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It’s Bigger than CRM

Why Today’s Software Goes Way Beyond Client Relationship Management

Sometimes you’re just stuck with the language you inherit. It may not be the most expressive, it may not be the most accurate, but it’s something everyone can understand. CRMs have become something like this over the years. In fact, at Panda we only really call our flagship product (Panda CRM), by those three letters because it’s the magic combination that most decision-makers are looking for. What they stand for doesn’t begin to capture what the software can actually do.

An Extremely Brief History

The name itself, Customer Relationship Management, is just an accident of history. It describes what the very earliest attempts to combine a company’s contacts, email and calendars for use by sales, marketing and customer service departments. Some of the other acronyms that were thrown around in the 1990s, like SFA (Sales Force Automation) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), have since fallen by the wayside but, for whatever reason, CRM remains.

However, what’s expected of a CRM nowadays, particularly in our industry, is far and beyond the limits of Customer Relationship Management. Ultimately, what all of these abbreviations reveal, is that they come from a time before Web 2.0, before social media, video streaming or the widespread use of AI.

If Not CRM, What Then?

A lot of ideas get thrown around our office. “Brokerage ecosystem” is a popular one. As is “business intelligence suite.” What these other labels try to capture is that Customer Relationship Management is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of what Panda CRM does nowadays is much more advanced than just cataloguing contact details and customer interactions.

Of course, Panda does that too, but in a much more seamless and comprehensive manner. While Panda CRM performs all the standard kinds of contact management you’d expect from a CRM, it has several tricks up it sleeve that set it apart. For one, all customer information is encrypted so only certain members within your organisation with the appropriate privileges can access sensitive client info such as contact and payment details. Furthermore, Panda CRM comes equipped with its own VoIP system and email client, allowing any customer in the database to be contacted at a click of a button without having to reveal their information.

Communications are not just possible externally. We equipped Panda CRM with a complete internal communications module that includes VoIP, video calls, chat, voice notes and file sharing. It proved to be invaluable throughout the pandemic when most brokerage staff members were working from home. But it’s also a favourite among brokers with multiple locations as it allows different teams to coordinate as if they were in the same location.

Next-Generation Features

Where Panda CRM really comes into its own is in the use of AI to make brokerage teams smarter and more efficient. As mentioned above, Panda CRM is no longer just for sales, marketing and customer support. Almost every brokerage department has something to gain from it. Earlier this year we launched our AI document verification module in partnership with Google’s Vision AI. This addition has been a godsend for back-office and compliance staff as it partially automates the dreary and time-consuming process of verifying client documents.

The module automatically rejects scans that don’t make the grade and requests for them to be reuploaded without human intervention. This alone massively lightens the load, particularly during busy periods. But it doesn’t stop there, the module’s OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities allow it to compare scanned documents against database entries and score them according to how likely they are to pass. This allows brokerage teams to prioritise which entries they give attention to, making verifications smoother, faster and helping to eliminate bottlenecks.

But it’s not just back-office and compliance that get the AI treatment, sales and retention departments using Panda CRM now have a very powerful ally working with them. We call this ally Next Call AI and it is quietly revolutionising how brokerage sales and retention teams operate in the industry.

What Next Call AI effectively does is bring pre-emptive support to the world of online trading by giving your sales and retention teams access to a live play-by-play of actions being taken by clients who are currently online. So for instance, a client has just had his first attempt to make a deposit rejected. Before Next Call AI, your team would only find this out after the fact, when it’s too late and the client has signed off. Now, a capable agent handling the market that he’s from can get in touch before he goes offline to suggest ways to make the deposit go through, such as trying a smaller amount to begin with. The same is true for a variety of event triggers that agents can “listen” for. The possibilities are endless and they allow for clients to be assisted before they have to queue up for help.

Find out what else Panda CRM can do for you

All this is to say that the humble CRM has evolved by leaps and bound over the last decade. What used to be a glorified database, static and always waiting for the agent themselves to provide inputs, has now become more of an artificially intelligent assistant. There to consolidate all the knowledge an organisation has in one place, with AI to lend a helping hand.

So, it’s not just a tool that’s brought into an organisation and slotted into an existing workflow. Our clients tell us that the new features we’ve been upgrading Panda CRM with are actually leading to new and improved workflows. In other words, the system itself has optimised the various tasks that different departments use it for in a manner that changes the way they operate.

We have just scratched the very surface of Panda CRM in this article. However, if you would like to book a free tour of the software with one of our success managers, or would simply like a little more information on any of the topics raised above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’d be delighted to help!

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