As rising bills and economic uncertainty put pressure on household budgets, energy providers are looking hard at their debt collection capacity and processes with an eye to protecting revenue. The rapid growth that many new entrants have enjoyed is leading to the number of customers in arrears rising surprisingly quickly. This makes timely planning for effective debt management processes all the more urgent.
On top of the threat to revenue, digitally-acquired customers naturally have high expectations of customer service levels and can quickly cool their enthusiasm when they feel let down or frustrated. A couple of clicks on a swapping site and they are gone. As systems are tested in times of stress, this can have a detrimental effect on ratings and reviews and sometimes, an unpleasant knock on effect on the trajectory of the business.
More positively, the newer energy companies are built on agile technology and clear customer-focused values, so developing a more resilient debt collection capacity is unlikely to break their stride. Unlike their older, legacy system-dependent competitors, they already have a digital-first ethic and an easy fit with progressive collections software.
Ready for tomorrow?
Managing customers in arrears is the most sensitive part of any business and one subject to a high level of scrutiny and regulation. It’s not an area where any organisation can afford to risk getting things wrong. It is worth taking stock of the initial collections functionality, that fitted business requirements in the beginning, and asking whether it has the ability to sufficiently evolve and scale as consumer debt levels rise. If it cannot, then the resulting impact on revenue is bound, in turn, to impact on the ability to invest and grow across the business.
The bottom line – everyone benefits
Revenue management and customer satisfaction are crucial to the survival of any organisation, In debt collection, they come together. Consumers facing difficult circumstances are all the more alert than ever to the way they are valued and treated, meanwhile their arrears hold back a portion of revenue that must be accounted for.
Today, debt collection is increasingly seen as a customer service, helping customers manage life’s ups and downs while still focusing on keeping the revenue stream flowing. It’s a delicate balance, aided by modern technology, customer-centric thinking and innovative processes. In the competitive, provider-switching energy sector, insufficient planning for consumer debt can leave businesses struggling to hold on to customers and struggling to recognise revenue trapped in arrears. With economic uncertainty forecast, there is no time like the present to prepare.