Our client is the department that manages the debt of delinquent customers, including business/government, wholesale, and personal customers, for a large telecommunications company. Credit Management is also accountable for defining and assessing the credit risk posed by different customer groups.
Our client’s objective was to reduce unnecessary calls and reduce costs (operating cost, bad debt, and debtor days), by meeting customer needs prior to the call.
The project involved an evaluation of processes in all of the organisation’s personal credit phone calls: from product design through to billing and payment, up to the time of pursuing the overdue amount. This involved 900 people in 3 call centres, with 2 major call centres handling inbound calls.
Because the Credit Management team was looking to meet customer needs better, we started by mapping the customer’s journey from first sale contact to overdue payment. We interviewed senior managers and call operators, and listened in on calls to work out what the issues were.
Eventually, we identified the main problem areas: poorly designed product offerings and insufficient or incorrect information. These factors were directly causing long wait times and increased inbound calls.
Following an in-depth evaluation of their processes, we recommended:
- A redesign to customer offerings (especially to high-risk prospects)
- Changes in product design (e.g. pre-paid mobile plans for teenagers, rather than post-paid)
- Better invoice design for clarity of due date
- Update of inbound call processes to include the ability to pay over the phone via menu selection
- Update of outbound call procesess to spend more time with each customer to work out payment plans.
- Revisions to disconnection and reconnection processes, and risk evaluation processes.
After implementing our recommendations, our client was able to:
- Reduce the number of delinquent accounts through the improved offerings
- Reduce wait times and disconnection rates
- Reduce incoming calls by 25%
- Reduce bad debt from $120M to less than $100M.
The project helped our client to reduce bad debt exposure, improve customer service and customer retention rates, and reduce operating costs. The department also received recognition within the organisation for the financial gains these changes yielded. Customer experience analysis has since been adopted more regularly as a method of approaching issues that threaten KPIs (such as call rate reduction).