How can a business continuously improve its collections processes and further grow? How can one implement fast, new solutions to clients? We answered these questions together with the team at Ferratum - who we proudly have as our first large customer.
re:ceeve and Ferratum Group
We were introduced to Ferratum through one of our business angels who was acquainted with their CEO. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Helsinki, they are an international provider of mobile banking as well as digital consumer and small business loans. We are working with their subsidiary, Pactum Collections GmbH ("Pactum"), who are focused exclusively on collections as a master servicer and portfolio manager. 'Digital from day one', Pactum is an established, advanced, analytical collections department and a perfect fit within Ferratum.
When we began working with Ferratum, their focus on "customer centricity, entrepreneurial spirit, candour, respect and winning teams" aligned well with what we envision for our target customer base and that of an ideal customer partnership.
I wanted to take the time to share how we are working together to support their operational and growth goals by:
- Adding channels to drive resolutive dialogue
- Automating processes to drive agility and scalability quickly
- Utilising AI-based decision making to optimise collections messaging
What is Resolutive Dialogue?
This is the foundation of the approach we apply at re:ceeve to help organisations address their operational goals and to have collections efforts improve, versus take away from, the customer experience. No aggressive tactics or threatening messaging that trigger fight or flight reactions are involved.
Instead we apply behavioural science principles to drive engagement, identifying the right channel and message while gathering information about the problem. The customer is offered clear, personalised choices and is free to choose what option best works for them. Providing the best possible experience for customers around unpaid bills was Ferratum’s focus in working with us. It was also their desire to continually optimise their communication strategies with extensive experimentation - improving both the experience and the outcomes.
The path laid out for better customer outcomes is paved by expanding messaging to digital channels that customers actively use. This, coupled with maintaining conventional communication channels that address a small but still important high risk / high value segment, drives the best results.
Furthermore, by using advanced analytics and applying machine learning algorithms, Ferratum can move to a deeper, more nuanced understanding of their high value customers and customer outcomes.
“We realised re:ceeve was uniquely positioned to provide immense value as soon as we discussed the product’s ability to quickly test new solutions, templates, and ideas to drive repayment. It really gave us the best of both worlds: An excellent customer experience and an effective dunning and metrics tool.”
- Tuomas Asunmaa, Ferratum Group
What Ferratum wanted to accomplish next was increased automation of processes and to take full advantage of the data that they collect. By analysing this data, they are capable of optimising all their communication with their customers. They can see what channels work best when communicating outbound. They can see which messaging content works best towards resolution. They can experiment with collections strategies and payment options, optimising for not only the customer experience but for ROI. Most importantly, they can combine technology with their investment in their current employee base and increase both the effectiveness of outcomes and promote a less stressful environment for employees. Ferratum can then more effectively grow and expand internationally without extensive investment in headcount.
Let’s take a step back and focus on some metrics before moving on. There is no point in driving agility and resolutive dialogue if you don’t know what to measure. Here are some points Ferratum considered:
- Headcount: Savings are quickly realised from improving the efforts of staff via automation as well as from reduced employee attrition.
- Servicing Fees: Ferratum wanted a white-label solution, allowing them to address the value-chain of collections in-house eliminating paying fees for services.
- Sale Percentage Loss: By servicing the debt with advanced technology solutions they do not have to lose a cut when selling debt onward.
- Cash Management: Ferratum wanted to significantly reduce their time to recovery. It is easy to understand the benefit of having your unpaid bills in your account faster. The goal was to decrease days-sales-outstanding (DSO) significantly and optimise the management of that cash. As a lender, cash management plays a significant role in your core business and your ability to optimise your lending strategies. It isn’t simply a lowly accounting process.
- Reduced Churn: Finally, there are metrics which are a bit harder to measure but still remain very relevant and were important for Ferratum when choosing to work with re:ceeve. By driving toward a resolution which works both for Ferratum and their customers, churn is reduced. Happy customers come back. They have extensive choices in the market and they will quickly work with your competitor if your collections process leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Further, when you reach out to your customers in their time of need, they become significantly more loyal, generating additional business in the future which you may have never seen.
Now let me give you one example of something which ended up solidifying Ferratum’s choice to work with us. The key 'A-ha moment' was when we showed them how they could see into the customer’s resolution journey to understand where and how to proactively inject process and resources such as a call by a 'human' when a customer is considering instalment options.
"We are always pushing ourselves to be leaders in mobile banking and lending. To continue to innovate, we now have customisable landing pages, new payment options, and AI-driven strategies. Additionally, re:ceeve provided a centralised view of our collections metrics to measure our progress and identify challenges, enabling insights to continually test and improve for experience and ROI.”
- Stephan Schuller, Managing Director, Pactum Collections GmbH
Previously, it was a tedious and complicated process learning where and why a customer 'was lost' in the resolution process. With re:ceeve, once the customer is in dialogue with Ferratum, we can show where they are encountering repayment option hurdles. Do they not understand terms? Or are they simply hesitant to pick an instalment plan versus immediate repayment? These moments of hesitation are the right time for someone to speak with them. re:ceeve can trigger the call center to reach out to this customer and offer to discuss options with them or clarify any questions they may have. Many times, this simple interaction remedies a lot of uncertainty and quickly moves the resolution process forward. The customer gains confidence and feels valued. Before re:ceeve, understanding why customers broke off was done manually and was cumbersome.
Not just slideware AI
The ultimate decision to work with us was when we showed Ferratum our demo of the product. We took them through the process and showed them how the AI component of our solution can be added on top of the processes we were discussing implementing. The fact that the AI worked and wasn’t simply slideware was the trigger to move forward together.
Ferratum is now on their way to having a fully agile collections group whose business can be extended to current and future clients. We integrated with both their internal and external third-party systems as part of their workflow and were able to get the initial phase kicked off without risk to their core systems. They had digital 'DNA' and were not bogged down by outdated manual processes so now they are able to easily test and experiment - rapidly and iteratively. Optimisation is centralised and with re:ceeve’s dashboards, data is collected, communicated and applied. We are proud to work with a customer on the forefront of the digital banking revolution and we look forward to innovating for and with Ferratum to optimise experience and ROI.
We are going live with multiple clients and feel that we can drive the necessary change in the collections industry with our solution. We need to work together with clients to get away from thinking like collections agents. Their customers expect more. They want choices in digital channels and to be treated fairly. They want to be heard when it comes to resolving their issues with our clients. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a demo if you want to find out more.