When taking the first steps in credit management partnership, the framework and objectives of the co-operation are first agreed upon. They should be specified based on a joint discussion, taking the big picture into consideration.
Too often, you hear about situations in which the specification of goals was left half done. The actual processes of invoicing and debt collection have shaped up to match the debt collection agency’s own processes. In this case, there is little opportunity for the client to make a difference, and the outcome is not optimum from the point of view of partnership.
Open discussion feeds success
A partnership takes two parties. Therefore, it is important for dialogue to be open in both directions. Easy and regular contact supports and promotes this. Both the strategic and service-oriented points of view should be involved in the discussion. Good and open dialogue also facilitates the implementation of genuinely co-created processes and continuous development. This makes it possible to consider the big picture of the co-operation more extensively.
Building financial predictability is important already at the very beginning of the customer relationship. When relevant metrics that are designed to meet the specific needs of the client’s business are used, the success of the partnership and achievement of goals can be considered comprehensively. Instead of merely trying to accelerate the cash flow, business can be supported with the better predictability of finances.
Real-time effortless reporting is the cornerstone of partnership, but instead of building the metrics on figures that can be easily exported from the system, it would be important to engage in open discussion on the objectives of the co-operation.
Thinking for the end client
In addition to conventional metrics, it would also make sense to include in the metrics sections that measure the end client’s experience, and not only in customer service events, but throughout the customer path. After the goals and metrics have been specified, their realisation should be actively monitored.
Clients’ service needs are individual, and this should be reflected in the setting and measurement of joint goals. In order for credit management to be comprehensive, it is necessary to be able to foresee costs and cash flows. The success of the co-operation calls for a conversational attitude for a common goal. In addition to assessing the realisation of the objective, it is essential to strive to find out the impacts achieved and how to further develop operations.
Looking at the customer experience
In this industry, we are conventionally used to thinking about the solutions and implementations from the point of view of the client. Debt collection agencies make companies’ credit management easier and offer solutions to accelerate cash flows. But what if we turned our eyes towards another direction?
In addition to thinking about processes that work from the client’s point of view, could there be another point of view as well? The end client. Customer experience already plays an important role in companies’ business, and its importance will increase further in the future, too.
Customer experience is made of several elements. When selecting a suitable credit management partner, you should make sure how these elements are realised. I recommend considering at least the following
- communication, both towards the client and the end client
- communications channels used
- numbers of contacts
- points of contact
- diverse payment methods
The importance of customer experience cannot overstated. Therefore, it is necessary to invest in it. The debt collection agency’s role in the invoicing and receivable collection processes has a major impact on the service experience of the customers as a whole. A good partnership aims at a joint goal and a functional big picture. Thus, it is the task of both the client and the debt collection agency to offer a smooth and solution-oriented customer experience to the end client. A good co-operation lays down the foundation for all of this.
The credit management industry must reform and look increasingly to the other side of the table. Customer experience and understanding will become central – at last.
At CreditVisor, we have been developing custom processes for our clients of different sizes for a long time. To us, partnership means exactly the above-mentioned things – and more. If you would like to hear how a credit management partnership with us could take place for your company, please contact us. We are a 100% Finnish company, which means that decision-making is close and the co-operation is also smooth and flexible in that respect.
Efficient credit management solutions for businesses from a single partner. Smoother management of receivables and customer-oriented service with CreditVisor.