Analyzing Metrics: Numbers Don’t Lie

March 28, 2019

If you don’t measure it, how do you know whether you’re hitting your goals? During the Ideas Festival “Analyze Performance Metrics at ALTA SPRINGBOARD in Memphis, Andi Bolin, president of Celebrity Title Co., and Craig Haskins, chief operating officer of Knight Barry Title, shared the importance of tracking various metrics to measure bottom lines and help determine future decision making.

Some of the key metric buckets that were addressed included operations, error reporting, labor metrics and customer satisfaction.

“A title agent should be looking at certain metrics to determine the financial and operational health of their agency,” Haskins said. “But some agents don't measure anything to see how their company stacks up against its competitors and how it stacks up against itself from previous time periods.”

Haskins said he gets daily updates on new orders, invoices and cash received. On a monthly basis, he gets information on opened/closed orders and quarterly he reviews the average ticket price per product for each of his offices, because “sometimes our offices aren’t billing appropriately.”

By tracking operational metrics, title agents can identify bottlenecks in order flow. Haskins said companies with multiple offices should “centralize or die.”

When it comes to tracking errors, Bolin and Haskins encourage agents to track everything as this will help you understand lost revenue and long-term cost. Information about losses and errors should be shared with staff, underwriters/agency rep and lenders, according to Bolin and Haskins.

Setting expectations early with staff can help with accountability and ultimately reduce errors. Some companies incentivize staff to help reduce errors. In some cases, employees who earn a commission will pay back blatant errors on a percentage basis.

When it comes to measuring labor performance, Haskins said he doesn’t mess with orders per employee. Rather, he’s more interested in tasks per employee because “not all orders are created equal.”

At Knight Barry, Haskins has identified nine different types of closings. Various items such as the loan product, and length and location of the search all affect a point rating he applies to each person. If an employee’s number remains low after a few months, Haskins said he will make a cut. If an employee’s number is too high, he’ll move some work from them, so they don’t get burned out.

When it comes to your profit and loss statement, a good rule of thumb is to keep gross wages at 40 percent or below of revenue.

Customer satisfaction is an area that Bolin is passionate about. She believes you need “to inspect what you expect.” The best way to do this is to measure what works for your organization. Bolin’s company has consumers take a survey on an iPad at the end of closings. Questions that are asked include:

  • Did your closing start on time?
  • Was the director of first impressions friendly?
  • Was your food too hot or too cold?
  • Did your escrow officer/closer answer all of your questions?
  • Would you refer us to a friend/colleague?

Bolin said it’s helpful to empower the receptionist to serve as the director of first impression. You can also incentivize employees for conducting the surveys. This could be as simple as gift cards, just “work the cost into your budget,” Bolin said.

She also said companies should first identify their customer base. Once this if finished, start with one type of customer. Bolin started with her smallest group of customers first.

The survey question Bolin’s company asks about hot or cold food got attendees buzzing. At Celebrity Title, Bolin orders breakfast or lunch for the homebuyers so their closers “can break bread with them and take the edge off of what can often be a stressful event.” 

At the end of the day, however, Bolin warned of getting “caught in paralysis of analysis” and said managers should apply smart goals.  

“Stats don’t tell you everything,” Bolin said. “You need to sit down with your people and understand your employees.”

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