15 December 2021

How better customer repayment experiences are building loyalty and brand equity


Interview with Credit Clear CEO David Hentschke and Executive Director Lewis Romano

When Credit Clear set out to improve financial wellbeing for Australian consumers, they knew their platform must also meet creditors' needs to be sustainable. Through innovative design and extensive data collection, their repayment platform is delivering on its mission, in part thanks to the frictionless, user-friendly customer experience it provides.

Building enduring relationships through positive brand-client interactions

Credit Clear's CEO David Hentschke explains successful contemporary companies are committed to developing and maintaining a positive reputation, supported by strong brand-client relationships. Credit Clear helps them do this by providing a better customer repayment experience. "We're changing the way companies and customers interact with each other," he says.

This has involved transforming traditional debt collection methods, such as phone calls and letters, into a contemporary digital transaction. "It's about empowering end-consumers through a simple, seamless process," he says. "This helps customers feel like they've got more control."

Credit Clear's founder Lewis Romano explains the platform has been built from the ground up to protect brand equity. He says Credit Clear's clients depend on them to provide more productive and engaging customer interactions.

"The organisations we work with no longer have to communicate through third party collection agencies," Romano explains. "Historically, if someone fell behind with a gym membership, for example, they'd get calls or letters from debt collectors. That individual may make those payments, but when they're ready to sign up to the gym again, they won't go back to the same one because of their poor experience.

"With Credit Clear, organisations communicate through white-labelled, actionable digital communication via WhatsApp, email and SMS. This creates a far better experience for the customer and protects their relationship with that brand.

"When they do fall behind, rather than being threatened by a third party, they receive a tailored message through their mobile device with a range of options to resolve the matter. We're giving customers options, flexibility and understanding. We're protecting that brand relationship and equity by talking to people in the way they want to be spoken to and allowing them to address the matter in a way that's convenient for them."

Tailored communication and user-friendly tech support seamless repayments

One example of what this looks like comes from BMW's vehicle finance division. "Their customers often have $1000 plus per month car repayments, which they miss from time to time," Romano explains. "They may be overseas or just busy. With Credit Clear, they receive personalised communications with options to make a payment or create a catch-up plan."

Michell Brewer from BMW Financial Services says working with Credit Clear has improved their customer collections interactions. "They have provided our business with a seamless and efficient engagement tool for customers to self-service their outstanding payments," she says.

"Credit Clear's cutting-edge technology makes communicating exactly what you need, at the right time, so simple. The client portal supports the tool with live reporting to determine when customers are paying and how they choose to access the solution.

"[This] makes it easy for our customers to get back on track and they have provided great feedback about the ease of the payment portal."

Credit Clear also assisted organisations to provide a considerate customer experience throughout COVID-19, cognisant of the hardship many have experienced. "Last year, one of Australia's largest energy retailers determined it was no longer socially responsible to refer customers in arrears to a third-party collection agency," Romano says.

"They migrated to using Credit Clear for white-labelled customer communication. We've also helped a large internet service provider and a buy now, pay later company to initiate campaigns with specific hardship related communications. These involve reaching out to customers to understand more about their situation and see if they need more flexibility with repayments.

"We've created custom forms and workflows to allow customers to explain their situation digitally, so they don't need to have awkward conversations and to help them achieve the best outcomes."

Positive experiences proven by data

That working with Credit Clear helps organisations deliver a better customer experience is backed by data. Perhaps most telling is Credit Clear's Net Promoter Score (NPS), which, from over 70,000 responses, is +44. "Given these are people who've missed payments, that's quite remarkable," Romano says."In contrast, the average score of the  big four banks is +10."

The feedback was even more revealing, with comments about the experience such as:

"Have four kids and it's not always easy to remember to call places, this was quick and easy."

"Super easy to use! Thanks for reaching out to me via SMS, it's extremely useful... sometimes emails end up in the junk or spam folder."

"Easy as on-the-go method when busy at work or travelling."

"I liked this digital thing. More easy and convenient."

And Credit Clear has further plans for creating better digital experiences, Romano says. "We'd like to see a future where Credit Clear helps people get ahead and even help organisations make better lending decisions. We're already using extensive data to determine how best to communicate with customers. We're obsessed with continuing to optimise outcomes for clients and consumers."

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