The global CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software market is forecast to grow to $40.26 billion in size by 2023. In 2019, SaaS or cloud-based CRM solutions accounted for 75% of the CRM marketplace spend. 

The growing affinity towards SaaS CRM is the result of the immense benefits it brings over on-premise CRM software.

Before we dig into details, let’s look at the basics.

What is cloud-based CRM?

A cloud-based CRM is a CRM software that is hosted on the cloud. Cloud hosting means the on-demand availability of software services. Users can access the cloud CRM from any device and location. One of the remarkable benefits of cloud-based CRMs is mobility. Moreover, in SaaS products, your service provider takes care of everything – from data management to hosting, while you can focus on your core business. 

CRM has evolved over the years from an on-premise version to a cloud-based version and it has proven to be more accessible, cost-effective, reliable, and secure

Difference between on-premise and cloud CRMs.

In this article, we will cover the benefits of cloud-based CRM. It will make your CRM search and evaluation simpler and faster. Also, you will know the hosting option that will best suit your business structure. 

1. Security

While buying software, security is always the topmost concern of every organization. You might be skeptical about storing databases on the internet. But the cloud is a safe place to store your data. It is also reliable in cases of server breakdowns, as the data has a backup on the cloud. Business spokespersons have listed the following as their key concerns in terms of security.

Software security concerns
SWZD: The 2021 State of IT

Now, you might think that your data is at risk due to the chances of cyber-attacks and phishing. But, with SSL encryptions and Information Security Management System (ISMS) compliances, your data is safe on the cloud. Contrary to how it may seem, even in-house CRM cannot ensure cloud-level security.

2. Maintenance

Most of the business users find software maintenance as a pressing concern. Not only do they need to suspend business activities, but also take care of data migration during feature updates. Some of the factors that make in-house software maintenance difficult are:

  1. Negligence in the use of programming standards and protocols
  2. Outdated programming techniques
  3. System implementation gaps
  4. Missed prototyping during the initial development phases
  5. Human resource transitions when the developers leave the organization or transit into a new role
  6. Incomplete testing during deployment
  7. Lack of scalability and customization options
  8. Product developed to satisfy immediate needs without considering the entire business vision.

Maintenance is where cloud-based CRM outshines on-premise further. Every software requires regular upgrades and fixes to adapt to dynamic user preferences. In such situations, your service provider takes complete care of the upgrades, within a much shorter time and typically at no extra cost . It also eliminates the need for in-house developers who build, monitor, and maintain the servers. In general, 17% of businesses plan to move to the “as-a-Service” model to save maintenance costs.

3. Mobility

Imagine yourself in a situation where you need to give real-time updates to your boss about a customer. Here, you might choose to talk to your boss on your mobile phone. But the question is – do you have the exact information? What if you are not on your desk?

This problem will not be a problem if your CRM is flexible enough to provide you real-time information irrespective of your location. A mobile CRM app will not only give you flexibility but also increase your team’s efficiency by fast document collection, real-time sales reports, quick customer servicing, and agent-location tracking.

The CRM software hosted in the cloud serves the benefits of mobility. Cloud CRM automatically syncs data between mobile and web. Therefore, no matter what device you use, or wherever you are – the information will always be at your disposal.

Along with mobility, Cloud CRM also ensures data transparency. In instances when you are not available, your manager or other team members can access shared reports and customer information (within their access rights), thus eliminating dependencies due to the non-availability of the team members.

4. Scalability

The motto “we grow together” is only possible if you have a CRM system in place which scales according to your needs. Once you start expanding, an on-premise CRM might not be able to map your entire business process. On-premise CRMs generally have limited customizations and functionalities. Whereas you can scale up or down a cloud-based CRM anytime according to your business performance. Your service provider handles all the implementation changes without disturbing your ongoing process.

When you scale up, you might need additional tools for customer service, marketing automation, sales force automation, knowledge management, channel management, and call center management. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for business transformation towards the cloud to make the remote workforce more effective. The SWZD State of IT 2021 survey reveals that 76% of businesses plan on long-term IT changes. Leaders are planning to increase their cloud and managed service spending and reduce hardware spending.

5. Cost

According to the LinkedIn State of Sales survey 2019, 64% of sales professionals report using CRM tools. Overall, CRM adoption has grown 113% since 2016. 

Basis the scale of your enterprise, you might want to build an in-house CRM. But it will incur extra costs and efforts in hiring developers, buying hardware, and maintaining servers. Most small to mid-size businesses estimate their monthly cost per user is around 60-70$ for a cloud CRM. Whereas, a licensed version may cost about $3000, with extra upfront costs for maintenance.

The approved index also states that on-premise CRM can cost around $650 per user per year, whereas an online CRM will cost only about 350$ per user per year. 

Thus, cloud-based CRMs are cost-effective. Moreover, if your existing CRM SaaS does not meet your business requirements, you can cancel your subscription anytime without any grave expense. 

6. Customization

There are many service providers in the market, such as Salesforce, LeadSquared, Zoho, and Sugar CRM. Only some of these allow customization according to your requirements at reasonable costs. Moreover, with some products, you need not pay for the features you do not need. Software shopping has now become like grocery shopping, where you have the freedom to pick and choose the items of your choice.

For example, in LeadSquared, you have the choices for field force automation, sales execution CRM, marketing automation, call center CRM and self-serve portals. You can choose the product and browse plans according to your business needs and budget.

LeadSquared Cloud CRM products
Source: LeadSquared
Compare plans and pricing

7. Host environment

While considering the cloud CRM, your concern about hosting is obvious. Many vendors provide a ready-to-use hosting environment on a monthly/annual fee basis to run your CRM portal. Many vendors also tie-up with cloud service providers like AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, to name some.

In the on-premise software, you will need to use local resources (office intranet) or virtual private servers and personal hardware. Thus, there is a cost associated with hosting as well in the on-premise software. Cloud CRM completely eliminates the hardware cost. You can choose the hosting environment provided by the vendor or the above cloud service providers. This way, you can avoid the technical aspects and complications of setting your own hosting.

