Centuries ago there existed a warrior- Hercules. And today, in the epoch of modern-day there still exists a warrior- The Collector.
Let’s walk through the time where Collections are a Herculean task and Collectors are the Global Hercules.
Since the birth of order to cash cycle, collections have been a major pain point for corporate companies, impacting collectors and customers over the decades. A similar company which was christened LHOIST was founded in 1889 and is now a global leader with a presence in 25 countries in lime, dolime, and minerals with a turnover of over 2.2 billion euros.
In order to sort the collections tasks swiftly, Lhoist had to achieve these milestones:
1st MILESTONE – Achieving more with less by reducing the complexities of multiple disconnected tools such as calendars, notepads, and calculators for the collections procedure. Consolidating all the information on one platform would be a win-win situation for Lhoist in collections.
2nd MILESTONE – Improving customer experience by collecting money faster and prioritizing customer satisfaction over dialing for dollars. Gaining real-time visibility into individual accounts would not only improve customer experience but also ease the collector’s workload to a great extent.
3rd MILESTONE – Making collections proactive by creating a one-stop-shop for sending customer correspondences, keeping records, and tracking collector’s performance metrics. Approaching the customers with a reminder call before the due date would result in a hassle-free network between the collectors and the customers.
Lhoist as a Global Leader went through a phase of challenges in the field of collections. Some of the major hurdles on the way to success were:
DEATH BY TECHNOLOGY :
“Collectors worked with multiple disconnected tools like calendars, notes, and emails simultaneously”
As a result of this, the whole process became cumbersome. It was difficult to manage so many sources of information and keep a track of them at the same time. As a result, there was a huge loss of time and productivity. Where technology was supposed to be a boon, it only turned out to be a bane.
POOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE :
“Collectors waited until past due date to contact customers and then bombarded them with reminders”
This certainly annoyed the customers and thus, gave birth to a negative relationship between the collectors and customers. Poor customer experience hindered the onboarding of new customers and affected the pipelining of old customers.
REACTIVE COLLECTIONS :
“Customers with less than 30 days past due were rarely contacted due to high workload”
As a result of which, the relation with customers was hampered. Customers were only contacted after their due date which was not a gentle reminder. As an aftermath, the accounts that owed small-dollar values were neglected and collection procedures were only focused on large dollar accounts.
MORE FTEs :
“No prioritized worklist and lack of visibility led to inefficient resource utilization”
This resulted in very less work done even though the collectors gave their hundred percent. The collector couldn’t prioritize when to select, whom to select and how to select the accounts to work on. This resulted in inefficiency. Hence, more and more collectors were hired and nobody could concentrate on other high-value tasks.
COMPLEX COLLECTION STRATEGIES :
“Multiple complex collection strategies based on customer segmentation and company codes”
This led to bigger processes with smaller results. Different strategies had to be aligned with multiple customer segments keeping in mind that the whole process needed to be very precise as well as concise. A very small variety of options were available when it came to different strategies for different customers and collections.
NON-STANDARDIZED CORRESPONDENCE :
“No structured format and absence of a standard strategy for dunning activities”
Due to a lot of manual work, a huge room for human errors was created which led to a lot of mistrust inside as well as outside the company. Segmentation and prioritization didn’t seem to go hand in hand anymore and seemed like two completely different roads.
The new age Hercules, which were the dedicated collectors sorted all the tasks very swiftly :
HERCULEAN TASK 1
You must be wondering how could so many things be sorted all at once? That’s when segmentation was based on rules and strategies while account prioritization was based on proactive collections. Prioritizing accounts based on the due date and other such static parameters reduced the collector’s workload. Accounts were also prioritized based on varying parameters like customer behavior which simplified the job.
HERCULEAN TASK 2
In the modern age, automation has been the answer to just about every question. But how did it solve the problem of non-standardized correspondence? Correspondences were based on the level of collections risk, messages were personalized, relevant files were attached and customer
information was automatically captured. Sending out mass emails at the click
of a button contributed to an increase in the productivity of the collections
team. The availability of templates for correspondence further eased the
HERCULEAN TASK 3
Nobody likes running through each detail here and there. Therefore, notes and call logs were automatically captured, self-reminders were set up and payment commitments were created as well as tracked. Further improvements such as easier access, hassle-free data gathering and single strategic tool to impact collections actions also happened on a bigger scale resulting in the shortening of process time.
The workplace became healthier and happier after HighRadius came into the mix. As a result, all the tables were turned. Altogether, phenomenal results were achieved by implementing a proactive collections process, improved customer experience, structured SOP, and centralized information repository. A significant amount of savings were made in many fields and this was how
automation led to the final win.
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