Data, Contact, Customer Journey – making the most of digital

In this full interview with Matt Whale from DebtStream we chatted about the most recent developments in Digital and Collections. This has clearly evolved from being a necessity for many companies to stay in business to now being a necessity for customers, so a need to stay in business.

However, this is still evolving and there is now much more nuance and understanding of how digital is not an endpoint but a tool to help, and it needs to become embedded within the whole customer journey… The question is now personalization and orchestration.

Find out more about DebtStream-> Here.

Interview Transcript

0:03
So hi, everyone, I’m here with Matt whale today, Matt wells, the head of implementation customer success at that stream and that stream are in the digital automation, collections automation sort of space. So Matt, thanks so much for joining me today. It’s, it’s great to have you,

0:18
it was good to see you, Chris. Always nice to be here, for sure.

0:21
So, tell me tell me a little bit about I suppose what’s new in the digital collections space? I mean, are you guys been going for a while now? And if you could just find out what’s been going on over the last few months? I know, it’s been a bit seems like it’s been a bit of a crazy time, to be honest,

0:34
very much a bit of Yeah. So a while 12 months, really, in essence, I suppose the company’s been around for three and a bit years now. But it’s really been these last 12 months that we’ve really pushed to the fore. Post receiving the investment that we needed to really grow the business and really tried to push ourselves into into the marketplace, as you know, as a true sash SaaS provider for the solutions. And I suppose we’ve continued to see a thirst for digital from the scalable benefits that it provides to, to the myriad of different industries, organisations, businesses, that are finding themselves in a position that they need to manage customers in these situations. So I think, you know, that has very much continued

1:27
through the COVID pandemic, he was very much like, we need to have Digital’s which will stay in business, right. And then I think through the KV pandemic, it feels like there’s been a bit of a change of habit, almost like where we used to say, well, as a younger demographic that used to be, you know, there’s really going to use digital, and the older demographic maybe doesn’t, but now it just seems like everyone’s using it now. And sort of no change of habit, really. But is it still about that business continuity? Or is it is it a change in thinking or is it or is was prepped for the future as well, in terms of potential volumes coming through,

1:58
I think, to sit on the fence, I think it’s a bit of all of that, I think what we, what we definitely saw with the pandemic was an It was an absolute need for business continuity, you know, contact centres closed down overnight. And businesses without any kind of an I always preferred self service to digital, without self service provision suddenly couldn’t operate. And that became an absolute necessity. But I think what hopefully more and more businesses are recognising is the digital first. And I’ve always been an advocate of Digital First, I’m very, and I wrote a piece quite recently, if people want to go and read it on our, on our company website, that the decisioning for a customer should never be binary, it shouldn’t be a case that I’m choosing at the outset of the engagement with an organisation, I’m choosing to be a digital customer, or I’m choosing to be an analogue customer, it should always be an orchestrated journey that takes us to a myriad of channels completely dependent on the needs and the outcomes that are desired. And for me, that should always be wherever possible, a digital first approach, because that digital first approach allows what we’ve just talked about their business continuity, scalability, it allows for the nuances between generations who prefer different engagement points. But I think that what we are, as well, and as you said, is preparing for the future. We are moving across all generations that I always use the analogy of my my stepfather, who was very, very anti technology, suddenly, as a very vulnerable person during COVID. If he couldn’t do his shopping online, he wasn’t going to get very far. And now through that gateway activity, is a real Silver Surfer is doing all sorts of wonderful things online. It’s fantastic. But I think we are very much seeing that he would that was the catalyst that launched a lot of people who felt a little bit unsteady in that world to find their feet, get some confidence through gateway activities, and are now using such technology, like Sid for a whole myriad of activities throughout their, their lives and their social activities, which is great.