Concluding Remarks

Well, by now, you must be clear about the type of CRM that is best for your business. ISMS compliant, cloud-based CRM is your go-to option. If you are looking for the above capabilities in a CRM, then you can try LeadSquared, which is a cloud-based CRM custom-built for B2C enterprises and SMBs. You can also request your personalized demo.


The present business landscape is very competitive. Consumers have hundreds of options similar to your product or service. In such circumstances, the quality of your products can differentiate you from your competitors. Ensuring better quality can be a game-changer for your business. And this is where quality management comes into the picture.

What is Quality Management System

Let’s take an example. You want to buy a smartphone. Whether you search online or visit a store, you’ll find a cluster of brands showcasing their products for every price range. Here, which one will you buy? In general, you’ll compare the quality, price, availability of service, and brand reputation to make a decision.

Quality management is a must-have asset to incline consumer decisions in your company’s favor. It ensures better products and services and helps you elevate your reputation in the market.

So here is a detailed explanation of Quality Management.

What is Quality Management?

The quality management process ensures that the quality of your product/service is as per the market standards. If you start looking at every sale/service from a human standpoint, you’ll realize why consumers chose a particular product. The quality of your sales and service processes determines whether a consumer will buy your product or competitors.

According to the PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey, 54% of consumers from the United States say that customer experience at most companies needs improvement. When it comes to making purchase decisions, consumers consider their experience with a company’s sales and services.

customer experience statistics - Global
Source: PwC

What is Sales Service Quality?

Sales Service Quality determines how effectively your sales agents are helping consumers with resolution requests or buying decisions. It is critical to the selling process, which often goes unnoticed in the quest for more revenue.

Let’s say a prospect is looking to buy a health insurance policy and wants to compare plans. The prospect will reach out to an insurance aggregator, where the first point of contact is a telesales agent. The agent must ask the right questions to understand the prospect’s needs. He/She will also need to know the various plans available to be able to suggest the most appropriate one. The key idea here is to make sure that the buyer gets what he needed to buy and not what the agent wants to sell. This thin line of perception can be the make or break factor.

Where does Quality Management come in?

Accepting the fact that sales service quality is essential is one half of the puzzle. To improve anything, you must evaluate it first. Quality management identifies critical touchpoints and evaluates them regularly to achieve a desired standard of excellence.

sales service quality management

In simple words, quantifying quality corresponds to understanding which sales parameters have a lasting effect on the customer and accessing them to improve customer experience. While there are a lot of ways to get started with quality management, the best one to start with is to decode the term – quality.

Quantifying Quality

Measuring intangibles or subjective items can lead to uncertainties. To avoid this, you can try and convert an aim for better quality into measurable smaller pieces. You can achieve this in three simple steps:

Step 1: The starting point would be to identify the concerned teams. While the focus here is generally on the tele-callers and field sales executives, you can extend it to any group of sales/service personnel. When you think on the lines of “Who in my company is making an impact on the customer,” it will become easier to pick the right teams.

Step 2: After setting up the teams, the next action would be to deep dive into their daily activities and understand who has a telling effect on consumers. You can evaluate the executives based on their knowledge about the product and their communications with the prospects. Depending on the type of sale, you can assess the tone of the agent, rapport building skills, and negotiation ability.

Step 3: After identifying the line items, the final task will be to assign some weightage to each of them. Here, your understanding of “what’s most important for your end-user” will play a huge role. You must weigh each line item as per its impact on the consumer and your sales cycle. A disproportionate/incorrect weightage can potentially render the entire exercise futile.

How can a Quality Management System (QMS) add value?

A system that helps you define, manage & evaluate your quality parameters is a QMS. It is of great help to the Sales Quality Audit Team.

Generally, organizations use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to assign leads to sales agents. The most common method for lead allocation is Round-Robin. It involves allocating prospects to every salesperson based on defined parameters like availability, domain, location, to name some. CRMs maintain sales agents’ activities history with your leads as well as call logs and meeting notes and pass all this information to the QMS.

QMS provides separate access & view for your audit team. Once the auditors have consolidated leads’ information, their task would be to assess the quality of these activities. For example, you can check the call quality of tele-callers, meeting notes from field executives, and other touchpoints. This assessment is quantitative so that the audit managers have a solid idea of things that need improvement. Also, this is a closed feedback loop to ensure that sales agents follow the suggestions from the audit team and apply the learnings.

Center for Economic and Business Research reveals that every dollar invested in Quality Management solutions results in $16 in cost reduction. In a nutshell, you can leverage the following benefits with a Quality Management approach:

  1. Reduce expensive mistakes
  2. Optimize the use of time and resources and increase employee productivity
  3. Improve customer satisfaction
  4. Market your product/service more effectively
  5. Analyze your product-market fit and incorporate required enhancements
  6. Regularly improve your products, services, and processes.
  7. Utilize improvement and learnings for new-employee training.

Also read – Call-center quality assurance best practices

Do you really need one more system on top of your existing ones?

Now that you have understood the essence of quality management and the role played by a QMS, there is one final issue left to address.

Almost all organizations tend to have multiple systems to help with different areas of their business. Adding a new one – though it has immense benefits – can make the tool’s adoption quite hard and cause discomfort among the internal users. Thus, organizations are trying to leverage their existing LMS/CRM to perform quality management tasks instead of going for a dedicated QMS. It makes a lot of sense for business as it avoids the hassle of using multiple tools. It can help organizations ensure that all the teams are on one platform keeping the productivity intact. Considering not all CRMs are robust enough to act as a QMS, its crucial to choose one which can add value to your company.

Summary:

Sales service quality is crucial for building a better connection with your buyer. Once the required activities and touchpoints are identified and weighted, any sales personnel can come under the quality management umbrella. With the help of a QMS, you can achieve better sales and service quality. However, the best deal is to leverage your existing CRM for quality management.

