Live, in person, in 3D – old school meeting technology now fresh and new!

This week was the Credit and Collections Technology Think Tank and awards, live in Manchester. It was the first event I have been to in what will be now over 2 years. A great event, with of course some interesting insights and observations…

  • Working on the train. Concentrating on the screen and not looking out of the window, I had forgotten just how travel sick this can make you. Dizzy, nauseous, hot and cold (not COVID btw, I did test myself again)… I swear it was worse than I remembered.
  • Meeting people live in 3D. An interesting experience. People sound the same and of course are the same as on video, but somehow slightly different too. Sometimes, for some reason, it took a second or two for us to recognise each other, even for people I worked with very closely. There must be something subtle in how we process information to recognise people that makes a difference in person vs on video. Of course now we have seen each other it is back to normal, but interesting nevertheless.
  • Cities are full of young people these days. I suppose this was always true, and maybe this was just city centre Manchester, but there didn’t seem many people above 40 about. Where did we all go?… maybe they are all happier sitting at home, working remotely and hestitaing commuting into the city? Maybe so, maybe not, but could be an interesting new trend to follow.

Workwise, the reason I was there, there were definitely some interesting, consistent themes that came through.

  • Think about impacts across the customer lifecycle. Using data to create positive customer outcomes was frequently discussed. However an outcome is not just an outcome in the moment (eg on a call), but also outcomes are created later, in a week, a month or even years later. All experiences are linked and being able to link outcomes back to root causes earlier in the customer lifecycle can be particularly powerful and beneficial.
  • Data sharing. There was some consenus that we do not make enough of common data, across multiple elements in the customer journey. Be it technology applications, internal processes and even external companies too. Contact preferences, activity history and gathered data can all be shared, reducing the amount of wasted time and process rework, re-capturing and validating the same information multiple times.
  • Information is valuable. However, this information is intrinsically valuable itself. Companies that have spent time, effort (and money) capturing this data, are clearly going to be loathed to give it away. It could result in them losing potential competitive advatanges. It is an interesting dynamic being set up.
  • 100% digital automated processes. There was a general consensus was this cannot happen in full and a human is still needed in many processes. Data can (and should) of course be used to segment and triage who does what, but when all else fails a human to human contact is needed. This is a great source of data and also an outlet valve to find out where automated processes are not working too. Removing, without alternatives, could result in complications.
  • Think about new and time series data. There has been lots of technology and data introduced recently and indeed we had plenty already too. Data on how we interact with websites, credit bureau details and how this changes over time, across the customer journey, can all be used to identify vulnerability and affordabilities issues.
  • Creating points friction. In a world of frictionless journeys, sometime we also need to create points of friction too. This can be to ensure key messages are seen by customers or even to capture new behavioral data.
  • The future view. Finally, there was no real consensus around timing for an increase in arrears volumes, nor on the exact details on the next shock or technology we need to prepare for. There was however consensus that we need to make sure processes are flexible, adpatable so should another shock occur we are able to adapt quickly. With all the new technology implementations the last 1-2 years, rather than overlaying more change we need to ensure we we embed and make the most of what we have already too. There is value there.
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All in all an interesting couple of days. Have a good weekend everyone.

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