Single Point of Contact-Not the Best Idea

  • By Rodney Carey

Quick regulation is rarely great regulation.  This will ultimately prove true for Single Point of Contact (SPOC).

The idea of a single individual as liaison for a borrower looking to avoid default is a brilliant core concept if the only problem is to simplify the process of navigating the “waterfall” of options currently available.

But that is not the only problem – not by a long shot.

The industry, which has traditionally been slow to adopt technology, is built on a business model of predictive dialers for outbound contact and call center queue-style automation for inbound contact.

These systems then assign a customer service agent to the next borrower in line.  This practice has servicing shops allocating as many as 300 borrowers per customer service agent.  Think about that. Do the math. Not an easy workload.

Think about the sheer magnitude of calls any one person will be responsible for handling. The way SPOC would work, each customer service agent would have a case load of 60-70 borrowers.  To account for this shift in assignable work load literally thousands of people are needed to be hired by servicers and trained in a very short period of time.

Who pays for this?  Isn’t the system overburdened enough?

Let’s think about this. You can hire people, but what happens when they realize the myriad computer systems and data types don’t communicate?  The industry will then be looking at billions of dollars in IT costs plus time to integrate everything to a workable state.

More mess.

Instead, we should re-evaluate the current broken path and incorporate a requirement for significantly better “self-help” processes for borrowers.

It can be difficult to get a live person on the phone when your call dumps you in a queue and you wait for the “next available agent.” There may be relief in knowing the name of the one person who can help you, but if all you do is trade voice mails with that person, you’re no better off than borrowers today.

If the goal is to improve the borrower experience and make it easier to explore their options, we should consider automating processes to alleviate the huge margin of error possible in relying solely on human contact.

We need a solution that allows a borrower to supply information one time, in one central repository, which all departments for a servicer can access in real-time.  The questions being asked are the right ones; we should consider how we can better aid the borrower.

But any solution must also be scalable, easy to implement and cost-effective in order to be successful.  As laid out today, SPOC sounds good but will cause more problems than it can possibly solve and cost the industry more.