Explore CRM with QMS


FAQs

What is agile quality management?

Agile quality management indicates the business’ priority on satisfying the customer through early and continuous delivery. The closed feedback loop is at the core of agile quality management. It ensures continuous improvement of products and services until the customer is satisfied.

What are the 7 principles of quality management?

ISO 9001:2015 outlines a series of quality standards including:
1. Customer centricity
2. Process-based approach
3. Continuous improvement
4. Evidence-based decision making
5. Relationship management
6. Customer engagement
7. Leadership

What is in a Quality Management System (QMS)?

A QMS is a formal system for accessing and processing documents, procedures, and responsibilities to achieve quality objectives.


Further reading:

“Sound strategy starts with having the right goal,” says Michael Eugene Porter, a renowned American academic and business strategist. Despite clear goals, the admission strategy for schools is a little complex as it involves educating, engaging, and influencing parents and students at multiple touchpoints.

Admission strategy for schools

Want to cut to the chase? Get enrollment tips directly from the top 6 industry experts.

Until last year, students preferred taking admission to a school that is closest to their residence. And then COVID happened. Suddenly everything went digital. Online learning became the new normal, and admissions from regional candidates took a downturn. Distance education started seeming just fine.

The prevailing situation has impacted schools and colleges the most. However, there is an upside. While distance is no longer a constraint for students to enroll in a course, it shouldn’t be for colleges either. The right approach can encourage students from different geographies to consider your school and boost admissions. How?

We spoke to the directors and admission heads of training schools and colleges about how they are keeping up the admission rates during this pandemic time. The respondents acknowledged that digital media and admission management platforms are of great help.

However, strategic deployment is how schools are achieving their targets. So we compiled a 5-step admission strategy for schools. I hope these admission ideas will help you too.

A 5-step admission strategy for schools

1. Leverage digital platforms

On average, Americans spend more than 6.31 hours on the internet daily. Lockdowns and social distancing have further increased digital content consumption. Thus, digital is the best way to reach out to your prospective students.

The most used media among teenagers are Instagram (25%), Facebook (24%), Snapchat (22%), and Youtube (16%), followed by Twitter and other media. Fortunately, all these media allow targeted advertisements on their platforms. You should reach out to your students through the channels of their preference and platforms where they are most active.

But first, you will need thorough user research. You can also start well ahead of admissions time and split test on different platforms. This way, you will know which medium works for you, and accordingly, plan your campaigns. Few things to keep in mind here:

  1. Engage with students. Reciprocate their interactions. For example, if it’s a negative comment, address it. If it’s a positive comment, appreciate it. Social media is all about two-way communication.
  2. Brainstorm on the messaging. Whether you are just testing the waters, or you are about to roll a campaign – be clear with your messaging. Do you want to create urgency? Do you care about your student’s future? Ensure that you convey the message well in your ad copy.
  3. Be prepared for the next step. Keep your website ready. Make sure the prospect lands on the correct page after clicking the ad.
Landing Page Guide

Are you looking for landing page design inspirations for inquiry forms?
Check out this e-book.

Digital media gives us the liberty of iteration. Unlike print media, we can correct ad copies without much expense. Use this liberty to keep improving your digital impact. Track and measure your efforts and iterate to improve.

Admission Strategy for Schools: Higher education CRM - lead capture automation

Now let us move on to the second step in your strategy for multiplying admissions.

2. Organize inquiries (leads)

Anyone can feel overwhelmed when inquiries start popping in. But the real challenge lies in converting them. Do you want to keep switching between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. to see if you got any inquiry and respond to it? Or will you immediately switch to your email or notification while drafting a response to the previous lead? Remember – multiple channels mean exponential distractions.

You’ll need a centralized system that captures leads from different channels. This way, you need not switch between Facebook or Snapchat to respond to the lead. You can do it from this central system itself. Whatever the media, you’ll be able to send the response. But what exactly is this system?

Administrators call it Education CRM.

CRM corresponds to Customer Relationship Management. The CRM system designed specifically for schools and colleges is called Education CRM. Whenever a student interacts with your website, ad, email, or even calls for information, the CRM system records it. It keeps a tab on all further activities that a prospective student performs like downloading a brochure or syllabus, following your social handle, liking your ad, emailing you for details, playing a video, taking a campus tour, and many more.

Education CRM also segments your leads into different buckets based on parameters like age, location, education status, course preferences, and their activities on your website. It is usually an automated process and helps colleges understand the intent of the prospective student and accordingly prioritize follow-ups.

Once you have organized the inquiries from different sources into a central system, you’re free from the hassle of switching between different platforms. All you need to do now is – assign leads to your admission teams and interact with them.

3. Distribute inquiries

During the peak admission season, large colleges and training schools also sometimes outsource inquiries to call centers. Call centers take care of the initial conversations with prospective students, understand their interests, and mark whether it’s a genuine inquiry or just a casual one. Colleges call this a nurturing stage. Call-center agents pass valid leads to the admissions team. Else, they follow-up further and try to influence the prospect for admission. If how to convince parents for school admission is also a concern, then train your admission officers/call center agents to counsel and inspire parents as well. In this case, only query resolution will not suffice.

Education CRM can automate your inquiry (lead) distribution task as well. Based on the candidates’ profiles and interactions with your campaigns, it assigns scores that help process the distribution task. It determines who can handle the lead – call center or your in-house admissions team. If the system finds a strong prospect, it allocates it directly to the admission team.

Even if you’re not engaged with call-centers to handle inquires, the distribution of leads is still applicable. An admission team consists of several members with different expertise. For example, there will be members who can help candidates with filling an application form. At the same time, you’ll have members who can guide students about financial aid. Moreover, you will also need to determine who is available to attend the call now.

Therefore, based on the nature of the inquiry, the call must be directed to the perfect person to handle it. It will enhance the student experience and build trust.