4:11
I mean, it really isn’t that complicated, I suppose is what people sort of realised. And it’s got a lot of utility in it. But you’re quite interesting. You’re saying they’re around it being considered almost like a binary activity. I mean, even the word digital right, or self service is kind of like it’s like, everyone either does this or they do another on the phone. Right? And and it’s sort of like there’s much more sort of degrees of grey right than then we tend to completely I’ve

4:34
learned, I’ve worked for collections, businesses that would often compare our analogue collections to our digital collections. Now know that your customers they are there are activities that all of your customers are doing in a pot. And what we’ve got to see is that our customer has a need and requires an outcome. And from that need, and that outcome, there will be a journey and that journey needs to be orchestrated, and that journey may have a very simple need and a very clear outcome and can be completely facilitated to a digital journey. That journey may have a very complicated and difficult to understand need and require a myriad of different outcomes. And the journey needs to segue between a whole host of different interaction points, channels, expertise within a business to get to that endpoint. And technology then should be the facilitator, and not what the customer feels is the block. And I think we’ve often have been there where we’re trying to engage with an organisation, and you feel trapped in a digital maze, the mind can’t get to the people I need to speak to to resolve this, and a five second conversation. I mean, I’ve been in this digital world for half an hour, and I can’t even find the way I came in, let alone the way to get out. And I think personalization we hear talked about a lot. But it is truly recognising. And it’s something that I bang on a lot about with the guys at debt stream. And it’s an eye bangle a lot when I speak externally. And that is journey orchestration, understanding how we move from the position of need to the position of outcome with all of the different tools that we have at our disposal as an organisation.

6:11
So we get caught up sometimes in this in this light, we’ve got this great technology, and now we’re looking for a, you know, a need for it. Rather than, like technology, we got this, this suite of all these different types of technologies, and how do we just solve customer needs, if you sort of mean so we’d like being technology led rather than being customer led, what you’re saying is like, well, let’s let’s be customer LED. And you know, this digital technologies, self service technology is just another tool in the toolbox.

6:35
And it’s it’s exactly that, and that is very much how I’d like to, for people to see it and, and something that I banged on about. So just close something, I’m not really banged on about a great deal, when I was on previous organisations to say it is a tool, as same as many other things are all our tools within our toolbox over customer outcome and everything should always be, I think we, we must always hold that in our mind’s eye, that we are an organisation that will not exist without customers, they happen to be our complete focus, we have to be customer centric in what we do.

7:15
And so from a almost like a digital sales point of view, do you think we’ve reached sort of peak digital or peak noise around digital or peak noise around even pianos around self serve? And I mean, we get sort of moving down that that maturity curve, so becomes a little bit more realistic,

7:32
very much. So I think for a little while, digital was the panacea wasn’t it? Was it solve everything, no problem at all? What does that all there’s a digital solution for this for this, for this and what didn’t happen was looking at how it embedded into a far reaching organisation. You know, digital does help reduce cost. But it the driver of it shouldn’t be about reducing cost. The driver it should be about almost not expending cost, where it can be better used elsewhere. And this is where I’ve always been very passionate about this digital first approach, what digital is very good at is a triaging service, where you can a customer is able to come in non threatening unilateral experience on one side of the screen with a person sat next to if they want some support and some guidance, all at their own pace, if they want to walk away and understand the situation. And from that understanding the situation could then see perhaps the route to the solution and that staying in that channel, but they may need to travel elsewhere. But what that digital triaging allows you to do is we’re not expending cost on customers that are just very happy with the simplistic route. And what we are able to do is use that cost on those customers with a more complex or more challenging issue that we need to resolve. We’ve actually got the facilities at hand then to deal with that. And I think, you know, we often talk about capacity in call centres where that capacity perhaps is we’re using these call centre agent almost as order takers, where really we could be looking to upskill them to focus in much more of a customer care type way to deal with those situations that need that kind of interaction and digital trails and

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9:18
allows for that comm. Do you think there’s always a need for for human interaction?

9:24
I don’t think there’s always a need. I think there’s always I think there’s always a need for an option. I think for businesses that have gone entirely self serve, I do find that and again, it does depend on the industry that you operate in. Okay, and some in some industries, it will lend itself to it. Because your customer need your customer one may always be one that can be self served. But I do feel that, especially when we’re looking in the collections and recovery space, when there is significant customer detriment Through the non resolution of a situation, that we should always ensure that we keep open every possible opportunity of access and engagement. It’s up to us how we are keep saying this, how we orchestrate those entry points. And which customers we open them up to to ensure that we haven’t got everybody coming flooding through a gate they don’t need to go through. But I think that is responsible organisations within the industry, it’s absolutely imperative that we have that plethora of engagement points and channels for a customer. That’s key, and always will be.

