Pamela Nast

Balancing debt recovery with customer and colleague support

By Pamela Nast, Director, Clear Choice Consulting

It’s difficult to ignore or be unaware of the ‘Cost-of-Living Crisis’. It’s everywhere, television, LinkedIn, radio, media platforms, and is inescapable.

Whilst it’s a good thing to raise awareness it can also create a level of concern and chaos which can drive differing behaviours by our clients, consumers and colleagues. Now, more than ever, it’s key that we spend some time reviewing where we are, all of us.

Ever-increasing demands on spending coupled with a real-time reduction in incoming salaries have brought into sharp focus a pivotal economic landscape. Our frontline colleagues will be having a number of very distressing conversations whilst personally experiencing financial challenges. Can we do more to help them have these conversations?

How close are we to how our consumers are feeling? Have we evolved our processes? What our consumers or even regulators may have deemed acceptable in the past has in all likelihood changed.

Collections, debt, financial risk and financial vulnerabilities have always been difficult waters to sail for consumers and providers alike. A level of sensitivity and pragmatism is needed across all areas. No longer should people be using a broad-brush stroke approach in their business strategy for non-payment. A number of new consumers, who may have never experienced being in arrears or at financial risk, will now fall into a number of your processes.

Existing customers in financial distress, who had previously found a balance in how they manage their money may well have had their stability upset further by the demands on their budgets.

There are two sides to every coin. How do you balance off the support offered to customers and the business commercials? Undoubtedly customers need financial help, more time, cost reductions, more support and payment options and in bigger numbers than seen before. Ethically you must ensure that you are doing all you can to support your consumers and colleagues through this difficult time.

Focusing on consumers means analysing regular quantitative and qualitative data. Debt and money are a very emotive subject and not all consumers will be willing or able to discuss them in focus groups. However, take the opportunity to regular listen, read and see how your customers are feeling. Analyse your key metrics, your customer target quality, reviewing any compliance or regulatory change, processes, agent feedback and social threads.

Providing tools, new business policies, third-party charity support and tailored process solutions for both internal customers and external users is critical. The demands on people will be huge.
If doing this isn’t top of your business roadmap, then it definitely should be as this isn’t going to be a one hit wonder and won’t be going away any time in the short term.

If you need help balancing debt recovery with customer and colleague support, we can help. Get in touch.