4. Follow-up and engage with prospective students

Don’t let the communication dry. The prospective student who has dropped a query in your portal would have done the same on many other admission portals. Directors say that calling candidates immediately after receiving their application increases their likelihood of enrolling in a course. Thus, engage with students as soon as they interact with you. If they don’t receive the call, drop a text or an email. If they don’t respond, reach them out through ads, follow-up with them, suggest a counseling session, offer a virtual campus tour; but don’t just give up on a promising candidate because of communication issues.

Here are some ideas to engage with students through digital media. These marketing ideas for school admission are very efficient.

  • Launch social media campaigns and offer rewards for participation
  • Provide interactive virtual campus tours
  • Live chat sessions with trainers, alumni, and existing students (in line with open houses)
  • Provide online counseling sessions and career guidance webinars
  • Introduce short online courses to develop an interest in your curriculum
  • Launch contests or competitions to encourage talent and create awareness about your college.

CRM makes it easy to follow up with candidates

You might wonder if it is possible to follow-up with hundreds of prospective students in a day. Well, if you remember, we spoke about automation a while ago. Education CRMs can automate email, SMS, WhatsApp responses as well. If a prospective student is not responding, you can schedule a follow-up email for next week. If you’ve to call a candidate, you can create a task reminder for your admission team. In short, using CRM, you can accomplish results in hours that could have otherwise taken weeks.

Another challenge you can foresee here is lead scoring and prioritization. Based on prospective students’ activities on your website, social media, and other campaigns, you can prioritize calling them.

First come, first serve is not the best idea as it’s worth investing efforts in talking to engaged and interested candidates first. In Education CRM, you can assign specific scores to specific activities. You can customize the lead scoring method to match your school’s criteria.  

I’ll suggest reading the article on student engagement strategies that highlights some good points in this regard.

Let us move on to the final step of the admission strategy for schools.

5. Make your admission process as simple as possible

Out of thousands of inquiries, only a few take admissions. Many leads do not convert because they could not comply with a tedious admission process. Therefore, make your admission process as simple as possible. Here is how.

  1. Today’s students are digital natives. They are more comfortable applying online instead of standing in queues and filling paper-based forms. You should also adopt a paperless application process to match the preferences of students.
  2. Answer their queries instantly. A self-serve portal or a chatbot on your website can help in resolving multiple inquiries simultaneously. If a student feels stuck while filling the application, he can get an immediate response from the bot. It will also reduce the number of incomplete applications, which will eventually reduce your admissions team’s efforts.
  3. Resolve financial aid inquiries as soon as possible. Since such leads require a counselor, you can schedule a call through a CRM system at a time that is comfortable for the candidate as well as your team member.
  4. Provide complete information on your website about courses, faculties, placements, grants, etc.
  5. Inform the candidates about their application status and notify whenever there is a change. You can also provide a self-serve portal where students can check the status of their applications, important dates, etc. On the self-serve portal, your admission team can step in whenever required.
Higher education CRM - self-serve applications

Education CRM can simplify almost every stage of the admission journey. Even after the enrollment, you can integrate the CRM with the Student Information System (SIS) or Learning Management System (LMS) for classroom engagement.

Useful resource: 6 workflow templates to increase your admission efficiency by 40%

Wrapping up

An effective admission strategy for schools is one that inspires students towards learning right from the beginning. You know that your school is the best, but the potential students might not. A little effort in streamlining the admission strategy for your school can result in ever-increasing enrollments.

Admission software or Education CRMs are the best for making your admission process more efficient. With cloud-based Education CRM, you don’t even need any installation. It is a one-stop automation solution to:

  • Capture inquires from different digital and offline channels
  • Prioritize inquiries based on the candidates’ activities and engagement with your campaigns, content, and website.
  • Map and distribute leads to the admission team members based on their department (general inquiries, counseling, financial aid discussion, etc.) and availability.
  • Schedule follow-up emails and call reminders.
  • Create and launch self-serve portals for paperless applications.
  • Engage with prospective students across the enrollment journey and leverage different touchpoints.

Explore:


Admission FAQs

How to improve school strength?

To improve school strength, you’ll need to plan a strategy focusing on educating, inspiring, and engaging with students and parents. You can also use a School CRM software to manage your enrollment processes.

How to attract students for admission in school?

You can launch digital campaigns to engage with students. Also, counseling sessions with experts or career guidance programs can help in attracting students for admission.

Strategies for increasing student enrollment

The strategy that works for most of the schools includes campaigns to motivate students, respond to student inquiries, use technology and automation, and engage with students. Read 10 practical tips for increasing student enrollment.

NBFCs have been instrumental in filling the credit availability gaps and supporting SMEs and Professionals, who were underserved by the banking institutions.

However, today, NBFCs are facing stiff competition from micro-lending companies and FinTech start-ups venturing into the INR 118 trillion Indian formal credit market. FinTechs have already been successful in capturing a greater market share with their technology-driven low-cost operating models and superior customer experiences. For example, RazorPay and PayTM have partnered with banking institutions to offer loans to their customers. Khatabook – a digital platform for managing business and personal ledgers, has recently applied for the NBFC license. OkCredit, BharatPe, NiYo are also sharing similar expansion goals.

Given the rising number of digital lending platforms and customer preference for convenience, the time is ripe for NBFCs to adopt a smart digital lending strategy to stay relevant in the lending industry.

How NBFCs in India can improve online sales, operational efficiency, and customer experience

Unlike banks, NBFCs don’t usually have large distribution networks. A large part of their new business depends on third-party agencies and direct selling agents (DSAs). DSAs help lending companies reach out to the customers in tier II and III cities where branch office/financing companies are not present. However, most of the processes (including customer acquisition and loan recovery) are operation-heavy and involve multiple interactions between agents and customers.

A recent study by Accenture reveals that through strategic digital transformation, NBFCs can increase loan volumes and reduce operational costs by 20%. Direct sales through online channels, increasing operational efficiencies, and delivering seamless customer experience are at the core of digital lending.