10:42
And I suppose I suppose in collections, at least anyway, there’s some situations and as you’ve seen this, which is customers don’t necessarily want to speak to an agent, sometimes they actually want to do things online, rather than necessarily engaging with someone. I mean, do you see that too,

10:57
I agree. And I’m always very open about my past and 20 something years ago, I thought it was a fantastic idea to spend 35,000 pounds on credit cards, that all very quickly defaulted, because I was way out of my depth. And these were the times when there wasn’t a digital option. And the telephone calls would start at seven o’clock in the morning, and they would continue until seven o’clock at night. With people hounding me for money, it was a very different industry back then. And I wouldn’t pick up the telephone, I didn’t want to speak to people. And peace would come around the middle of the month, because my phone bill had been not paid. So my phone had been cut off by then, so they couldn’t get through. So it gave me a little bit of peace for two weeks. But all I wanted was to be able to try and understand the depth of the hole I dug for myself, or the gravity of the situation I was finding myself in without what I felt was opening up a a route for challenge I didn’t want challenge at that point. One thing you feel when you find yourself in that situation is you feel very, very powerless. Because you have lost control of a situation, it is spiralling you feel, under great pressure, and you find very find it very, very difficult to get clarity of thought, there’s a great deal, I always refer to this as a great deal of noise, because everybody’s coming at you. And what a digital channel does provide is the opportunity to just go and sit and assess, I can look, I can see my balance, I found it very difficult to understand the balance that I owed a number of the different credit card companies that had lent to me what I actually owed, I couldn’t understand what my options were, I didn’t know there was something called a settlement, I didn’t know that I could create a payment plan. All I knew at that point was I owed cap, one seven and a half 1000 pounds. And somebody from a debt collection industry, the company that I won’t name kept ringing me, every single day leaving messages telling me I had done seven half 1000 pounds. Now, what digital does provide is individuals like me to go and say, right, what is this situation? Scope

12:57
is so you talked very little about control, right? And the fact that you want to have control and you’re in that situation? And do you think do you think the digital piece fundamentally is about empowerment, it’s about giving back? Yeah, giving back control back to back to back to back to customers, right, which is a wider theme that we’ve kind of got going on, which is like we all want to feel in control. And I suppose with digital and the Internet, we feel like we’re in control over insurance, whatever it is, I mean, do you think that’s the same theme and is, is kind of critically important,

13:22
I yet most definitely, you know, there’s a much wider piece of play here. And those who find themselves in those positions, it significantly affects your self esteem, it significantly affects your mental health, it significantly affects your self confidence affects your ability to communicate. So digital does provide, like I said, it provides key information that on a telephone you just can’t absorb. Because you’ve got somebody talking about you allows you to absorb it. And then it shows you your options, which is key to empowerment, I now have choice. Now those choices may be limited. But you know, for me, I I’d got myself into that situation. And for other people, the choices may be more wide ranging, because they’d had those situations pushed upon them through no fault of their own own. I think we’re gonna see lots more of this with what is currently happening. Interest rates, skyrocketing household bills going up fuel prices, that you know, RPI increases, that people are having these situations. So I just wonder they’re gonna find themselves they need to understand what are my options? What does it mean for me? And how do I resolve what do I do and digital does provide that. But what is is key again, and people are going to get fed up with me using this Oh word is how we orchestrate the journey from there. And for some of those people, and this is where data is key. personalization of Journey is key signposting key is seeing what we can capture, see and what we can understand. And then that provides that tailor journey to that individual to say, these are your resolution points and use in plain language, which is always so important. These are, what your outcomes these are, what your resolution points are. And long term, this is what it means for me, I was very fortunate, I went and spoke with the CCCs, as we all know, no a step change, who took complete control of the situation for me, and lifted this huge weight. And the resolution for me was paying hundreds of pounds for the next seven years to pay these debts off. But I knew what had to be done. I had a plan in place, I saw my resolution. What digital can help provide people aid it is access to pay plan to step change. And to come back in. If that could be the orchestrated journey, I need to go and I need to hear from a third party, the support and help that I need. Now, when we say people in these situations don’t want to talk to a human, they might not want to talk to the human who’s asking them for the money. But I most definitely wanted to talk to somebody that was in my corner to provide me hell. That was the orchestrated journey that I needed. And that person told me how I’m needed to manage the situation. If I’d had a digital route to go back in and set up payment plan to these people, I would have. Instead, the CCCs stepchange did that on my behalf. But where I lost control, again, was if I wanted to make even the slightest change, so that arrangement and everybody’s financial situation, especially those that find themselves in these in these situations is very dynamic, very fluid. You could be a zero hours contract worker. So one month you’re being paid much one month, you’re being paid very little is very a budget for 12 months in these situations. How can you budget for 12 months when you don’t know what you’re earning week to week to week? You need control to be able to go in and manage that arrangement? Yes, inside commercial guardrails, the, you know, the, the organisation you’re dealing with feels comfortable, but empower that customer to say we trust you. Nobody wants to be in arrears that defaulted debt. And I challenge anybody to say that there is deviant behaviour that people do because they do not. Because having been there before, I know the pressure it brings, I know the noise and the lack of calm to your life that it brings. So Nobody chooses to but trust these individuals to manage the situation. Digital gives that it really does.

