Title Agency Automation
A friend of ours likes to say that a title agent basically stands at the foot of a snowy mountain. At the top of that mountain are real estate agents, brokers, loan officers, buyers and sellers—each rolling a rock or snowball down the mountain at the title agent. It’s the title agent’s job to collect the resulting avalanche – rocks, snowballs, ice and all kinds of other debris – and somehow turn them into a title insurance policy and smooth real estate closing.
If you think about it, he’s not far off.
Catching the avalanche
Instead of catching a literal avalanche, most title firms have the task of taking orders and collecting key forms and data in a variety of forms. Agents tell us that they receive data everyday via phone, text, email, chat, app, portal…heck, sometimes even hand-written notes or fax. But no matter how it’s received, it’s the title firm’s job to see that the data all goes into the same title production platform and, eventually, finds its way to a smooth and successful closing.
Another friend of ours, an attorney, when asked what he does for a living, often replies “I write emails and talk on the phone all day.” Well, that could describe most title firm employees, too. In the course of gathering the various bits of information, then getting it into their platform, quite a bit of a title agency’s staff end up spending a lot more time staring at emails; mashing their keyboards and leaving follow up voice mails.
But ask a title agent or settlement services firm owner what they do, and they’ll tell you something along the lines of selling title insurance policies and facilitating compliant and successful closings. Others might even tell you they’re at the center of the real estate transaction, which is true if you accept the “capture the avalanche” theory!
What is “great service?”
So why do so many title agents still cling to the notion that typing emails and leaving voice mails is actually “high touch” or “personalized” service? Especially when that manual activity is done far away from the eyes and ears of the buyer, seller or REALTOR.
If anything, automating the routine tasks (order entry, creating net sheets or closing cost estimates, routine communications, processing) of a title business only creates more time for its employees to have meaningful or more complex conversations with clients and partners. Instead of being nose-down in a keyboard or scrutinizing three computer monitors, a title staffer has more time to follow up with recent customers. Or maybe even work on creating a relationship with the new brokerage across town.
Effective automation using tools such as Alanna doesn’t eliminate jobs or take real estate professionals away from their clients. Exactly the opposite. Good automation eliminates the necessary evils that a title firm must get through in order to complete the closing experience, but which, if anything, take the employees away from the most important elements of service, production or sales. It emancipates the team from the repetitive little tasks that take time, but have to be done right—at the expense of quality time with prospects or clients.
Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a little less time trying to catch the avalanche and a little more time having more important conversations with the folks at the top of that mountain? Maybe then, more title agents could say that what they are and what they do are just about the same thing.