1. Optimizing sales cycles

As mentioned above, Sales in NBFCs are highly dependent on third-party agencies and DSAs, who might not possess a comprehensive knowledge of products and offerings. For instance, DHFL (Dewan Housing Finance Limited) relied completely on DSAs for leads. When they started deploying RPA-based technologies, they were able to generate 20-25% of leads internally.

“By slowly moving to their own resources, NBFCs can cut turnaround time on loan applications by 10-25%.”

Harshil Mehta, CEO, DHFL

Lending industry-specific CRMs are crucial for digital lending platforms. These are especially beneficial for disbursing loans faster, while managing operations like sales, call center, field sales, and collections.

While going digital, customer segmentation remains a pressing challenge for NBFCs in India. Leveraging Analytical tools for customer segmentation and defining segment-specific sales strategy can lead to better conversion rates. Also, with a real-time view of the sales pipeline, supervisors can quickly reform existing strategies.

While the adoption of digital has accelerated, it cannot eliminate field agents and DSAs from the value chain. But there is a need to augment agents’ knowledge with the company policies, products, and offerings in the simplest way possible. This is possible by making relevant information accessible whenever required. A cloud-based information repository can help field agents get the knowledge on the go.

It is possible to reduce sales turnaround time with mobility solutions. Executives can capture/process documents and customer information more efficiently and in most cases, loan applications can be filed and approved during the first interaction.

Explore Mobile CRM for the lending sector.

Digital lending increasing sales efficiency
Improving Sales Efficiency in the NBFC Sector

2. How NBFCs in India can improve operational efficiency?

From onboarding a customer to loan disbursal and recovery, lending is an operations-heavy process. It involves several stages like lead management, application, documentation, underwriting, fraud checks, legal checks, valuation, decision, and disbursal documentation. The legacy systems are time-consuming and error prone. Moreover, today’s customers seek speed and convenience. Thus, this is a high time for NBFCs in India to improve their operational efficiencies across different touchpoints to save time, cost, and resources.

NBFCs in India optimize operational costs

Loan Applications

Many of the preliminary processes can be made online through self-service portals like checking eligibility for loans and custom loan requirements. Online portals for document collection, queries, and clarification can free the NBFC workforce for sophisticated tasks.

Customer onboarding

Digital verification for customer identity (for example, Video KYC, CIBIL score validation, etc.) can reduce customer onboarding time to a great extent and speed-up the entire lending process.

Underwriting

Leveraging AI and Machine Learning models, NBFCs can underwrite loans based on segment, geography, and product. FinTech players are already investing in automated underwriting models based on their customer data. For example, Lendingkart offers customized interest rates to borrowers (15-27%) based on past credentials.

Loan disbursements

Through digitized verification and validation, it is possible to disburse loans instantly into the customer’s account. Micro-lending FinTech companies shell out loans within 3 days of the loan application. Whereas NBFCs typically require 4-6 days for the same. Thus, digitization and efficient use of technology can ramp up NBFCs loan disbursal time.

LeadSquared helps us manage our lending partnerships with banks & NBFCs, and our internal processes across the lending lifecycle (sales, credit, verification & operations) to disburse loans 30% faster than before. Our DSAs are 55% more efficient than before, and all their work is trackable,” says Anuj Sachdev, VP Product, Qbera. Case study.

Customer relationship

The lending journey entails several interactions, which can be automated through self-serve portals. For example, customers can help themselves with post disbursal documentation, new loan application, applying for an extension, early clearance of loans, to name some.

The relationship between lender and borrower is never terminated; even after the loan is recovered. Existing customers present an immense opportunity to cross-sell. Intelligent digital systems can keep track of customers and their ventures and accordingly nudge them for relevant products/offerings.

3. Improving customer experience

Customers still need to consult with their relationship manager and wait for their revert for any frivolous issues in the finance sector. Transforming customer experience in the lending industry requires reforming strategies from distribution, product, risk, legal, to pricing. It is an iterative process that involves measuring the impact of technology and acting accordingly to deliver superior experiences through digital.

The new-age customers want simplicity, personalization, flexibility, and guidance at every stage of their digital journey. Millennials and Gen-Z prefer self-service portalsover relationship managers for query resolutions. Most of today’s customers are mobile phone users and the NBFC platform accessibility over mobiles and tablets also contributes to the overall customer experiences.

Customer expectations from digital lending platforms
Customer expectations from digital lending platforms
Source: Accenture

Intelligent instant response is imperative to any customer-facing business. NBFC is no different. Tailored engagement based on past interactions can help in developing emotional connect with customers. Leveraging an omnichannel approach is also crucial because the customer might not appreciate repeating the query over and over again. Resources can be a challenge when it comes to scalability and capacity to handle voluminous customer queries. Call center automation and self-service helpdesk can be the solution.

Explore the call center automation solution.

Many borrowers resort to agents because of the complex platforms and their limited experiences with digital systems. NBFCs can leverage vernacular language within their platforms to improve accessibility, especially in rural and suburbs. By placing the customer at the core of all operations, NBFCs can redefine customer experiences.

Digital Lending: The Opportunity

Digital transformation is a prerequisite because sales, operations, and overall business success depend on the organization’s agility in this fast-changing world.

Over the years, FinTechs have leveraged analytics, blockchain, and Machine Learning to reduce operational costs and offer gold-standard customer experience. Their capabilities in underwriting models, seamless partner integration, and real-time loan decisions are milestones for NBFCs’ digital transformation journey. Partnership with FinTechs to design the digital lending platforms can also be a way forward for NBFCs.

FinTech-NBFC Partnership to Combine Capabilities
FinTech & NBFC Partnership to Combine Capabilities
Source: PwC

The current COVID-19 crisis: Prolonged lockdowns have severely impacted most of the industries across the globe. Businesses are thriving to continue operations without compromising customer services. To streamline operations through digital channels, businesses, especially in tier II and III cities are in dire need of loans, but lack of financial aid is creating a bottleneck for them.

There is an immense opportunity for NBFCs in India to serve the underserved market through digital lending platforms and contribute to their success.