17:21
And you talked a bit about collections and then go into debt advice. I mean, how much do you think it feels like there’s a blending now between debt advice becoming more much more like collections? And you think about the old world the way it used to be? Which is, you know, dialling for pounds or dialling for dollars, you say North America, but I mean, it’s like that that is really, really gone. But it I mean, how much do you think that the debt advice world is sort of gradually creeping up into more and more into collections, almost like an almost like in a much more sort of formal kind of way, as well as because people are looking for support rather than necessarily just making payments, or they’re making a payment in the short term is probably the the easiest thing to kind of do.

17:56
And most definitely can. But I think that needs to happen. And this is where I talk about organisations looking at the reprioritization of cost and expenditure. So look with the best will in the world. And I’ve worked with some phenomenal contact centre agents, it’s often not a particularly well paid roll. It’s a minimal amount of training, dealing with incredibly complex situations with individuals who are in heightened emotional states, not thinking clearly. And you’re having to manage that. Get that customer to confide in you to have confidence and trust in you guide a conversation, understand what vulnerabilities are at play. Look for what the key resolution points are looking for key flags, making sure that you’ve signposted, where appropriate. I can’t think of a more complex telephone conversation to have to manage. And a lot of these guys are doing that with very minimal training. Well, if we triage digitally and are able to take that and this isn’t about so let the odds do digitally triage and what we can do is our cost to collect has reduced significantly look how much more profitable we are as a business. What it means is our cost to collectors reduce and we can now reprioritize that expenditure to have a customer care team who are receiving the level of training that a step change operative to the pay plan operative are giving they are able to guide and advise on these more complex situations, routes to outcome resolution points. And I think that it’s a shift that most definitely needs to happen and when digitally so important is digital becomes the facilitator. Because it’s saved the expenditure to be moved across. And then we do have that truly hybrid solution. And that for me, especially with what we’re facing, probably for the next few years, the really successful organised Session Two, when I say successful, I’m talking about success of customer outcome. Not those that report the highest profit success of customer outcomes will be those that really do blend that true omni channel experience.

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20:15
How much you think we have to move in the in the in the collection as well as from things like short term, particularly credit? Well, short term payment, versus long term rehabilitation? You know, so instead of being over like a three month or three months, you know, payment cycle, you’re now looking over years much a bit more like you’d look at in like, you know, the debt purchase sector? Yeah. Do you think that’s good thing that’s gonna come up even for even a crew of creditors?

20:39
I think it’s gonna have to do, because I just don’t understand. I can’t see an alternative. I really, you know, I look at our home life. And we’re in a brand new home, we’re very, very fortunate. So it’s incredibly energy efficient, our utility bills have doubled. Now, fortunately, there there are two of us. We don’t I don’t have a large family. But I don’t understand how other people mortgage costs, people’s mortgage payments could have doubled, if not tripled over recent weeks, let alone months, was suddenly your affordability. Headroom has evaporated. So you find yourself in arrears. You weren’t, you haven’t found yourself in arrears, in the way I did, because I thought it was a wonderful idea that on every Friday and Saturday night, I’d go into a bar one and the first thing I did was buy two bottles of champagne. And as a teacher, that is not a sustainable lifestyle, funnily enough. So I found myself into all of that it wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle, it was, it wasn’t even that enjoyable

21:38
and fun for a bit.

