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Brian MacFarlane

Over the past two years, Covid-19 has been a massive burden for us all for a multitude of reasons. But it’s only now that we’re truly dealing with the shock that the pandemic has caused to the world economy and the harsh financial reality that we face.

The cost of living has hit a 30-year high as energy as fuel and food prices soar. The energy price cap is set to rise by 54% on 1st April 2022, which will mean that 22 million households will have to pay roughly £700 more per year. Inflation has risen to 5.5% and is expected to go beyond 7% this year.

We’ve seen disrupted supply chains and major delays in shipping, allied to manpower shortages and surging consumer demand. Prices are continuing to increase, with the cost of shipping going up and many key items missing from shelves.

Consumers and businesses alike are looking to the financial services sector to help, with loans, credit cards and overdrafts needed more than ever. No matter how prudent the risk strategy, an increase in credit use means more customers are struggling to make payments.

So it’s crucial that the collections industry proactively supports customers who are facing difficult times.

How can the collections industry help?

Credit providers need to ensure they compassionately support customers in their hour of need, and they can do this while still minimising the impacts to their own revenue. The industry must focus on three key elements:

  • Insight
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure



Understand your customers – Use the information that you have about your customers to build a profile that recognises the customer’s needs and identifies the most appropriate manner of engaging with them.

Engage with your customers – We are in a digital world and people expect communication to be prompt and personal. Organisations must make interactions convenient for customers, using language and a tone that is engaging. Contact must be when and how a customer wishes it to be.


Self-service – Organisations can reduce the cost of serving by providing customers with more convenience. Collections organisations have historically used a rigid letter-and-telephone approach, but in this digital age, interactions must be multi-channel, providing customers with full self-service options for payment, engagement, and advice. Recent Capita research revealed that 52% of customers want to self-serve online.

Technology – Continual innovation is key to providing a best-in-class customer experience. Intelligent technical solutions and clean, accessible analytics allow you to implement agile strategies that challenge current performance, drive continuous improvement, and enhance the customer journey.


People – Frontline staff are the eyes and ears of an organisation, and it is key that they have the appropriate knowledge, soft skills and support to provide an excellent customer experience.

Quality – With great leadership, training and use of innovative technology, you can ensure that the information provided to customers is delivered in an empathetic manner, is relevant and gives the best possible opportunity for first point of contact resolution.

Challenge – Don’t be scared to review your practices, test your processes and seek to understand the culture, aims and challenges of your business. Again, linking back to research undertaken by Capita, this has proven to reduce cost-to-serve by as much as 29%.

Your care makes customers strong

There is no doubt that we are entering extremely challenging times in a world that continues to throw new curve balls. As businesses, it is vital that we are ready to face these challenges and show the strength of leadership to guide our customers through their difficult journeys.

By being proactive, empathetic and transparent, we can make that journey a lot easier for them. We can earn our customers’ trust and show that even in testing times it is possible to be a caring business as well as a sustainable one.

Explore more about how we’re helping the retail banking sector

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Written by

Brian MacFarlane

Brian MacFarlane

Business Development Manager

Brian has over 20 years’ experience of consumer credit with a deep expertise in the collections sector. Brian is heavily invested in helping firms put fairness at the centre of their customer service to produce better outcomes. And with access to innovations like automation, AI, data analytics, self-service with 24-hour access, Capita can help, whatever the challenge.

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