It hardly seems conceivable that customers thank ‘their’ collection service provider after a completed dunning process. But the fact is that this is exactly what happens to the atriga team repeatedly, as excerpts from customer references impressively prove on the website: https://www.atriga.com/en/company/references/. This is because of the customer-centred dunning process with which atriga supports defaulting payers as a service provider instead of setting up the usual threatening scenarios. Due to his long experience, in-house lawyer Steffen Himer, head of atriga’s legal and debt collection department, knows “that these clients are usually only late payers who do not intentionally leave the debt unpaid, but unfortunately also more often live beyond their means.” ‘Service instead of reminders’ is therefore also the solution for Himer, and the defaulting customers served by his company prove him right.
Processes from the last millennium
Times have changed, but the way we deal with so-called debtors has not: today, virtually everything can be bought on credit, and every product usually has a financing offer attached to the price tag. If a payment disruption occurs, processes begin that have their roots in the last millennium. “Many large companies and also parts of the collection industry have fallen into a technology trap from which they can hardly escape. Their technological infrastructure from the 20th century cannot be transferred to the 21st century with only a few clicks,” says Himer. His company recognised the social change at an early stage and, as one of the pioneers in the industry, has been driving technological and organisational innovations in the area of customer-friendly receivables management for over 17 years: “We imposed strict guidelines on ourselves when we were founded and are fully committed to service-oriented debt collection, without the usual threatening scenarios and standard reminder letters. Instead, we provide defaulting customers with helpful service offers – fully digitally controlled and automated – and this as soon as the payment disruption occurs.”
Service instead of reminders:
Innovative IT processes support people
Steffen Himer describes how the collaboration between people and the highly innovative IT environment at atriga has proven its effectiveness: “IT processes are always just a means to an end. They help our employees to meet people at eye level, to address their personal situation, for example, to talk through various repayment options.” For years, the receivables managers from Langen have relied on applicable research results from the fields of behavioral research, behavioral economics, psychology and sociology, among many others.
The ‘service instead of reminder’ principle developed by atriga relieves employees in the collection department of many standard processes, leaving more time to support defaulting customers with more complex processes through individual solutions at a very personal level. Steffen Himer explains how this works: “A high degree of automation, modern self-services and highly personalised communication with defaulting customers controlled by algorithms bring benefits for everyone involved: This approach not only enables us to increase the willingness to pay among defaulting customers, which in some cases is up to more than 20 percentage points higher than with outdated dunning processes of the old economy. We also see that the service approach is perceived positively by the defaulting customer, as consistently proven by the friendly response. It’s hard to imagine greater praise for our work.”