How Access Mercantile Services can help your business through this difficult time.
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Each day brings news of COVID restrictions in some part of Australia, or the fear of them. This week there is an unprecedented proportion of the population in hard lockdown. People are having to cope with everything from working at home, and its challenges, to not working at all. Businesses are closing, jobs are lost, and most of the country seems to be stuck in a holding pattern.
Don’t just hit the pause button
Speaking of pausing, that is what is happening with some collection services in Australia. However, many companies continue with collection services and still see major value in keeping an active connection with their customers, proactively reaching out to offer support when support is most needed. Some decrease in activity is necessary, of course, with field agents unable to attend customers’ properties during lockdown, and so on. There is hesitancy as creditors try to balance their need to collect with circumstances beyond the customers’ control, like the inability to work. By pausing credit collection activity altogether, creditors are potentially creating a worse problem for the future. At the end of lockdown, for example, customers could be overwhelmed by a plethora of collection activity and/or increase their personal level of debt as conversations around debt management have ceased .
The reputation of businesses trying collect debt from people who have lost their jobs, and who are struggling to put food on the table, could be irreparably harmed. The damage could result in more than just a lost customer. It could affect your business for years. And yet, businesses can’t afford to write off debt either.
At Access Mercantile Services, we have a multi-dimensional approach. We’ve devised solutions which take a balanced approach to help our clients manage collection activity and keep customers engaged during this difficult time.
Some aspects of client services that Access Mercantile provide are listed below.
Communication is the key, so having an open dialogue with your customer is important. The way in which debt is communicated, and the approach, is critical. We have found that maintaining engagement with the customer results in a better collection rate. That’s why, when we are dealing with a customer, our language is one of open engagement. We take the time to understand the customer’s situation and work with them on a manageable solution. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “We’re here, if you need help.”
Access Mercantile’s call collections team is available for credit Customer Engagement calls that can be customised to meet your needs, providing you with piece of mind that your customers are still receiving proactive contact when they need it the most.
We’ve helped our clients manage their early communication to maintain engagement through payment reminders. With so much change impacting customers lives, missing a payment due to being overwhelmed is understandable. A simple payment reminder reduces future collection activity and keeps the customer engaged.
Access Mercantile’s Early Intervention services are available for your business.
Customer Profiling / Propensity to Pay
Since COVID-19 hit, we have seen that many customers aren't “standard” collections customers — most of them have probably never been in arrears before. These are good customers who have fallen on hard times, due to unavoidable and imposed circumstances, and now find themselves the subject of collection procedures. We identify these customers through analytical modelling and apply a tailored approach to the collections.
Access Mercantile's Propensity to Pay analysis can be added to your service request.
Hardship Identification - identifying those that need support
Our teams are compliant and fully trained in hardship identification and assessment. We are committed to helping customers facing financial hardship. The teams are trained to recognise customers who wish to pay their outstanding accounts but who are unable to do so, due to unexpected financial distress or ongoing problems. We will work with customers to find a sustainable solution.
Access Mercantile's range of services includes hardship identification, hardship referrals and hardship assessments.
Many of our clients are taking the opportunity to focus on skip tracing. This service is more relevant now than ever, as people are displaced due to lockdowns and COVID restrictions. Due to reduced collection activity, clients have extra time to identify customers who are uncontactable. Our dedicated full-time internal location & investigation team offers expertise in locating people who have moved hastily or may be stranded in times such as these.
Access Mercantile’s Skip Tracing can be added to your service request.
Maintaining collection activity that benefits your customer, and your business, both affected by lockdowns and other COVID restrictions, is important to all clients. Talk to your account manager today about how we can support you during this unpredictable and difficult time.
We’re here to help – get in touch with your Account Manager today to discuss what more we can do for you. You can call us on 1300 565 073.
Stay strong and stay safe,
Access Mercantile Team
About Access Mercantile Services
Experts in the credit management ecosystem, Access Mercantile Services have knowledgeable, dedicated and specialised resources to ensure we keep your customer engaged and protect your brand. With a fully integrated end to end credit management model, underpinned by innovation and technology, we act quickly and with agility to deliver a high success rate for your business. With teams across Australia and New Zealand, we can reach your customer no matter where they are. Access Mercantile is ISO accredited, fully compliant and industry affiliated. www.accessmercantile.com.au