21:41
But for me, it was very easy to say, Well, that was the cause, remove the cause. Suddenly, there’s the affordability headroom to pay off the debt. What we’re finding is people’s affordability, headroom is evaporating because of this cost of living crisis. So this, what’s driving them into arrears can’t be removed to give them scope for repayment. So where do you turn? You can’t say, Well, you’ve only got 18 months to pay this down. People don’t have that available affordability. We’re gonna have to move into this one.

22:15
And what are you hearing from like your customers in terms of like arrears levels or when that started, when that’s expected to start to tick up? Because I haven’t been hearing recently, the arrears levels have jumped hugely. I mean, they’ve seen relatively benign all the way through COVID, despite what we might have been saying, we might chatted about previous calls. I mean, they’ve been relatively benign, or maybe some indicators now that that are increasing slightly, but it doesn’t feel like there’s been a massive wave that’s coming through. But although we’re still expecting, I mean, what were you kind of hearing? What’s your prediction? Well, I

22:46
do wonder, you know, for a lot of people during the pandemic, and living expenses for a lot of people actually went down, you lost your travel expenses and things like that, for some people. That was that was a massive overhead, and perhaps was plugging artificially gaps, because we still had a number of people that were on 80% of their salary, to put their living costs that they weren’t having to burn going to work and things on top of that. And if you live sensibly, well, you couldn’t not because everything was shut. But suddenly, you are artificially plugging a gap there. What we’ve seen now is everything shut up. People are back in the office, a lot a travelling, things are open. And then from nowhere, and this wasn’t a gradual spike that we saw here. It wasn’t a gradual uplift in. This was a cliff face. The you went to bed one day, you got up on it, and suddenly everything was three times the cost it was yesterday. And that’s what catches people out. You can’t you can’t alter your behaviour that quickly to make that difference. You can if you think you know, this is getting a little bit more expensive. I need to back off on a few things here to manage this. People, I think suddenly had the rug pulled from under them. And we will see this, I believe in the next month to three months now.

24:05
So you’re thinking yeah, so yeah, towards the the end of the year,

24:09
q1, q1 2023 is when we’ll find that we’re seeing people in that position, a huge uplift in arrears and an uplift of arrears. For people that need a long term resolution to get them back out of it. There’s no short term fix for a lot of these people, unfortunately.

24:25
I mean, there’s only so much saving you can actually make isn’t there on some of these things. I mean, when you got like, I think it was a 10% inflation annualised inflation this week, you know, you’ve got so you’ve got mortgage increases, which people, people will gradually come off those fixed term mortgages, or they’ll gradually, you know, they’ll gradually have to come off fixed energy deals, and all of a sudden they get exposed to the full market and that becomes a shock, doesn’t it? Oh, unbelievable

24:48
that you know, this. These are cost of living increases to core elements of people’s lives. These aren’t lifestyle expenses that you could look at and like us said so yeah, I need to go, I need to cut my cloth in a few areas here. These are things that you fundamentally cannot remove from your lives. And you for a lot of people are having no choice than to have to absorb that cost into their household budgets on a weekly and a monthly basis to a point of unsustainability. You know, the Buy Now pay later market has always scared me. And I do hope that we haven’t, we’re not going to see a perfect storm, where I know that the Buy Now pay later market exploded over the last nine to 12 months. And I’m hoping that we haven’t found a lot a lot of people that have stretched themselves on the Buy Now pain, later market that are the same people that have now suddenly seen this huge hikes in costs. Because if you do, then the problem now becomes exponentially difficult because it becomes absolutely huge.

25:57
Yeah. And I think it’s when you have things like people buying food on credit and those kinds of things. That’s those are sort of like early warning signs. So do you think that certainly from the conversations you’ve been having, do you think creditors and particular creditors, but also as far as services, do you think, do you think they’re getting ready for that, for that for that storm? I mean, is it? I mean, because because we had a lot, we had a lot of funding that was available over it? Strangely enough, there’s a lot of funding available over COVID, because we thought this was going to happen. I think I’m a little bit concerned that, you know, it didn’t happen. We made some investments. But you know, our people are people still know investing, because now might be exactly the right time to do it. And what happened before was just we didn’t anticipate government support, and those kinds of things do. So do you think? When are people out there preparing for this? I think we got six months, right?

