News & Opinion
An Interview with Mark Porter, Head of Collections at MotoNovo Finance
In terms of your background, what roles did you have prior to joining MotoNovo Finance and what has it been like working at MotoNovo Finance so far?
Aside from a brief stint as a zookeeper at London Zoo, I’ve mainly worked across the finance industry in customer-oriented roles, including at TSB Bank, GE Capital and Moneybarn.
I’ve been at MotoNovo Finance for about 18 months now. The focus here has always been on positioning the company for the future. We’re a rapidly growing business that’s always looking into new ways of reaching out to customers, and that very much includes embracing digital.
What do you enjoy about working for Motonovo Finance?
MotoNovo Finance is a great company to work for. The best thing about it is its culture, its openness to change and the positive working environment. There’s a strong focus on inclusivity and staff wellbeing.
A lot of people only talk about innovation. What I’ve noticed about MotoNovo is that you can really get things done – MotoNovo lives and breathes innovation. We’ll become an industry-leading collections department, partly down to a culture of positivity, teamwork and wellbeing. It’s part of our DNA here, and something we’ve worked hard to foster alongside our growth.
What is your vision for the motor finance market over the next 5 years? How do you see things evolving?
It’s important to recognise that we are entering into a period of uncertainty which can lead to fickle customer confidence levels and concerns about the economy. As an industry, we need to offer support to our customers by embracing digital innovation and new technology to improve the customer experience. For instance, MotoNovo has recently launched findandfundmycar.com, which enables consumers to purchase a car and finance it in one simple process. We’re aiming to connect dealers and purchasers, using new technology to support innovation.
As customers increasingly seek to handle their debt online, how should the motor finance market respond to this new demand for alternative communication channels?
Digital is certainly part of the answer. For companies in this sector to continue to build on their success, they need to recognise that customer behaviour has changed substantially in recent years. Consumers need clear, simple, and quick access to information and the ability to make decisions and find solutions at the touch of a button – and that includes their finances.
The industry is moving towards an omnichannel approach to customer interaction, reaching them on their preferred channel at the right time for them. The aim is to open up a dialogue with customers, to get them talking to us and to make it easier to engage.
It’s worth noting though that the Financial Conduct Authority has highlighted the potential for customer exclusion as we move towards greater digital interaction – we need to ensure our approach is truly omnichannel. Though embracing digital is the right direction, we must also provide a consistently strong experience for customers who prefer to contact us by other means.
How do you see technology assisting the collections process in future?
Open banking is an exciting opportunity. Being able to have customers complete their income and expenditure assessments online and gather their bank account information via open banking agreements will increase accuracy within collections and deliver fair outcomes.
With AI, the industry will be using chatbots and machine learning to interact and better understand customer needs, to gather the insights needed to treat individuals fairly. We’ll definitely be seeing better use of data as a whole to drive smart customer contact campaigns.
What led MotoNovo Finance to the realisation that there was a business need to build their own digital collections platform?
With channels like phone or email, you can only help customers during working hours. With digital, you have a 24/7 collections window that suits customers’ varied lives.
It also helps overcome the embarrassment factor of debt resolution – it’s attractive to go online whenever it suits you, to be able to submit a payment proposal or an income and expenditure statement and agree everything there and then.
For customers who prefer to call one of our agents, as the uptake of digital grows they’ll experience shorter waiting times.
MotoNovo is going through a rapid growth period and we recognise that the best way to continue to deliver great customer service is to embrace technology, especially as it also meets customer demand.
What led you to engage with Flexys specifically to build this platform? How do you see their technology allowing MotoNovo Finance to achieve their vision for the future?
We spoke with several providers during a rigorous vendor selection process but Flexys’ approach to digital collections stood out to us. We chose Flexys because of their innovative approach. They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from the finance sector and they really understand collections.
Whereas other potential suppliers we spoke with offer solutions that are “off-the-shelf”, Flexys were far more adaptable to our business and customer needs. They’ve been helping us create a solution for the future, not one based on what’s already been done.
Their machine learning technology will enable MotoNovo’s customers to deal with us in the way they choose – and digital will be key to this journey. They’re always guiding us towards what else technology can do to make our business better, which is perfect for MotoNovo as we have a forward-looking, innovative culture.
About Mark Porter
A specialist in collections strategy, change management and customer service innovation, Mark is Head of Collections at global car finance provider MotoNovo Finance. With 25 years of experience in finance collections, Mark Porter has worked for many of the industry’s most respected big players, including TSB Bank, GE Capital, Bank of Ireland, Investec and Moneybarn. Mark’s professional profile can be found here.