After the Pandemic… Debt Collection in a post COVID world

After the Pandemic… Debt Collection in a post COVID world

Look around you…

Shops are opening up, the streets are busier than they have been, and even though social distancing is in place, things are looking more and more ‘normal’ out there.

In reality, this is anything but normal, and we still have a long way to go before we can even dream of saying that we are anywhere near ‘over’ this.

For many businesses reopening their doors and welcoming back previously furloughed staff, the next few months and years (if they make it that far) are littered with trip wires and land mines.

The trip wires are the new Government advisory measures, such as social distancing and the 2-metre rule.

For many, the difference between 2 metres and 1 metre could be the difference between survival and closure. There’s the risk of staff having to isolate too, and even local lockdowns to come that could limit the chances of a successful recovery.

In terms of land mines, we’re talking about big changes or sudden events that would make the chances of survival even slimmer than they already are.

Perhaps the biggest of these land mines, is the threat of enforcement and debt collection. A letter or a visit, when they are fully back up and running, could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

For enforcement companies like ours, there is a huge responsibility to meet the needs of both sides of the coin.

Of course, we need to serve our clients, but we also know that there are some businesses and individuals out there, who might see companies like ours as the Grim Reaper right now, and that is not an image we want to cultivate.

Communication, understanding and discretion.

That’s what we’re championing at #TeamCES, and here’s why…

If the 2008 financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we need to consider the events of the time when categorising debtors.

  • Who was in financial difficulty before coronavirus?
  • Who is in financial difficulty because of coronavirus?
  • Who is using coronavirus as a ‘get out of jail’ free card?

These questions are where the discretion element comes into play, as individual cases need to be considered on an individual basis. It’s the only way.

Understanding will also be key, as there are likely to be many debtors up and down the country, who have been cast into this position without much, if any, warning.

They could be bereaved, they could be without staff, and they could be owed money themselves.
In order for discretion and understanding to be used effectively, communication is going to be vital.

Luckily for us, it’s what we do best. We communicate, we consult and we build trusting, fair relationships that aim to achieve the best outcomes for everyone involved.

  • And what about those outcomes?
  • How will we reach them?
    Well, it certainly won’t be easy.

Case loads are expected to increase for companies like ours, and there will be tightropes to be walked in terms of pleasing everyone.

We will endeavour to satisfy our existing clients, whilst taking on new clients in the process. Our frequent streams of communication will be vital in maintaining existing relationships and fostering new ones.

We will succeed in this, because of the value we place on exceeding the expectations of our clients.

To the debtors we come into contact with, we will work tirelessly to identify vulnerability. Upon the identification of vulnerability, we will, as always, point debtors in the direction of support. As we emerge from the shackles of lockdown, we all have to keep an eye on each other.

Times are going to be hard. We are not the wolf at the door. We are an enforcement company, but we are humans before everything else.

As we’ve already mentioned, discretion is vital, and we will work closely with stakeholders over arrangements such as payment holidays or adjustments to instalment contracts.

The aim will always be to recover the debt, but to ignore the recent world events that may have caused a company to struggle, would be to make the same mistakes that the industry made back in 2008, and we are big believers in learning from our collective mistakes.

Every single business. Every single individual for that matter, will be emerging from the crisis with a different story to tell, and as an enforcement company, we have to listen to each and every story, before moving forward with purpose and professionalism, to achieve positive resolutions.

We are gearing up for a busy time, because our reputation speaks for itself, but we are ready to serve our clients effectively, whilst balancing the needs of debtors compliantly.

There is so much to take into consideration.

Increasing insolvency claims will make debt recovery more difficult for many creditors, and so acting swiftly is important.

Of course, we know that acting swiftly to resume debt collection may not be appealing to some, as they fear it could be seen as unsympathetic or potentially damaging to their reputation. There are the costs of recovery to think about as well, but in many cases, initial legal advice is free or at least cost effective.

We advise everyone to seek advice on the best way to proceed.

All things considered, we think that now is the time to kick back into action. To start up the process of debt recovery in earnest, but to proceed with caution.

‘Proceeding with caution’ is a phrase that many have been paying lip service to of late, but for us, it is going to be an essential mission to stick to.

Every mission needs a strategy.

Our strategy is to communicate effectively in order to use discretion, to show understanding, and ultimately, to achieve the best outcomes for all.

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