Lowell’s debt sale and collections industry survey highlighted the significance of these processes in the overall customer journey. With consumer expectations changing, failure to provide expected levels of service is detrimental to brand perception and can cause long-term damage to businesses. Customer journeys that aren’t fully integrated are a common source of dissatisfaction, and organisations are beginning to recognise that delivering excellent customer experience is equally important throughout the entire customer journey. Whilst the position and perception of debt sale and collections within the customer journey is changing, closer attention to measurement and more careful planning of customer handover strategies are needed to ensure future success.
Customer journeys aren’t fully integrated
Our survey found that only a third of organisations described their overall customer life-cycle processes, including internal collections and recoveries, as “fully integrated”. This indicates a potential disconnect with customers at the end of their journey and also highlights interesting challenges and opportunities regarding customer satisfaction and brand protection.
Of organisations surveyed 93% described their organisations as customer-centric but over a quarter believed that their collections, recoveries and debt sale processes weren’t viewed as important elements of the overall customer experience. This discrepancy could be a tell-tale sign that the journey is broken in many organisations and a customer in default is viewed completely differently to actively paying customers.
There is potential for improvement in this area. Internal collections teams would benefit from being closely integrated with the customer experience team, who should be measuring customer satisfaction levels across the whole journey, including the internal collections process. Unsurprisingly, the survey found that 37% of organisations don’t measure customer satisfaction during the internal collections process.
The position and perception of debt sale within the customer journey is changing
The research also found that 78% of organisations believe that customers don’t understand the debt selling process. Connecting the dots between stages of the customer journey is vital for companies to ensure that customer satisfaction is maintained and brand perception is not damaged. Forbes reported that a significant 67% of people subjected to poor customer experience admit to switching provider. These statistics reinforce the importance of the customer engagement activities of the debt purchaser as it will reflect on the debt seller’s brand. So not only does the transfer of customers have to be as smooth as possible, their ongoing management needs to be fully in line with customers’ expectations.
Measurement strategies need to change
The research indicates that customer data and available analytics could be used to better effect. The survey found that 41% of companies don’t measure the brand impact of their internal collections and recoveries processes, over a third of companies don’t measure customer lifetime value, and only 37% map their collections strategies through the lens of the customer.
There is an opportunity for organisations to view debt sale and collections differently and to make sure that customer experience is measured and improved across the entire customer journey.