Changing the Narrative of Debt Recovery

How we used the pandemic to improve

By Isobel Crosse, Head of Customer Experience

There's no denynig that the global pandemic has changed the socio-economic landscape within the UK and, as it was happening, TDX Group found that we needed to also adapt and change the narrative of fair recoveries. On behalf of the clients we work with through Indesser and the private sector, we have made sure we have put the customer's experience at the heart of delivering responsible collections to ensure that our customers find the best resolutions for them.

We have turned some of our working models upside down to do this and questioned how and why we worked in the way we do. Where we found areas for improvement, we collaborated with our clients and suppliers to effectively make changes and ensure that our customers were being supported during this turbulent year.

2020 Customer Experience in numbers

  • 10m new award winning communications sent to 2m customers
  • 1 award for our communications transformation
  • 2 accreditations
  • 1 vulnerability score developed and implemented
  • 57 communications suites created for our clients
  • 170+ supplier communications suites sign offs
  • 5 virtual conferences attended
  • 1 global pandemic worked through
  • Safeguarding vulnerable customers

We started the year by upgrading our Financial Vulnerability Identifier score to proactively identify customers prior to starting collections activity. Financial Vulnerability Identifier is a unique data asset that we built to identify consumers who are at risk of financial vulnerability and those already in financial crisis before any action is taken on their account. In a 2020 trial Financial Vulnerability Identifier was used to identify an additional 24% of customers who were showing indications of vulnerability but who had not been identified by the client as potentially vulnerable.

Next we developed a Vulnerability Service (V+) offering, combining our Financial Vulnerability Identifier score and a highly curated panel of specialist debt collection agencies, we support creditors across all sectors facing increasing challenges regarding collecting outstanding debt from vulnerable customers.

Dealing with vulnerability requires specialist knowledge, skills and experience. We’ve learned that many companies do not have this as standard, or have limited specialist capability. We’ve ended the year with vulnerability process excellence by achieving the BS18477 consumer vulnerability standard accreditation. An achievement that reflects TDX Group’s continued commitment to providing our customers and clients with the best possible outcomes.

Empathetic Communications

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the largest change to consumer circumstances in over decade, directly impacting uptake of credit, attitude toward debt, and ability to pay. In response, TDX Group rapidly deployed empathetic COVID communications in early lockdown and stopped collections entirely for many of our clients.

Following the initial empathetic communications, we have established a complete library of communications, made up of 60 letters, emails and text messages, designed to adhere to our core principles for communications writing - no stigma, no jargon and no barriers to resolution. We believe that treating customers fairly starts before you even speak to the customer and we have changed our narrative so that the customer experience sits at the heart of how we deliver responsible collections. We have worked with the Plain English Campaign on this library and have been awarded a Crystal Mark for them.

We have now implemented these communications across the majority of our clients and were thrilled to be the winner of the Transformation Programme of the Year, at the Vulnerability Awareness Conference Gala.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Where we see customers more than once, we are able to use the outcome of their previous interactions with us to inform how we should treat them now. We have been able to implement new segmentation models to take this into consideration and also inform how we can design treatment paths for them.

Using this information has benefits for the customers as it means that we provide them with a more personalised service and this, in turn, leads to increased engagement which benefits our clients. The next steps with this will be to look at how we can take this further, providing more tailored customer journeys.

Isobel Crosse, TDX Group
Isobel Crosse, Head of Customer Experience.