RefiJet’s acceleration as a technology company is bringing happy customers, employees, and lender partners along for the ride
Scaling a business to meet demand in the digital age is nothing new, especially for those in the financial services sector. RefiJet arrived on the scene in 2016 with a mandate to bridge the gap between consumers with a wide range of credit profiles in need of auto refinancing and the lending partners that would best suit their needs, ultimately delivering a secure, seamless, and thoroughly satisfying experience for all stakeholders.
With a management team fiercely committed to providing unparalleled service, accuracy, security, and professionalism, the Denver-based startup’s white glove approach to vehicle refi—one that matched consumers to lenders offering great rates they could actually qualify for—was a hit. With that growth came the need to evolve their initial technology platforms and systems.
Enter Jason Wilcox, RefiJet CTO. “There aren’t a lot of (digital) solutions out there for what we do. There are dealer solutions, and there are lender platforms for loan origination, but there aren’t many platforms that enable you to manage the consumer experience,” he told BOSS. “We needed something that really empowered our staff to serve our lenders and consumers.”
Upon joining the organization in 2019 and analyzing the objectives for the digital expansion project, Wilcox identified two initial goals: to forge a transparent process through education, and to align tech advancements to strategic business objectives.
“Our staff was consumer-oriented and we had a managing partner base that was customer service-oriented, but we had to educate the team and our partners about what it was going to take to make the transformation successful and do something that was worthwhile for the company,” he said. “A lot of education was involved to make everyone in the entire organization a part of the process.”
Ensuring that the organization's strategic plan for transformation was designed to meet current and future challenges was next. “Working with consumers in this day and age is very dynamic. It's almost a storm-type environment. You have a lot of software companies and companies in general coming and going, there are huge paradigm shifts around how the consumer wants to interact, and all of that happens on a micro level,” he said.
“We have to serve each consumer on a level that they’re comfortable with. That means having a lot of dynamic processes and flexibility as to how our team interacts with the consumer. My big goal here was to design something that really fit around that. What we’re building is only the first step in what we’re going to have and how we’re going to change,” he explained.
“At the end of the day, everything we do is consumer-oriented. RefiJet has done an amazing job of hiring, training, and developing an amazing set of people to serve the consumer, but we can’t do it alone,” he stressed.
“Ours is a very third-party, collaboration-intensive process. We have to be able to interact with all sorts of product vendors and service vendors like credit and vehicle valuation services. There’s a lot of moving parts, so making sure we have an environment that would not only sustain that but help grow that was very important to what we were doing.
“At the time we had several partners that were just awesome, but we were a little bit limited with the technology we had. We were able to work with those vendors to make the entire process with them much better, but we also needed other partners.” Those partners needed to share leadership’s devotion to customer service and protection and align with RefiJet’s culture of engagement and transparency.
When their existing communications partner proved to be a poor fit in those regards, cloud communications provider RingCentral stepped up. “RingCentral came in and had a much different presence and approach to how they wanted to interact with our technology and our staff. Ultimately, we had a platform that allowed us to communicate very effectively with the consumer.”
Because their existing platform limited the availability of compatible financial products, RefiJet partnered with AUL, a premier vehicle service contract provider, to develop and build seamless workflows and processes. As a result, Wilcox said, “Not only were we able to offer a better process and a better product, we were able to automate that back end as well to really streamline that process, which also made things better for the consumer.
“We also wanted to find a strong document vendor. We knew that there were many good providers of regulatory compliance and electronic document sharing platforms and signing platforms, and we wanted to find something that was very functional and flexible that would provide a secure pathway for moving documents between ourselves and the consumer and the lender.”
RefiJet chose Lightico for their customer centricity and mobile first approach to documentation management. “It also works very well with what we wanted to do with the seamless transmission of documents back and forth and making sure that process is as easy for the consumer as possible and easy for our agents to do while still maintaining a high level of security,” Wilcox said.
The pandemic emerged on the cusp of the endeavor’s completion. When the need for remote work became clear, the company’s 100% on-premise workforce were shifted to remote by 75% in a two-week span. “The day after we went remote we moved from a limited production release to everyone being in production on the new platform,” he revealed. In just 48 hours, 75% of RefiJet’s employees were online with a new platform for how the business would operate.
“Every team had to manage and mitigate huge amounts of change,” he recalled. “You’re looking at operations teams that are used to being in a call center-like environment with physical proximity to friends and colleagues that creates great energy. You are looking at a training team that had amazing, robust processes and training platforms, but it was all on site. We’ve had to upend so much of that, and without the buy-in of the entire company, which is a testament to the culture, a lot of these things would have failed.
“We were able to pivot and roll out a remote training program that built on and exceeded our previous training program. The training team has such a dedication to making sure that everyone in the company is comfortable with the processes and systems and the service we’re providing,” he pointed out.
“Our managing partners are committed to growing the company regardless of the pandemic or reinvestment technology. They want to provide an amazing experience to the consumer and continue to invest and provide the culture that will grow the business. We aspire to double it every year, and we’re on track to do that. And we have an even bigger goal for 2021. It’s really exciting.”
A Denver, Colo.-based company, RefiJet provides a nationwide vehicle loan refinance program for consumers across different credit tiers who want to refinance to lower their monthly auto loan payment, lower their auto loan interest rate, or get a better loan structure. RefiJet works with a variety of lenders, so it specializes in offering consumers the best deal for which they qualify.