Traditional utility firms are finding themselves at a crossroads in 2019. One path leads down the road of tradition - with outdated legacy systems, face-to-face collections and antiquated customer service solutions. The other follows close behind the retail banking industry into a digital future where the customer is put at the forefront of every major decision. The latter path is the one with real legs and it is one the industry looks ready to tread, but before the utilities sector can make a significant change, it needs to sort out its image problem.
Try as we might to change customer opinion, debt collections has struggled to shake its bad reputation in both established and emerging markets. Regionally, this could be down to a multitude of factors; from cultural differences and complicated local court systems to overly aggressive collections practices. These local debt collections problems have a knock-on effect on a regional scale. There are also various shared problems faced by debt collections agencies and banks across the globe.
On the surface, the finance sector might seem equitable: over half of the world’s employees in the financial services sector are female. Drill deeper though, and a new picture emerges.
While the gender split, in terms of sheer numbers, is about right, leadership positions take on an altogether more masculine veneer. Women hold only 25% of senior management roles in the global Financial Services industry.
In the mid-nineties, Bill Gates said that ‘banking is necessary, banks are not’. Back then, Gates’ pithy comment was merely a bit of throwaway futurism. The supremacy of the big banks seemed insurmountable. But as the years passed, his words have become increasingly prophetic.
The common conception of collections is as a historical activity. A debt was owed and is now delinquent. So it’s the act of rectifying a historical account.