26:44
I think you’re forward thinkers do your bean counters as I refer to them? Won’t? Because it’s that thing? Do I need to spend money? Yes or no? Well, I don’t need to spend it right now. So I might not often, investment comes retrospectively, doesn’t it? You experience the problem first, and then it happens. And if you don’t experience the problem, after spending the money, people always think what did I need to spend the money in the first place. And I think it’s a shame. And it’s a very naive approach, I think, whether it be the fear of a problem, or recognition that the the world is moving to a 24 hour culture, the people want ready access to information, people are used to it, you know, gone are opening hours, we don’t have opening hours anymore in Amazon 24/7 If you want something online banking 24/7 If I want to check something, I couldn’t even tell you the last time that I went to a branch. And I think people expect that of almost everything now. So that move to digital becomes imperative for that reason to give you 24/7. And I think the majority of businesses already recognising that and are on that journey, the smart ones about them. We’ll be recognising now we’re on that journey. How do I ensure that I’ve got journeys in place that will support customers in far more complex situations, and I was imagining, you know, we’ve got the Pay Now promise to pay later payment plan, you know, the three solutions we’ve had since the Romans were around. But it’s how we take those three, and embed them into far more complex journeys that are enabling us to absorb data and information from the people we’re working with. And I think this is something we’ve talked about before the spectrum of data ingestion for an organisation at one end, the really simple digital journey that the customer comes in, gives you very little information makes a payment and leaves right at the other end that well guided human to human interaction in a telephone call, where you can ingest a phenomenal amount of data and information about your customer, that you might need to find the resolution point for that individual. And there’s everything in between on that spectrum. And it’s looking and going right, what’s the customer? What do I need to know to get them to a positive resolution? Where do they sit on that spectrum? And how do I build a journey that gets me what I need to give them what they have, or that what’s or what they need. And that is where you then overlay those tools that we said, digital tools, analogue tools, the blend of both to facilitate those journeys. And that’s the art. And that’s what’s going to be absolutely key as we move through what’s coming over the next 369 12 months. Most definitely.

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29:42
Yeah. And how complex Do you think you can get sorted out? So you start with a simple journey to get you get more complex? I mean, do you think it’s gonna get what’s been what comes next is it? I mean, we’ve, I know, we’ve been overlaying things like open banking, we’ve got more complex types of solutions that are out there. I mean, and there’s like debt advice that’s coming down. I mean, we Where did where do you think that that kind of goes next?

30:02
I think we, the key thing we need is data at the beginning. And data is data is key, I’ve always said knowledge is power, you know, the more knowledge you have with your customer base, the better. And the more information that you can absorb through the journey, the better. We talk about open banking a lot. And for me, it has a place to play. But I didn’t, when I was in the real depths of the financial problems that I was in, I didn’t look at my bank account for probably nine months, because I didn’t want the news, it was gonna give me I knew I was in financial trouble. And I would go to the bank every day and take 20 pounds out the cash machine, I would never look at the balance. And if it gave me 20 pounds, I knew I’d 20 pounds. And that was enough to get me through today. And I would worry about getting 20 pounds out of it tomorrow. And I’d go back. And if it didn’t give me 20 pounds, I knew that I didn’t have any money for the rest of the month, I had to find another solution. And people often in debt, don’t want to look at that. And I think we need to find a way to wrap open banking, in a value based proposition that encourages individuals like me that were in there to say, this is a good thing. Transparency is important. So think open banking is a key.

31:19
Now what about us? What about us with tailored solutions, or it’s tailored journeys, depending on the customer type, so So you are a person who is almost like, let’s say, you’re sticking your head in the sand and saying, Well, I’m just I’m just going to take what I can, right. So I don’t I don’t address the situation, we’ll have other people who will say, you know, they might they might be into the into into the detail and be looking looking things up online, they’ll be other people actually want to talk to someone? You know, what that emotional support? I mean, is that is that a role that can sort of like be teased out from the digital journey? Do you think

