Mortgage Choice’s telephony upgrade to RingCentral Office delivered immediate quality improvements and operational benefits and ushers in future integration and innovation opportunities for its franchisees, brokers and customers.
Mortgage Choice was established in 1992 by co-founders Rod Higgins and Peter Higgins, who had a vision of building a national network of ethical, credible and professional mortgage brokers who local communities could trust. The company, acquired by REA Group (ASX: REA) on 1 July 2021, has evolved into a national network of professional mortgage brokers. Mortgage Choice currently supports 430 franchises, more than 600,000 customers and a loan book above $54.3 billion and growing.
In April 2021, Mortgage Choice’s existing telephony contract was due to expire. The system in operation was a hosted virtualised IP PABX with SIP trunk services that connected each of its offices and 120 staff – but it had become unreliable. It didn’t allow for any integration with the applications being used by the company’s dedicated marketing, back office and contact centre teams. Those applications include Google Workspace, Zendesk for ticketing and HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics for CRM. The system had downtime issues and was not flexible to effectively adapt to a work-from-anywhere operating model.
Following a five-year strategic centralisation program to consolidate data centres and cloud providers, cloud-based unified communications as a service – UCaaS – was seen as the ideal telephony replacement, explains Vincent ten Krooden, General Manager Technology at Mortgage Choice:
“A cloud-native platform, where we don’t have to build anything, is the obvious choice. It’s not just the features that are available today; it’s the degree to which the cloud platform and its enhanced functionality will take us in the future.”
“And, when we go to market, we choose the best – which is why RingCentral came into play.”
RingCentral Office was recommended by technology consultancy Coevolve. The key RingCentral Office features that initially appealed to Mortgage Choice were the single cost-effective cloud platform combining applications, PABX and carrier services; the ability of the platform to integrate natively with Google Workspace, Zendesk, Dynamics and HubSpot; call recording; and basic contact centre functionality built into the core UCaaS product. The RingCentral platform’s compliance with APRA’s Prudential Standard CPS 234 – Information Security was also a factor.
One of the additional benefits from the deployment of RingCentral has been the opportunity for Mortgage Choice to add further value to its franchisees.
The centralisation program has already derived considerable improvements for franchisees by consolidating and standardised the applications being used, including loan origination systems, workflow management, CRM and digital signature technologies.
For franchisees, that’s translated into cost savings and an enhanced and consistent user experience and customer experience that’s aligned to and leverages the Mortgage Choice brand.
With RingCentral, Mortgage Choice is now able to offer its franchisees access to a shared UCaaS platform that avoids the additional administrative overheads and costs of setting up their own PABX, with access to enhanced unified communications features at a competitive cost point based on the negotiated rates under Mortgage Choice’s master agreement. The common platform also taps into the integrations and innovation already developed, including Mortgage Choice’s automated lead allocation engine, which allocates leads via the web or phone channel to a certain broker in a certain marketing area within seconds, 24 hours a day. Mortgage Choice plans to build on this capability with RingCentral.
“Through our phone channel, another part of our RingCentral integration that we want to explore is that when we receive a call into our contact centre, a screen pop will tell us if that’s an existing customer or not. If they are existing, we can instantly transfer them through to their broker, and if they are a new customer, assign that lead based on our allocation engine,” said ten Krooden.
“Both the broker experience and the customer experience are enhanced because with RingCentral, it’s a richer conversation from the outset, and it’s all recorded, and we have detailed reporting on all our calls as well.”