Wednesday, 3 July 2013

4 tips to ensure compliance and performance – a lesson from the gentleman’s game

In 2003, England won the Rugby World Cup; the first time a northern hemisphere country had ever won. The team that took the trophy home was clinical, disciplined and professional. Getting to that point did not come by mere chance; it was the culmination of several years’ worth of dedication from a group of coaches, players and mentors putting in place the right fundamentals to ensure ultimate success.

Coach Clive Woodward had strict rules for his players. He insisted that all players were ready for pre-arranged meetings 10 minutes early, that they dressed smartly at all times, that their language was clean in public areas, that mobile phones were only allowed in players' rooms….. and the list went on. Woodward argued such "critical non-essentials" make a huge difference in business, sport and, indeed, life.
So, how does this relate to debt?

In April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) came into being, with new powers to ensure that financial services companies demonstrate and measure the fair treatment of customers, and prove how this results in fair outcomes for each individual customer. In order to meet the standards expected by the FCA, taking a leaf out of Sir Woodward’s book would certainly do no harm.

1. Fix your platform
There was no doubt in anyone’s minds that if a game of rugby came down to the last 10 minutes, Woodward’s team would be the fitter, more physically adept team, and would close the game out.  It was this confidence in their foundation - the platform if you will - which ensured that when it came down to crunch time his players would win the battle in every situation. This is true in most situations, including debt - if you only have tools that allow you realise 60% of the benefits, you need to look for ways to quickly access that extra 40%.

2. Know more
Woodward had teams of analysts studying teams, players and tactics, which, in the end, revolutionised the way in which international teams approached test match rugby. Taking a leaf from his book, if you continually try to understand more about your customers in arrears and learn how to use that knowledge to ensure fair treatment, improved performance will naturally follow. For example, do you currently know which of your customers is already paying one of your existing DCAs? What additional data could you gather to help make contact? What is the level of activity your agencies are undertaking? Too little activity and you run the risk of poor performance, yet too much just simply isn’t fair to the customer. There’s a fine balance between efficiency and harassment and you need the tools to undertake this balancing act.

3. Use the power of prediction
Studying team decision making when in play can help you here - how does England counteract and premeditate opponent moves on the field? By always being one step ahead and using intelligence instead of pure brute strength.  So, what are your tactics with debt? Do you understand how your customers will respond to different forms of contact? Knowing how customers react in situations and being able to premeditate is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.

4. Focus on the prize
Woodward had a goal in mind; everything he and his team did was with the single aspiration of being the best team in the world in 2003. Similarly, within our industry we have an impending deadline of 2016 – the date the FCA regulations come into play. The opportunity exists now to ensure you are best prepared for this day.

In summary, every team and every business has great aspects, but it’s the ability to identify the areas where improvement can be achieved, and the prospect of excelling in every department that sets the world-class apart from the ordinary. Just ask Woodward!

By James Breadon, Business Development Manager, TDX Group

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