Title & escrow companies are facing many challenges when it comes to meeting the changing demands of today’s housing market. Efficiency during real estate transactions is key to meeting these demands, as any operational bottlenecks can delay or derail a transaction. Building a strategy to identify opportunities for automation can help title & escrow companies meet client expectations for a streamlined and efficient process. 

At the 2022 Future of Real Estate Summit (FORES22), Cara Tomain, Strategic Customer Success Manager at Qualia, and James Varley, Services Account Director at Qualia, discussed how title & escrow companies can identify opportunities for automation—specifically when working with vendors—to create more streamlined workflows. 

How automation can help title & escrow businesses grow and scale

Automation is a powerful tool that can help title & escrow companies provide faster closing times, scale vendor management, and simplify orders. For example, in Qualia Marketplace, a national network that connects title & escrow companies with closing service vendors, users can automate many interactions with vendors to improve turn times and simplify processes. 

Automating small tasks, such as opening orders with vendors, can create substantial time savings when taken at scale. For example, Qualia Marketplace users report that processors save an average of 40 minutes per file. Creating an automation strategy that identifies and automates repetitive tasks can help title & escrow companies leverage technology to ​​speed up closings, improve turn times, and prevent delays

An effective automation strategy enables processors to save time by reducing manual tasks like ordering services and sending status updates. Some of the top benefits of automation during closings include:

  • Simplified processes: Automation reduces manual effort and creates a predictable, standard process to streamline workflows. With a consistent process, agents can focus less on checking off small tasks and remembering to complete certain steps and instead take more time to deliver personalized communication to clients. 
  • More intuitive ordering: Title & escrow companies use automations to simplify the ordering process and save processors time. Tomain explained that by reducing manual steps and creating easy-to-follow processes, businesses can manage high volume, eliminate bottlenecks, and execute closings at scale. 
  • The ability to quickly scale into new states and regions: Automations can help businesses expand into new markets by automating small decision-making tasks, such as which local vendor to use based on specific transaction criteria. Varley explained that Qualia Marketplace users can customize automations based on a client’s location and other factors to ultimately reduce errors and simplify the transaction.
  • Improved employee experience: Automation can help title & escrow companies retain talent by enabling a smoother process that puts less strain on staff. Reducing manual tasks can also improve the onboarding experience and decrease the time it takes to get new employees up and running. 

How to identify opportunities for automation 

Identifying opportunities to automate certain tasks starts with solid reporting. For example, in the case of automating interactions with vendors, title companies can leverage vendor performance metrics to uncover insights such as top-performing vendors, turn time trends, and the average cost per order. Title & escrow companies can use these insights to find automation opportunities and scale vendor operations.

One way title & escrow companies can leverage vendor reporting is by identifying top-performing vendors based on turnaround times and five-star ratings. After identifying top vendors, businesses can prioritize them for future orders. In Qualia Marketplace, users can tag top performing vendors as Preferred Vendors and then set up rule-based automations with Automatic Ordering. These automations give Qualia users the power to manage vendors efficiently and improve closing speed. 

Reporting also provides more transparency when it comes to vendor performance. Centralizing vendor reporting can help businesses compare vendors with the same key performance indicators (KPIs) and identify automation opportunities. For example, Qualia Marketplace users can compare performance metrics for 2 different vendors based on KPIs like price, share of spend, and average turn times. If both vendors have identical performance, users can set up percentage-based or round robin allocation to split future orders equally between the two vendors. If one vendor outperforms the other, users can prioritize the top-performing vendor for future orders. 

Automation gives title & escrow companies the flexibility to create a customized strategy that works for their team and clients. It’s also very adaptable, enabling businesses to alter their strategy based on recent performance and market trends. 

Considerations when implementing an automation strategy 

After identifying automation opportunities, the next step is implementing them. Implementing an automation strategy requires a company mindset that celebrates efficiency as a time-saving opportunity for staff rather than a way to replace staff. Businesses can improve the success of their automation strategies by collaborating with internal teams to create processes and then following a few best practices during implementation.

  1. Communicate major changes with relevant parties: If automations are changing certain processes with clients, partners, and staff, make sure to clearly communicate these changes. Tomain and Varley also recommended setting up automations during off-hours to test that any new automations are set up correctly. Once automations are created in Qualia Marketplace, they will be triggered when the next order is submitted. 
  2. Start with a simple automation strategy: While automations can provide time savings for multiple tasks, Varley suggested going with a “leaner automation approach” to start. As teams get more familiar with automations, they can add more complexity to their strategy. 
  3. Continue to use reporting to optimize automations: Reporting isn’t just for identifying initial automation opportunities. It can also help measure the success of an automation strategy once it’s in place and provide data to inform a business strategy in the long term. For example, certain reports can identify missing information that may be preventing automations from firing.

With the right automation and vendor management tools, title & escrow companies can save processing time, improve turn times, and speed up closings. Learn more about Vendor Performance Reports, Automatic Ordering, and other subscription-only features in Qualia Marketplace by speaking with a Qualia specialist today.

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