
As part of Burns’ role, he is responsible for customer experience and technology and within the technology team, he manages a digital transformation team, which is now looking at these key platforms and really making sure the business is leveraging those tech investments.
“One of the things I’ve certainly found is that these platforms are very powerful and have a lot to offer, but many organisations fall into the trap of not really understanding what they’ve bought and don’t necessarily make the most out of those investments,” he explained. “So we work very closely with our partners such as Salesforce, Adobe and Microsoft to make sure our teams are really well trained so we get the most out of those investments.”
Leveraging cloud-based technology to improve broker management
As a large and well known mortgage broker brand in Australia, Burns claims Aussie still believes there is more potential for growth and believes this can be achieved through its brokers, especially in a very competitive environment.
“So what we’re doing is ensuring our brokers have a better experience, and ultimately, that we give our end customers a better experience,” he explained.
According to Burns, the company’s sales leaders are out there in their roles to find, recruit, train, coach and get the best out of our mortgage brokers and effectively help our brokers build their own businesses, because they are all franchisees.
“But the challenge was that while the company had a lot of information about our brokers, it was very difficult for our sales leaders to get a holistic picture of their brokers and accessibility and usability of all that data was a challenge as well,” he said.
So far Aussie has integrated the Salesforce Wave Analytics platform and will be soon integrating more Salesforce technology to help service its brokers better.
“Using Salesforce’s analytics cloud enables the sales leader to gain deeper insights into how individual brokers are performing and get a very accurate view of business performance, what their pipeline is like,” he said. “So our sales leaders have all the information at their fingertips and are far more productive.
“We also have our own CRM systems which the brokers use to service the end customer, but our implementation is very much focused on how Aussie head office can provide a much better service for our brokers, because we also see them as our customers.”
Transformation begins with a cultural shift
Internally, Burns revealed the digital transformation shift fits in with the wider cultural change of recently moving offices.
“In the process of moving offices, we’ve decided not just to move officers, but to change the way we work, by adopting much more agile processes – and not just for technology but for all parts of the business,” he said.
“We’re embracing different ways of working, trying to reduce the number of meetings we have and increasing the level of collaboration we have by creating very different spaces than what we have in a traditional office space.
And just like any internal shift, Burns stressed you’ll have your early adopters and you’ll have your laggards, but ultimately it’s up to the business to manage that change and really show staff how using this technology will actually make their jobs much more fulfilling, allowing them to get better customer outcomes and getting closer to the customer– which is something Aussie is really passionate about.
“To move this forward, we’re looking at a number of personal productivity tools, which will also help out teams make the most of the technology that exists – and that is a big cultural change and a big change to the way many people have worked,” he added. “We’re also moving away from a lot of administrative tasks and trying to automate those to allow us to focus on what’s really important.”