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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   April 2011

Improve Back-Office Performance

Enterprise workforce management can fine-tune operational efficiencies

When it comes to staffing requirements and operational-performance goals, mortgage companies differ vastly. By ensuring you have the proper number and types of employees scheduled to manage your back office at any given time, you can meet your company’s challenges.

Commercial mortgage brokers and originators looking to tighten and strengthen their back-office operations can benefit greatly from enterprise workforce management. The solutions offered can improve your efficiency, ease performance tracking and enhance your customers’ front-office experiences. This is especially true for mortgage brokerages that lack visibility into what they needed yesterday, last week or last season. This historical information offers critical insights and helps facilitate accurate forecasting.

As you likely realize, the customer experience doesn’t stop with the contact center. It includes business processes that take place in the back office, as well. These include application processing, business administration and decisionmaking.

Commercial mortgage companies that forecast properly and schedule back-office employees efficiently can:

  • Advance the quality of their operation;
  • Enhance customer experiences;
  • Increase operating efficiency;
  • Lift productivity; and
  • Reduce attrition.

It’s also important to track adherence in real time and to streamline the work flow between the front and back offices. All this can be accomplished with enterprise workforce management.

Automation and integration

Think of forecasting and scheduling as the central nervous system of your enterprise. Continuing this analogy, consider enterprise workforce management as the brain that keeps everything in good working order.

Enterprise workforce management automates manual processes, integrates data collected from employee computers, improves forecast accuracy, enables managers to view and manage resource capacity, and empowers employees to improve their own performance.

Good performance management enables executives to:

  • Track how well employees stick to schedules and work toward achieving objectives;
  • Make smarter decisions about staffing;
  • Aggregate all performance data in a single database;
  • Improve employee performance by addressing skill gaps;
  • Increase efficiency and reduce costs by automating routine tasks; and
  • Report on performance hourly, daily or weekly.

For example, by using screen capture to generate data about average handle times for specific back-office functions, you can better forecast your future and ongoing needs. You also can refine your processes.

With real-time analytics, managers and supervisors will find it easier to see how their organization is performing against established targets and goals. These analytics can be broken down by employee or by key performance indicators.

But be forewarned: As new technology becomes available, many companies implement multiple solutions, hoping to solve business challenges. Instead, they often end up with a loosely integrated group of disparate systems. When various solutions don’t work together, new challenges arise and costs increase

Technology and staffing inefficiencies, poor performance quality and a lack of real-time data can cause trouble. To avoid these problems, you may want to partner with a technology expert.

Key functions

Some of the key functions of enterprise workforce management include:

  • Integrating with desktop process-management software to calculate average handle times automatically;
  • Calculating the number of employees needed to process work items in single and multisite environments;
  • Supporting scheduling;
  • Optimizing task assignments; and
  • Using sophisticated algorithms to create schedules that ensure the right number of employees are scheduled to handle the predicted workload based on service-level goals.

Moreover, back-office workforce management enables you to:

  • Reduce administrative time and increase supervisor productivity by automating and streamlining manual tasks associated with forecasting and managing resource capacity;
  • Manage resources more effectively and reduce costs associated with overtime and overstaffing by improving forecast accuracy;
  • Increase employee satisfaction and reduce attrition by empowering employees to self-manage scheduling and time-off requests;
  • Improve employee productivity by leveraging comprehensive data for assessing performance, identifying skill gaps and measuring improvement; and
  • Improve customer satisfaction by streamlining back-office tasks such as application approval, claims processing and order fulfillment.

Optimal performance

When seeking technology solutions to help improve your strategic planning and enhance back-office efficiency, look for:

  • Data collection that associates average handle times with various tasks and types of interactions;
  • Performance indicators and metrics that assess individual, department and business performance;
  • Scorecards that assess current and past performance;
  • Performance dashboards that offer quick and in-depth reviews; and
  • Reporting that can be customized for managers, supervisors and executives.

Great customer experiences flow from front- and back-office activities, especially in the mortgage industry. To achieve and maintain optimal performance, your company and its employees must be fine-tuned periodically. 

When used effectively, enterprise workforce management can keep you and your business on track and moving smoothly.


 


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