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In Focus Consumer Credit The changing customer view

Last month, CCRMagazine and FICO brought together a senior group of industry professionals to consider how the industry would be affected by future regulation. They were: Bruce Curry, EMEA collections & recovery business lead, FICO (BC); Chris Hague, UK commercial director, PRA Group (UK); Connie Smith, head of collections & recoveries, HSBC; Dougie McManus, managing director, Zinc Group (DM); Dewi Fox, managing director, Arc (Europe); Laurence Venn, head of collections, Yorkshire Building Society; Howe Timms, retail division credit director, Close Brothers (HT); Denise Crossley, chief executive, MMF (DC); Richard Lax, head of lending quality, Yorkshire Building Society; Dave Wilson, MIS & systems development manager, Phillips & Cohen Associates International; Ian Simpson, senior manager – collections, NewDay; Phil Basford, head of strategy analysis and change, Nationwide Building Society; Lee Webb, head of early stage collections, Vanquis Bank (LW); Emma Ryan, head of redemptions, Amicus (ER); Julian Winfield, UK country manager, Hoist Finance; Richard Carter, chief executive, The Nostrum Group (RC); Frank Horvath, managing director, Link Financial Outsourcing (FH); Richard Kernick, head of risk strategy, Santander Consumer (UK) (RK); and Garry Fearn, debt sale operations manager, Shop Direct Financial Services

on it and do all their bill purchasing and settling through WeChat. They launched their bank and the process for credit application can be completed on the channel within three minutes: a decision is delivered, and, if it is a yes, then it is available to spend within three seconds, or, indeed, is available on the phone- wallet that the customer has just used to make the application.

They have all the technology, but even they looked at it and said ‘we need an omnichannel’ because, even though technology is the core channel for their customers, when it comes to collections, the first thing that the airtime providers do with the telephone when it looks like payment may not be forthcoming – they cut the service! All telcos use service suspension as a means to motivate payment on overdue amounts.

I do not think that enough people really understand what omnichannel is, and the differences between the channels themselves.

So they do not really understand the kind of experience customers are used to, and some of their other digital behaviours. Much of the time, omnichannel service is totally dependent on the nature of the rules engine that is driving it, and how dynamic that is, how it is using the data. I am continually saddened by the slow speed of uptake here.

RC: We used to own a debt collection business, but I could never understand how debt recovery worked at an economic level. It seemed to be a hideously inefficient process: you are ringing people at different points of the day to talk to them about a topic that they do not really want to engage on. Then, when you do get to talk to them, you have to be very careful about the process you follow to ensure that it is compliant and you have taken all of the customer circumstances into account, including affordability, even when they offer to make a payment.

You then look at sending letters out and, in the old days, you had no idea what happened to them.

Contrast that, then, with an automated solution today and, although I do not believe that you can automate everything, you can bring in slices of automation that provide both better outcomes for the customer and more efficient processing for the organisation.

DM: My feeling is that a lot of these technologies, at the DCA end, are ‘nice to haves’. So, you will have channels here where people are engaging and coming on – in our world, that does not happen as much as we would like to see.

We have been doing fairly sophisticated digital activity for two years and probably fewer than 20% of the people we engage with do so over a digital platform. At the back-end, the industry is still a bit naïve and so are our customers. Until the front-end lending piece drives the


Left-right: Frank Horvath; Garry Fearn; Julian Winfield; Lee Webb; Richard Kernick March 2017 21

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