NBFCs FAQs

What is the meaning of NBFC?

As per RBI (Reserve Bank of India), NBFC corresponds to a Non-Banking Financial Company. NBFCs engage in the business of loans, advances, and shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued by Government or local authority. Their portfolio also includes marketable securities like leasing, hire-purchase, and insurance.

How do NBFCs work in India?

The main business of NBFCs involves lending. There are 6 main categories of NBFCs in India: Investment and Credit Company (ICC), Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC), Infrastructure Debt Fund NBFC, Gold Loan NBFC, Residuary Non-Banking Companies (RNBCs), and Account Aggregators (AA).

When did NBFC start in India?

NBFCs are in existence in India since the 1960s. They were started as an alternative to banks to meet the financial needs of underserved individuals.

Is NBFC under RBI?

RBI regulates the operation of NBFCs. However, not all NBFCs are registered under RBI. For example, Venture Capital Fund, Merchant Banking companies, and Stockbroking companies are registered with SEBI; Insurance Company registration is issued by IRDA; Nidhi companies are notified under Section 620A of the Companies Act, 1956; Housing Finance Companies are regulated by the National Housing Bank, Stock Exchange, or a Mutual Benefit company.

What is the difference between banks and NBFCs?

NBFCs can lend and invest like banks. However, there are differences between NBFCs and banks:
– NBFC cannot accept demand deposits
– NBFCs cannot issue cheques drawn on itself (they are not a part of the payment and settlement system)
– There’s no deposit insurance facility with NBFCs.


Related:

Must-have features in your debt collection CRM software – Download Checklist

Debt Collection CRM

Creditors need to contact a debtor multiple times to settle an account balance. If the amount owed is to be recovered in installments, then you can imagine the additional amount of communications required. However, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) imposes strict communication guidelines on collectors restricting the time, place, and number of contacts that can be made. Debt collectors can contact borrowers through phone, letters, email, or text messages only within the prescribed time. Maintaining a list of borrowers, selecting the mode of communication, recording the response, and following up with debtors from time to time for recovery makes the entire process complex and time-consuming. As a result, credit companies fail to ensure 100% collection revenues.

Debt Collection CRMs address this crucial aspect of the collection process and streamline the overall collection strategy. You’ll find several products catering to the lending sector. But selecting the best collection CRM for your organization can be confusing. To ensure task automation, improve team productivity, and achieve maximum ROI, we have consolidated essential features to investigate while purchasing a collection CRM.

Quick checklist for selecting the best debt collection CRM

Whether you have already shortlisted products or just starting to explore, check out if the debt collection CRM provides a solution to the following questions. In the subsequent section, we will discuss why these are important.

  1. Does it cover user management across the organization?
  2. Does it provide client (borrower) management?
  3. Is it customizable to the organization’s needs?
  4. Does it work on mobile? Is there a mobile app for debt collection CRM?
  5. Does the CRM system send reminder notifications and alerts?
  6. Does it integrate with call center software, Payment gateways, VoIP diallers, and other CRMs?
  7. Is it possible to export/import data from other systems?
  8. Does it support workflow automation?
  9. Is the report dashboard utility-focused and customizable?

Download must-have features in your debt collection CRM checklist.

5 things to keep in mind while selecting a debt collection CRM

1. Borrower and user management

Borrower management: Borrower relationship management is important for every creditor. Healthy and timely communication with borrowers can improve loan recovery efficiency. Expected features from a debt collection CRM in terms of borrower management include:

  1. Consolidated borrower profile information covering borrowers’ financial details, CIBIL score, and relevant information from other sources.
  2. Account history: a comprehensive loan history to provide a reference for training or error correction in future strategies.
  3. Cross-channel communications forreaching out to debtors on their preferred communication channels like SMS, call, email, or WhatsApp for reminders about repayment dates.

User management: The collections process involves stakeholders from the contact center, field agents, support team, legal team, and fraud control team. Each team has their own method of dealing with debtors. While selecting the collection CRM, you should check whether the system covers the relevant team members.

  1. Call centers/contact centers: for distributing cases to call center agents to review loan defaulters and follow up for debt recovery.
  2. Field agents: to manage field operations by planning agents’ field visits and collection follow-ups.
  3. Support and legal teams: to resolve technical and legal issues, respectively.
  4. Fraud control: to update stakeholders about debtors’ wrong intentions and initiate legal actions.

2. Customization

Products like Collection CRM, Accounts Receivable Management Software, Collection Software, etc. correspond to making the debt collection process more efficient. However, there may be a fine line between these products in terms of offerings and customization.

The common notion is that CRMs are mostly used by the sales teams. But the individuals responsible for collections are not usually salespeople. Plus, sales and collection teams have different tasks. Thus, you must check whether a CRM can accommodate different sets of users and collection activities.

The point is – the nomenclature may differ for different products. That’s why you should look at the features that are customizable for users and integrate with internal and third-party applications. The best approach is to go for CRMs designed specifically for debt recovery processes.

3. Automation

Improving cash flows and optimizing collection costs are the bottom line for automation in collection processes. We are long past hardcover registers for keeping the record of debtors. The automation in the collection industry refers to an integrated system that can communicate with borrowers, allocate cases, notify agents for in-person communication, receive payments, and track every activity in the system.  

You must check the level of automation a CRM software provides. The important automation features to look for in a debt collection CRM include – workflow and recovery automation. Let’s look at these.

Workflow automation

It allows you to create a series of tasks based on certain triggers. Take an example. You want an automated workflow for the field collection process. Whenever an account is over the Days Past Due (DPD), the system should trigger a task and notify the field collection agent to visit the defaulter. Depending on the borrower’s disposition, the system can trigger further actions. If the borrower intents to pay, the system can send a payment link. In situations where the borrower is not reachable, the system can repeat follow-ups via call, email, WhatsApp, or SMS. If there is no response from the debtor, the creditor can initiate investigation or recovery actions against the borrower. 

