It was interesting discussion last week at the latest Arum roundtable; “The Future of Collections and Recoveries.”
Big themes of discussion were the increasing customer service nature of collections, challenges implementing modernised processes and how customers are demanding even more change.
Aleks Tomczyk, CEO of Arum said: “We are again at an inflection point in our industry; it is time for us to think not just about the latest technology in collections, but also recognise the direction of travel. Planning for this future, today, is going to become critical.”
Undoubtedly, there are also plenty of economic and political developments that could impact the collections industry in the near term. A rise in interest rates, expected changes to the benefit system, the EU referendum and continued unbalanced growth in the economy, could all provide added pressure to customers. Those already struggling with payments could struggle further and it was recognised by the group as something that will potentially need to be managed within the collections process.
Additionally, there is also a further underlying trend of digital utilisation. Increasingly customers are interacting on line. Over 85% in the under 45 age bracket and still over 50% in the over 45-65 age group now use and expect online mobile apps. It is a trend also reflected in the collections world.
Some customers are starting to be advocates of a company’s brand because of their digital engagement. Collections apps can help the customer manage their money, in the way they want and has the added benefit of reducing cost to serve in some cases. A brand win.
With some interesting data from Randolph McFarlane at Intelligent Environments and reflections on leading edge ideas from Nick Walsh at Arum, there was some healthy debate covering the use of data, regulatory compliance, I&Es, legacy system transformations and change management.
However, the underlying theme was one of treating the customer fairly, and the collections teams being in a good position to help customers in financial difficulty.
A discussion that was a far cry from the historic perceptions of the collections industry. A reflection and credit to a lot of great work that has happened already, pointing to yet more to come.
Arum would like to thank all those that attended and contributed to the discussion. We hope this provided food for thought, in what proved to be a memorable evening.
Arum’s Roundtables are a frequent forum, with key industry players that discuss current hot topics in the industry. If you are interested in attending a future event, please contact Arum here
Chris Warburton, Lead Consultant