Some people don’t like talking about debt collection. They might think it is nasty or mean, embarrassing maybe. I actually see debt collection as a vital pillar of society’s economic system. The ultimate truth is that somebody always pays. And if one customer doesn’t pay, then all the other customers have to pay more. Otherwise your company will suffer. So debt collection is actually a basic way of ensuring the fairness of the system.
Of course debt collection can be done in many ways. Some companies see debtors as sinners, bad people. We, on the other hand, have learned over the years that there are so many reasons someone might not pay. This month might be a particularly stressful one, financially and emotionally. Someone might be going through a divorce, or another traumatic event. Or simply forgot to pay their last bill. So yes, everyone should pay, but missing a payment doesn’t mean someone is a bad customer.
We understand that any customer who ends up in a debt collection system chose at one point to buy from you, and will want to do it again – if treated fairly. That is at the heart of our philosophy. We know how to treat people. We know how to get paid in a way that is good for you and your customers.
It’s all about creating long-term customer value. It costs you money to acquire a customer, and we won’t ruin your investment. That’s why we take measures, like our ongoing survey of debt collection customers in Sweden, to ensure that people feel fairly treated. If the survey reveals areas for improvement, we will improve.
Flexibility is another major shift in the industry, particularly in terms of the way you can interact with debtors. We see the debtor more as a customer, so we open up new ways to keep in touch. We use the internet, email, consumer portals, mobile phone applications and better opening hours. And we have also introduced flexibility in terms of payment solutions for the debtors. We empower debtors to suggest ways of handling their debt. This shift involves educating everyone involved: our clients, our staff and the debtors. We see this changing mind-set as a major focus area for the development of our debt collection offering.
The very nature of debt collection is also undergoing a change. We see a clear trend for invoices and claims to be sold off much earlier in the process. In some industries, especially e-commerce, this shift means that there is almost no third-party debt collection. This makes it so important to have a seamless and transparent chain, which is how we have structured our offerings. Have a look at our solutions – we do things differently at arvato.
And we do them better. Our approach pays dividends, partly because we treat people fairly. People will call if they have a problem. They know we want to help, and that makes them more willing to pay. That flexibility I mentioned earlier is an important part. We are available. There is a reason we have people on the phones until 9 in the evening, so that debtors can get in touch via phone, email, portals. We will be there, available for their call, solving their problems and getting their payments to you.
And of course we also work scientifically. We know who to contact and when, thanks to our analytical capabilities. We know the best times of the month to contact people, the best channels for reaching different categories of customer. With our international strength, we are constantly seeing new trends and developments from debt collection around the world, and we refine and update our offerings to ensure they are the best.
We encourage you to benchmark us against other debt collection companies, because we are confident we will outperform them. It’s about doing things better, doing them smarter. And making sure that fairness and flexibility are always the foundation for what we do.
– Jan Altersten
Chief Executive Officer, arvato Financial Solutions Nordics