Collections CRM for debt recovery - field workflow

Recovery automation

Debt recovery automation corresponds to the computerized collection procedures that require minimum to no human interventions.

  • Borrower segmentation: classification of borrowers into debt buckets based on DPD (Days Past Due), credit repayment history, the amount due, and repayment intent.
  • Account prioritization: assigning priorities to accounts based on the borrowers’ profile information including – DPD, asset classification, due amount, product type, delinquency bucket classification, willful defaulter, and fraud identification.
  • Case distribution: mapping and distributing cases based on the availability of collectors, agents, and location. 
  • Mobile CRM: useful for field agents to update their activities on the go.

Apart from these essential features, if you need automation for any other internal process, you can ask the vendor for the product trial or demo.

Collection process automation Demo

4. Integrations

Today, almost every Financial Institution uses digital tools for collections. However, within an organization, there are too many systems for individual processes. This creates a disparity in information across teams. Managers also complain that their core systems do not integrate with contact centers, SMS, diallers, or email gateways. As a result, users have to fill in the account information manually.

Therefore, you must check whether the Collection CRM you’re exploring has ready-to-use APIs and integrates properly with IVRs, Telephony services, WhatApp, Email Gateways, ERP, Call Center Software, and other third-party applications. CRM Systems that integrate with information sources like CIBIL, Experian, and even social media help in maintaining a 360-degree borrower profile information.

Integrations are crucial as they will save your team’s efforts in switching from multiple systems to submit and access information.

5. Analytics

Fact-based insights on customerscollection efficiency, and team performances can help you eliminate bottlenecks from the collection funnel. You can also evaluate ROI (Return on Investment) from usability-focused dashboards. 

Analytics also unfolds trackable reports on the number of debts recovered, intends to pay, non-responsive debtors, and the average time required for the debt recovery. Team members can access these reports and need not create individual reports – eliminating duplication of efforts.

Different teams track different metrics. For example, the recovery team usually tracks metrics like days sales outstanding, the number of promise-to-pay accounts, accounts closer to days-past-due, to name some. Therefore, while exploring different CRM systems for collection management, you should compare analytics usability as well. 

Collections CRM - reports for debt recovery

Concluding remarks

Traditionally, large enterprises used on-premise Collection CRM, designed specifically for their needs. However, the organization had to resort to the application developer for every feature enhancement. Plus, there was a very limited scope of mobility.

Cloud-based Collection CRMs are gaining popularity mainly because of their -as a Service (SaaS) model. You can test run the software and if it doesn’t work, you can terminate your subscription. Earlier, security was a concern for some organizations. But today, the cloud is considered as secure as any on-premise software.

Apart from the above features, you can also consider the following while selecting the best CRM software:

  1. Deployment type: Cloud-based or on-premise. Cloud-based CRMs offer more flexibility and mobility. Some large enterprises used to prefer an on-premise CRM system for data and privacy concerns. However, cloud CRMs are equally secure and are more elastic to the scalability requirements. Gartner indicates that cloud-based or SaaS CRMs represent 75% of the total CRM spend across industries.
  2. Industry: Financial Institutions (Banks and NBFCs), Collection Agencies, Healthcare, Government, Telecom and Utilities, Real Estate, and Retail industries have specific debt recovery processes and compliances. Instead of a generic product, you can opt for your industry-specific CRM that serves all the requirements.
  3. Geography: Every country has its regulation on consumer protection. CRM software for debt management that is customizable to regional requirements makes the best choice.

Organizations that use digital debt collection solutions reduce their Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) by 10-20%. You can also make debt recovery easier, faster, and more organized with LeadSquared Collection CRM.

Explore Features.


FAQs

What is the difference between Collections CRM and Collection Software?

In general, CRM or Customer Relationship Management system handles customer interactions via different channels into a centralized system. Collections CRM is a CRM designed for the lending sector that serves industry-specific communication requirements and manages employee interactions. Collection software, on the other hand, is more focused on workflow automation.

What is the best alternative to CRMDialer?

For end-to-end collections automation, LeadSquared’s Collection CRM is the best choice. Details.

What is debt collection management?

The set of strategies, tools, people, agencies, and processes deployed to recover loans from debtors is known as debt collection management or loan recovery management.

Is it possible to integrate debt collection CRM software with the loan management system?

Most of the debt collection CRMs allow integration with the loan management system, ERP, and other third-party applications.

Further reading:

Debt Collection Automation
Ebook: Digitizing collections for faster debt recovery (Free Download)

Debt collection is at the forefront of the lending industry as it directly supports an organization’s revenue. Growing consumerism is promoting debts creating a promising opportunity for lenders. But at the same time, recovering bad debts, which is also increasing concurrently, raises serious concerns among Collectors.

For example, in the United States, consumer debt has increased nearly by USD 2.3 trillion (2019) since the Great Recession in 2009. The COVID-19 pandemic is making it even more difficult to recover debts. Debt collection practices are already governed by stringent laws. The state officials and regulators are further imposing restrictions on debt collection to minimize the economic burdens stemming from COVID-19 on consumers.

Regardless, with the right process and tools, businesses can manage accounts and reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) effectively.

Debt collection process automation

Debt collection process automation infographic

The time spent chasing after default cases is, of course, a major overhead in the lending sector. However, loan recovery also delays because of internal collection process challenges like:

  • Manual management of collection operations
  • Manual task creation based on the call disposition
  • Updating payment activity and status manually
  • Manual call activity recording in the Collection System mainly because the Call Centre is not integrated
  • Manual case allocation to the agency
  • No track of collections agents in the field
  • Manual communication with debtors and internal teams

A straightforward solution to all these challenges is automating the debt collection process. It starts from identifying the debtors to the final settlement. One of the prime enablers of automation in loan recovery is debt collection CRM that streamlines the entire collections process, including integrating payment gateways and communicating with customers. It can enhance personalized engagement with clients and increases agents’ productivity. Businesses can see immediate ROI soon after implementing the system.

