The webinar went very smoothly. This is not to be underestimated, I’ve lost count of the number of webinars where there are problems with sound/video but this was great. Slides/screenshare and question submission was handled by GoToMeeting – and I was very happy to find out I could stream the audio via Ustream rather than have to pay for a 60 minute international call to the States. Video was snappy, and audio was crystal clear, made the experience much more enjoyable.
The case study was RMC Vanguard, a mortgage company in the States which is experiencing the slowdown of the US mortgage market. The benefits they obtained from the wiki were as follows:
- Time saving – wiki pages with frequently asked questions, links to important websites (with usernames and passwords where appropriate) were all included on the wiki
- Productivity – with four underwriters serving fifty loan officers, and a habit of loan officers to keep asking a question until they got the answer they wanted, having a place where underwriters could post information rather than having it asked of them constantly made both the loan officers and the underwriters vastly more productive, which resulted in more time spent with clients which ended up with increased sales
- Retention – there is a strong attrition rate in the loan officer role. Many role officers worked from home and struggled to remember the details to access internal systems once they returned to their home office, and felt isolated. How-to’s on the wiki increased their productivity when they first joined, which meant they earned more, which meant they were happier, which meant they didn’t leave
- Improved customer experience – in a down market you need to retain customers. By providing loan officers with a single point of reference where they could obtain information in a fast changing market meant that they could answer clients’ and potential clients’ questions on the phone there and then. This led to a significantly improved customer experience and increased customer retention, which is essential in a down market.
(Source: Money Expert)
What was really interesting is that this successful wiki implementation hit nearly all of our principles of wiki adoption:
- Targeted – there were clear reasons for the wiki – internet passwords, How-To’s for working from home and market information. There were also clear audiences who would use it slightly differently, underwriters (generally content contributors) and loan officers (generally content seekers). The motivations of each were addressed differently – for the underwriters posting wiki content stopped them being asked the same questions several times a day. For the Loan Officers using the wiki as a first point of call allowed them to provide an improved customer experience and therefore sell more.
- Sponsorship – the wiki manager worked for the President of the company. Interestingly, he commented that during a ‘down’ period was actually a good time to introduce new technology, as people actually had some time to get used to it!
- Marketing/communcations – a lot of company communications were pushed out on the wiki. A catchphrase developed in the office when people asked “where is…?” with the response “it’s on the wiki!”
- Champions – there was a clear champion for the wiki who spent a great deal of time educating and working with users to ensure that the adoption was successful
- Support – a lot of support was provided. Effort went into ensuring that templates were available so that people were not presented with a blank page when creating new content. Effort was put into ensuring the wiki was searchable so that people could find what they needed quickly. The wiki champion spent time one-on-one with staff to ensure they knew how to use it
- Accessible – the wiki could be accessed by those who worked from home, which was key to driving adoption with the loan officers
- Enforcement – people started to say “it’s on the wiki” when asked a question rather than providing the answer
- Get rid of the old – the wiki champion slowly started to take away the old sources of information. After one week of information being posted into the wiki and one on one training showing the users how to find it, it was removed from its original source
- Measure – this is the one principle not followed. Any measurement was word of mouth and anecdotal. Given adoption was so high, however, I can see why this was not a priority.
When asked what the number one benefit that provided growth in a down market, the strong response was that it was the improved customer experience. RMC Vanguard won best customer experience award for mortgage providers in the US – and the wiki is seen to be key to this, and allowing them to cope with the downturn in the US mortgage market.