Over the last eighteen months, our industry has seen tremendous change, from Covid-enforced new working practices and the impact on our organisational cultures, to the adoption of hybrid working following government advice to ‘work from home’ and the evolving complexities of customer interactions.
The collective commitment of debt collection professionals to delivering excellent service has remained constant throughout the pandemic. From helping to settle disputes to ensuring debts can be repaid in an affordable, sustainable manner, our specialist teams have helped customers to resolve their debts and relieved much uncertainty and stress as a result.
As the paradigm of customer service continues to evolve and encompass the digital world, the skills and capabilities required are shifting. Good service now includes the ability to use and integrate the right technology at the right time to serve the customer – such as our webchat and smart device app which allow our customer to self-manage their accounts at a time and place that suits them. Although these advances mean more choice for customers in how they interact with us, there will also always be a core need for those fundamental customer service abilities of listening, empathy, emotional intelligence and problem solving which our contact centre agents demonstrate on a daily basis.
Debt is often not an easy topic for people to talk about. There is all too often a stigma attached, and many people have a false expectation of what dealing with a debt collection company will be like having watched a well-known debt centric TV show. We recognise that the need to be treated with respect is fundamental, and in 2021 we introduced a new feedback tool to ensure we were taking customer needs and opinions into account. We have been delighted to find that our customers have rated us on average 9/10 when it comes to helping them to resolve their debts, and it has also allowed to us to recognise outstanding service in our contact centre and helped to shape our future customer journey strategy.
We continue to strive to improve and refine our service and have been proud to have been certified for the BS 18477 standard ‘Inclusive service provision: Identifying and responding to consumer vulnerability’ since January 2021. Whilst any customer can experience inconvenience as a result of a mistake or bad practice, vulnerable customers are often at greater risk and can find it more difficult to exercise their rights.
This standard, awarded by the British Standards Institution means that customers can have confidence that in dealing with Advantis, they are dealing with a company that has been certified as operating fair, ethical and inclusive practices and processes for customers. It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing exceptional customer service.
As we start the year on the cusp of moving out of the pandemic, it is an opportunity to reflect, recharge and refocus.
The coming year will be challenging. There are serious supply chain issues and cost increases facing businesses across many sectors. Interest rate increases and cost of living rises such as food, energy and petrol prices put extra financial pressure on many individuals and families. This will likely result in us speaking to many customers who are finding themselves in debt for the first time and navigating uncertainty and worry as a result.
This is where we have an opportunity to assist our customers. Helping to resolve debts in a manner which is easy and straightforward and professional means that dealing with debt doesn’t need to be difficult. As we all navigate the next twelve months, our commitment is to continue to evolve our service offering to enhance the customer experience and make it even easier to sort out your debt with Advantis.