Automation improves both – the debt recovery time and efficiency of the collection process. In any automated debt management system, the borrower, collection agent, and analytical insights are at the core. However, for now, let’s focus on the debt collection aspect of loan management and how digital solutions are making it more efficient.

1. Maintain an updated borrower information

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection received approximately 75,200 debt collection complaints in December 2019. Out of these, 45% of the complaints were made on attempts to collect debts not owed. Most of the consumers who lodged the complaints were the victims of identity theft.

A mistake in the borrower’s profile validation or losing the track of the borrower between the loan sanction and recovery period could lead to such right-party contact issues. Thus, maintaining a consolidated and updated borrower profile is essential. 

Based on the loan type, the amount owed, repayment date, occupation, and location parameters, borrowers can be segmented into different loan buckets. Segmentation helps in prioritizing cases. 

Collections CRM for debt recovery - loan buckets

Another problem that lenders face is of organizing information from different sources. Collections CRM can integrate with several information sources like CIBIL, Experian, and even social profiles and automatically update them in a centralized system. This saves the collector’s efforts in switching from multiple systems to derive a debtor’s information. Integrating Lending CRM with third-party applications like IVRs, Telephony services, and collection software can make the system even more efficient. For example, if there is an inbound telephonic call, an automation system in place can route it to a suitable agent in a round-robin manner. 

Borrower profile - Collections CRM for debt recovery - retail banking CRM

2. Strong focus on priority accounts and delinquent cases

CFOs, credit managers, and collectors constantly focus more on accounts that need immediate attention. For instance, the law requires settling the disputed cases within 90 days of becoming apparent to the company. Else, the company might have to bear the loss. Thus, prioritizing delinquent cases that are closer to DPD (Days Past Due) is crucial.

Prioritizing individual cases manually can be time-consuming. It is also prone to errors. Debt Collection software can assign priorities to accounts based on the borrowers’ profile information including – DPD, asset classification, due amount, product type, delinquency bucket classification, wilful defaulter, and fraud identification.

Depending on the organization’s debt collection process, collection management systems can allocate an account to a call center, in-house team, field agent, or a third-party collection agency. It can also send reminders to agents to follow up with borrowers, ensuring timely communication.

Borrower categorization and collections strategy

3. Track Debt Collectors performance

The collections department usually evaluates the agent’s performance based on the following 5 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators):

  1. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO): it calculates how long, on average, it takes to collect from debtors.
  2. Right Party Contacts (RPC) rate: it is the ratio of all outbound calls that were made to a valid debtor (or a “right party”). This metric is important because it indicates the likelihood of locating the debtor.
  3. Promise to Pay (PTP) rate: it is a record of how many outbound calls resulted in the debtor promising to pay within a specified period.
  4. Collector Effective Index (CEI): it is a measure of the amount collected against the number of total receivables during a specific period.
  5. Profit per Account (PPA): it indicates how much profit is generated on average by each account in collections.

Lenders acknowledge that the inability to track their field agent’s activities on the field is a pressing concern for them. For example, sometimes loan recovery fails because the collector isn’t putting the right efforts in contacting the debtor. Collection System Automation can detect and prevent your agents from signing-in from a fake location. Geofencing tasks can also help prevent fraudulent record entries.

4. Improve collector’s productivity

There was a time when collectors used to carry a briefcase that contained a copy of borrower’s documents, notepad, legal paperwork, and more. Now, the mobile phone has become the briefcase of information and, in fact, more than that. Collectors can easily carry a mobile phone to a remote location, contact the borrower, and access the guarantor’s information if required.

Mobile collection software helps collectors to remain productive while being on the field. Reminder notifications, day planner, and route guidance are some of the sought-after features that impact productivity. It also lets collections agents keep a tab on their pending tasks on their mobile app.

Agent tracking - collections CRM

5. Measure and analyze the performance

Data-driven insights on customerscollection efficiency, and team performances can help decision-makers evaluate ROI (Return on Investment) and eliminate bottlenecks from the collection funnel. 

Reports on the number of debts recovered, intends to pay, non-responsive debtors, and the average time required for the debt recovery brings the teams in sync about the overall recovery performance – avoiding duplication of efforts. This way, every stakeholder is aware of the defaulter’s stage of repayment.

With smart dashboards, actionable insights on borrower profiles, agent performances, active liabilities, pending payments, ongoing payment activities, and more are at disposition for leaders. 

Final Thoughts

Even though organizations have data points from loan defaulters, they fail in using them effectively. As a result, when organizations want to collect the bad debt, they don’t have the right set of tools and channels for delinquent clients. Some organizations fall into a dangerous spiral by collecting too little information as well.

Leveraging automation can make debt collection more efficient and reduce compliance litigations. To a great extent, debt collection automation system can break through the siloed infrastructure and legacy systems.

A practical solution to automating the collection process is using debt collection software or collections CRM that allows lenders to track and follow-up with debtors efficiently, predict and prioritize debt recovery, and enable faster collections.  It can streamline the collection process across Financial Institutions like Banks and NBFCs, Collection Agencies, Healthcare, Government, Telecom, Real Estate, and Retail and handle a variety of loans like credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, mortgage, and auto loans.

Read more about how debt collection software helps in achieving recovery automation.


Debt Collection FAQs

What is a debt collection process?

Debt recovery or debt collection is the process of following up with individuals or businesses to recover the owed sum of money.

What are debt collection methods?

There are several methods that lenders deploy to recover loans from borrowers. Lenders allocate cases to call centers and/or third-party collection agencies, or even sell debts at loss.

How to improve accounts receivable collection?

By prioritizing cases based on trackable metrics and investing in collection agents’ productivity, businesses can improve account receivable collection. Lenders can use Debt collection software to automate their loan recovery processes.

What is debt revenue recovery strategy?

The plan to pitch and recover the sum owed by the borrower is known as debt revenue recovery strategy. It encompasses the lender, borrower, collection agent, and data-driven analytics.