31:48
most definitely, we’ve been doing this as businesses for Michael knows how many years and we refer to them as contact strategies. And we’ve always had this and they’ve always started with a customer at the beginning. And we’ve get we’ve taken that customer and we’ve given that customer an identity of persona. And this is a map, Matt is a blah, blah, blah, he’s in this position. What does Matt want from the journey? Now we could build a million of these, and that’d be silly. But I think it’s a time that organisations need to come back to those strategies, and most importantly, come back to those unique customer groupings. And so what does that look like for me as a business? And how do I facilitate that journey? And more importantly, how easy is it for that customer? To transcend journeys? I don’t want to just send them down a rabbit hole. But can they switch from strategies quite easily? Can they jump from channel to channel to channel? Can they be on the depth stream portal a very easily speak to a human being through requesting a callback or giving lots of information to the agent isn’t let’s start at ground zero but knows that? Can I go from chatbot to agent and agent to chat bot and back to a digital journey? Can I stop a journey halfway through and pick it up on a different device? And exactly where I was? This is the important stuff.

33:09
And this was how much does this SAS mean? So you guys are a software as a service. And he has a sort of implement, which I know has helped greatly with implementations I’m gonna hit semones. Again, also helped through the through the through the pandemic. But I mean, how much how do you sort of coordinate all of those things? You talked about calls? You talked about, you know, digital portal, you’re talking about, you know, potentially agent calls, I mean, trying to kind of coordinate all that across multiple providers become can very complex very quickly. I mean, what what’s what, how do you get?

33:39
It doesn’t, it doesn’t you know, what we’ve got now before, but let’s go back 20 years, a collections house had built its own collections platform probably build its own dialer and plug it all in together, because they never expected to talk to anybody from the outside world. Fast forward 20 years, most people’s technology ecosystem will be made up of lots of different providers. The key for all of those providers is how easy it is for them to integrate with everything else. Because if you create you have what looks like behind the scenes, 10 different things that are operating, but what the customer wants, in the same client want to it same way that a customer might want a single customer view of the different accounts I hold with you. Well, what a client wants is a single customer view of all of these systems, giving me what I need. And that’s how these systems are built now. So it’s not that single individual trying to manage 22 spinning plates. We just give him one.

34:35
Yeah, it’s coming. It’s like, almost like an ecosystem that’s building up, isn’t it? It’s quite, it’s quite interesting to delight. Everyone’s sort of into reliant on each other.

34:43
And that’s it and so many of them are white label like we are, so you know where they were under your brand. Nobody knows that that’s a different plate that’s been spun by somebody else. It looks like it’s your organisation everything’s Bradstock the same You look like a single offering. And those different component parts are all designed And now to function as one.

35:01
Yeah. So So I suppose to sort of summarise into like, where do you think we go from here? And what’s your assessment, I suppose around how far we’ve come, right. So so, I mean, the state of evolution of the industry in terms of digitalization and digital processes, is is is what? And then and then and then what else do we need to do? And where do we need to know now next focus?

35:24
I think what we got was with the, with the pandemic was fantastic, because it was that, that big bang, that needed to happen, and it forced probably 20 years of change in a year and a half. But I think what it did was, the change happened quicker than people’s understanding of how to deploy it to its maximum benefit. I think what we’re going to look forward to now over the next six to 12 months, maybe a bit more, is people now becoming very, very creative and intuitive about what that hybrid journey looks like about utilising all of the different component parts are no longer seeing speaking to a human being as almost the failure of digital, they went into a contact centre, well, why didn’t you have a digital solution for that, because they wanted to speak to a human. So there wasn’t a digital solution. But what we’ll be finding is the journeys would just be much clearer. The person personalization for me is really going to explode, especially as we’re drawing in more and more and more data, it is going to feel like when you’re logging into a pool, it is a one to one engagement. Because we’re pulling this way of reminding you of stuff, we’re talking about previous conversations, we’re able to bring up incidents and occurrences that have happened that are allowing us to formulate a journey with information and messaging and copy that makes you feel that this isn’t just boilerplate. So I think personalization is going to be huge. As is I think as well, almost conversational, digital journeys, you know, chat, the Chatbot lead journey, though, we need you to complete X activity, we’re just going to push it to you to your device and you’re going to land in a temporary portal driven through by a conversational Chatbot. The that leads you through some of these but it isn’t you just logging in flat screen. I think it’s going to feel very, very engaging. And I’m very much away for

37:30
wombat, thanks very much for making the time I appreciate as ever, it’s becomes an illuminating chat and we get into usually into into data things. But I appreciate it. So thanks very much,

37:41
Chris. Brilliant. Thank you very much for having me on. Appreciate it.


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