Could the labor shortage be a good thing for the title industry?

Labor Shortage -

One of the many strange features of the post (late-stage?) pandemic landscape has been a wide spread labor shortage. We see it in restaurants, stores, entertainment venues…just about anywhere that requires people-powered service to keep the doors open. Sadly, in many cases, those doors are closing for lack of employees. 

A title agency isn’t often compared to a restaurant or coffee shop, but it very much requires quite a bit of people-fueled service to bring about the end product of an insured and legal home closing. That’s been true since title insurance came into being. Ask a title agent where most of his or her cost comes from, and labor/staffing/training will certainly be among the highest costs. 

We’ve talked quite a bit here about the opportunities to save time and cost by adopting effective technologies in the title business. We’ve also celebrated the growing acceptance of that need. For so long, the industry has bemoaned the generally poor margins inherent to running a title agency. And yet, when offered new technologies to automate the process, a host of reasons (more than a few valid) why things are done “the way we’ve always done them” tends to be raised.

We haven’t seen much coverage on this yet. And the title industry can be a tough place to collect accurate data, especially when we’re talking about staffing and resources. But we’d wager that, like many other service businesses, title agents are finding it a little harder to find, train and keep good employees these days. We’d also bet the pressure will be rising on agents to push back on their costs as the purchase market evolves…or possibly even starts to shrink.

We’ve said again and again, but good customer service doesn’t always have to come from another human—especially when response time and accuracy is far more important to the client than hearing “please” and “thank you.” As we’ve said before, most REALTORS and buyers/sellers care far less about who’s telling them where the closing is than they do about how fast (and how accurately) they get that information. Now, at a time when there may well be fewer trained title employees to make those calls and send those emails, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to hand that process off to a single, AI-powered employee instead?