A financial services provider which prides itself on exceptional customer service has benefited from a low-code/no-code automation solution accelerating the speed and accuracy of essential electronic communications. Designed and delivered by Lancom, the automation solution processes thousands of emails arriving at Inovayt’s shared inbox, routing them to the right people. In the process, the solution saves time, alleviates people from tedious manual work, and contributes to improved regulatory compliance. These factors directly contribute to the customer service performance on which Inovayt differentiates its financial services offerings.
Founded in 2007 by Nick Reilly and Renee Kiley, Inovayt has grown from a mortgage broking business to one of Australia’s most reputable independently owned financial services companies. The company has more than 40 team members, four offices nationally and a commercial division servicing the needs of its clients. It has a perfect score of 5 on Google Reviews from more than 370 unprompted individuals.
As a busy organisation with a nationwide reach, a good deal of Inovayt’s work is done electronically, including the exchange of documents related to customer applications for finance, related legal documentation, and from real estate agents, vehicle dealerships and other parties. These emails are sent to an aggregate administrative inbox with a single standard address; this ensures all email comes into the company, but it has its limitations, explains Inovayt operations manager Alex Bryce. “There are literally hundreds of emails every day, so the challenge is identifying whose work is what with all that traffic.”
Initially this was done simply by providing mailbox access to the seven staff members who needed it. “Basically, we manually triaged it. But that started getting strenuous as the volume increased. It was also potentially error prone and can add time to the process; you really don’t want a missed email when, for example, a house is settling within three days.”
Inability to automate with current systems
Working across 45 regular lenders and any number of solicitors and a constant stream of new customers meant Outlook rules were not capable of automating email routing, notes Bryce. “We did give it a go, but it wasn’t possible as you don’t have a unique identifier for emails as the addresses aren’t consistent; it’s a bit of a bowl of spaghetti,” he says. “But knowing it needed attention meant we even considered hiring a dedicated person just for sorting through the email inbox and making sure nothing went missing, and everything went to the right person so our Service Level Agreements wouldn’t be compromised.”
That didn’t sit well with Bryce or his team. “Apart from the cost involved, it just wouldn’t be a very nice job; we like people working on more interesting things,” he quips.
Lancom came to the company’s attention and after an evaluation of the issue, Lancom proposed a low-code/no-code business process automation solution based on Microsoft Power Automate and an Azure Functions app. Over the course of two months, it built an automation which all but removes the need for Bryce’s team to investigate the email inbox manually. “It wasn’t a solid two months of work; Lancom took time working with us for clarity, identifying precisely what we needed and how best to go about it,” he explains.
As a result, there are two parts to the solution. The first is email centralization and elimination of any incoming mail which doesn’t belong in the target mailbox. “If a builder emails us, for example, it has nothing to do with the financial application process, so it goes elsewhere,” Bryce explains.
The second part involves the creation of a unique identifier which allows isolation and then routing of the mails to the correct recipient. “This required building and maintaining a dynamic list; essentially, Power Automate looks at the list and the unique identifier – which is the lender reference number – and forwards the email on to the right recipient.”
Not only does the system recognise the folder to which every item must go, it also copies all documentation to Inovayt’s SharePoint folder. The latter step is essential for compliance, says Bryce. “The law requires document retention. It’s a tedious manual job that nobody likes, but it is also crucial in our line of business.”
Working with Lancom, he notes, was rewarding, with clarity from start to finish. “They respond rapidly, too. When something unrelated to the system caused an upset, they were right there with same day service, sorting it out.”
Thanks to the automated inbox, Bryce says each member of his team of 7 saves at least 45 minutes every day. “We’re processing information efficiently and that means everyone has more time to look after customers,” he comments.
Ability to focus efforts on more important tasks
But that is only one aspect of the advantages of targeted automation. He cites improved compliance, reduced stress, and an improved workplace. “Let’s be honest, nobody wants to sort email or copy stuff across a network, even when it is important. Our approach is automating where possible, so we can remove these sorts of burdens from people – and letting people focus where their efforts make the most difference. It’s a huge gain not having to worry about compliance, and not worrying about missing anything that might impact customer service.”
Reduction in 'busy work'
Like any automation, he says maintenance is required, along with a level of oversight; there will be and are exceptions which must be manually handled, but there is a dramatic and measurable reduction in ‘busy work’.
Ready for more automation
Describing the engagement with Lancom as a resounding success, Bryce says the experience has buoyed confidence in the power of automation, with plans to extend the solution to other parts of the business. “We’ve had a few new staff members who haven’t experienced the old way of handling emails; rolling back to that would probably cause World War 3!’ he quips” “But seriously, this saves my team time and energy, it removes a burden and allows them to focus on client service instead. There’s no question Lancom has delivered exceptional value for money.”
Business Process Automation
Microsoft Power Automate
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