Auto Lending Innovators & Pioneers: Armando Hidalgo, Director of Servicing Platinum Auto Finance

Howard Schulman

Armando Hidalgo says his mission is pretty simple. It’s to improve people’s lives. That’s not just the employees at Platinum Auto Finance, where Armando is Director of Servicing. It’s also his customers. These are people who face challenges, and may have been refused loans by traditional lenders.

Platinum is a sub-prime auto lender in Clearwater, Florida. Despite Armando’s mission, the business’ outdated technology had made it difficult to fund loans and service customers in a timely manner. That made it challenging for everyone: customers who needed quick closure, dealerships, and Platinum’s own team.

So, Armando decided it was time for a change. He partnered with Lightico to streamline much of Platinum’s processes, cutting deal time by 4 days. For the people Armando most wants to serve, it meant 80 percent faster time to funding. But that isn’t the end for the team at Platinum Auto Finance: they have big plans to continue to use technology to improve customer experiences.

 

The Challenge: Using Outdated Processes

Prior to partnering with Lightico, Platinum Auto Finance was using outdated methods to do important work. They used printers, faxes, scanners, emails and snail mail to get forms and signatures. This paperwork is essential, but doing things the old way meant it took weeks to complete.

This was frustrating for Platinum’s customers, hurt the business’ reputation, and placed pressure on internal staff.

Now thanks to Lightico, almost all of these steps are completed through a simple text message sent to the customer’s phone. It’s made things better not only for those who need funding, but the customer service representatives who do much of the direct work with clients.

Through this new innovation, customers can easily provide missing personal information, transmit their driver’s license, disclosure documents, autopay authorizations, e-signature among others. Now, it’s no longer necessary for Platinum to follow up on emails or chase down missing documentation.

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What used to take about 10 days now only takes four! But it’s not just the time saving that is so impressive. Armando says it’s made a real difference to his customers, who appreciate how simple it is to close the deal using Lightico’s platform. In the past, funding had many different aspects, including complicated forms.

That could be hard on customers to understand and piece together. Now, it all comes to their cellphone through a text message with a direct link. Armando explains that it’s as easy as using social media. In fact, that’s exactly how he describes it to his customers.

Platinum has shown full commitment to the new way of doing things, even developing new internal workflows around the streamlining that’s resulted from working with Lightico.

Looking Ahead: Continuing to Improve the Customer Experience

Since the partnership with Lightico has been so successful, Armando is continuing to look forward. He’s looking for other ways to expand messaging technology. Specifically, he’s actively looking at the compliance issues around chat and video chat, to see if these new channels might offer more opportunity in the future.

He also says the team is committed to implementing AI by the end of 2019. Specifically, Platinum is planning to move from a CSR-dialer to a predictive dialer to reach customers.

They are also planning to use AI to develop better pricing models. On the communication side, they are looking at new ways to make it easier for customers to call their office, instead of always being on the receiving end of Platinum’s outreach.

Overall, they are exploring all options to make their business activities more relevant to customers. There’s also talk about taking on some external, third-party portfolios. AI and innovative technology is going to help Armando and his team to make those decisions, so they work for everyone — Platinum and the people the company serves.

You can read the full Platinum Case Study here.

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