Recently, I conducted some research on global regulations, looking at common threads that unify all the regulatory bodies that have oversight roles in this area. Interestingly, I found one on delivering collections on the customer’s terms. As I write this blog, I can feel all the old debt collectors turning in their graves. I remember when debt collection was not on the customer’s terms. Anyone identified in this one customer segment was labeled as a BAD CUSTOMER, and received the same treatment known as “PAY ME NOW”.
Today, changes in regulation and legislation all over the globe have made it mandatory that we be nice to our customers. One piece of legislation already in effect is actually called ‘Be Nicer to Your Customers’. I’m joking – it’s really called ‘Treating Customers Fairly’, so forgive my artistic license!
The interesting thing about this piece of UK-based legislation is that it actually embodies the spirit of much of the legislation that we find elsewhere in the world. In the US, an entire agency was built as a result of the financial crisis to "promote fairness and transparency for…consumer financial products and services". The ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ Regulation goes one step further, as the Financial Conduct Authority mandates that customers must be put at the heart of your business, which is illustrated nicely in their documentation: “Firms should not focus on their own risks, where to do so might be to the detriment of the customers”. Based on this statement, it is clear that collections are now on the customer’s terms.
This ‘customer first’ focus is actually a pretty astute business practice. It guides us to know more about our customers, to differentiate our treatments, and reach out with solutions for those with unique circumstances. With this new focus, customers will definitely benefit from a unique and personalized approach, but in order to drive compliance, we must know more about our customers. By knowing more about our customers, we are not only able to improve compliance, but also the customer experience, existing customer relationships, and ultimately, our collections performance. I am sure that for some debtors this will provide an opportunity to not pay or to significantly extend payment, but I am confident that this overall strategy of collections on the customer’s terms will pay dividends as well.
The world is constantly changing, and the collections space is a great barometer for the ‘evolution’ of the consumer market. We have grown beyond the ‘one size fits all’ approach and embracing a future where the customer has far greater say in how the collections process will play out favorably for all participants. To do this successfully, we need to offer personalized solutions, meet customers in the channel of their choice, and deliver collections on the customer’s terms!
It’s time to evolve. To stay competitive, you’ve got to keep up with your customers—and they’re moving fast. The right systems and software can help you stay out in front. Learn more about how Pega’s Customer Service app can help you evolve your customer service: Download the Pega Can whitepaper.