For more than a few, the last 18 months or so have probably felt like 18 years. The sudden and stark decline in order volume was only made more vivid by the fact that it came on the heels of the peak refinance markets of all time. By most accounts, however, the market should begin to recover in 2024.

The challenge for many title firms coming out of a down market is that the increase in order volume rarely comes smoothly. Instead, it might start, stop and start again. Or it might spike drastically and quickly. The problem with that?  Faced with lower order volume for the past year or so, many agencies have been forced to run “lean” throughout their operations.

The time and cost of recruiting, hiring and training new employee rarely aligns neatly with order volume and client demands. The result can be uneven throughput, delay and, if it’s bad enough, a loss of business or clients.

That’s why the time to review your operational workflow is now, not weeks after the rebound begins in earnest.

We’ve given some suggestions already about performing a tech audit. That’s a great place to start. And while we certainly understand that tech investments and adding to payroll come with a very real cost, planning for the eventuality of a change of market will not break the bank.

Can you get more from what you already have?

Odds are good that you’re already set with a new or existing title production platform. That’s not an impulse buy. That said, if you’ve been working with an old or proprietary system for a long time, perhaps now is the time to at least start doing some due diligence on the next generation. If you’re happy with your TPS, then now is the time to be sure you’re making the most of it, from ensuring you have the latest upgrades or updates to revisiting exactly where and how it fits in your workflow.

For many title related businesses, the TPS is just a starting point. But the spaces in between the elements of your tech stack, gaps where two technologies don’t seamlessly connect, are exactly where most delays, errors and operational headaches usually happen. That’s because bridging the gaps between, say, the way you take in new orders and getting them into your TPS, usually involves people hammering their keyboards. Not the most efficient use of your team’s time!

Are you ready for a flood of inquiries?

As order volume rises, it only becomes more important to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Whether you’re using an effective solution to communicate with or share data with other service providers or clients or using behind-the-scenes technology to streamline elements of the process (like, say, VizionX’s own closing fee engine!) your soon-to-be new clients will be judging your performance, in many ways, by your turn-time as well as your responsiveness.

Title agencies can benefit significantly from adopting cloud computing solutions, particularly during periods of increased business activity.

Scalable infrastructure is becoming the norm

With the rise of cloud computing and Software as a Service, title agents now have much better access to tools that facilitate scaling, easing the transitions from market cycle to market cycle without wasted or unnecessary expense.  As the volume of transactions rises, title agencies can easily allocate additional computing power, storage, and bandwidth to handle the increased workload efficiently. This scalability ensures that the agency can meet the demands of a surge in business without compromising performance.

Don’t forget about cybersecurity!

The increased use of technology does make it absolutely necessary for title businesses to prioritize cybersecurity. Title agencies are treasure troves of sensitive information. The bad guys have already figured that out, and are working around the clock to create new and more sinister ways of not only tapping into your clients’ valuable data, but planting ransomware in your systems as well.

One thing agents should consider is implementing end-to-end encryption for communication channels and ensuring that all sensitive data is encrypted during storage and transmission. This adds an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access and data breaches.

Conducting regular security audits and keeping software and systems up to date with the latest security patches are also must-do tasks to protect against potential vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity should be an ongoing focus, especially during periods of increased business when the risk of targeted attacks may rise.

Owners and decision-makers who take the time in a down market to audit and evaluate their operational workflows, including technology, will gain a valuable, competitive edge when the recovery begins.  Having solid plans for, and ultimately, the most effective solutions, including customer-centric platforms, cloud computing, and robust cybersecurity measures, can dramatically improve efficiency, scalability, and security needed during periods of heavy volume. By staying ahead of the curve with technology adoption, title agencies can not only meet the expectations of their clients but also position themselves for success.

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