Saturday, May 19, 2007

PushMX: Automating CRM

PushMX, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based workflow vendor, has in mind to automate the Customer Relationship Management process for mortgage brokers.

"Our basic conclusion is that CRM in and of itself just does not measure up,"said Dean Haritos, founder and CEO of PushMX. "CRM is a flat database that onlydoes something when you have a human interacting with the software. We're about creating automation without the need for human interaction," he told Anthony Garritano for a story that appeared in this week's Daily Briefing Weekend Edition from Source Media.

I met these guys last year at the National Association of Mortgage Brokers' annual convention in Philadelphia. At the time, they were a little miffed by the fact that software reviewers in the mortgage space didn't operate the same way they do in the mainstream computer trade press. They felt their tools weren't getting a fair shake.

In this market, the actual users are the reviewers. I suspect the company will find this an excellent market in which to attract willing test clients, as brokers work harder to stay in touch with past customers. But can a computer really take over that job for the broker?

I've been writing about automation for a long time and I've seen it used to speed up cycle times in areas many thought could not be automated. Subprime underwriting is one case in point. But there is a difference between automating the marketing function (sending out postcards to a list when certain conditions are met) and turning your customer relationships over to the machine.

Relationships spring from conversations, two-way communication that is customized to meet the needs of both parties. Anyone who has ever encountered a sales message while on hold knows that one-way communication is not the same thing. I'll be interested to learn more about how this software tool helps brokers maintain good relationships with borrowers. And if it only reminds them to make that phone call, I'll want to know why it's better than ACT!

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