Why capacity planning will help Financial Services firms cope with demand from customers seeking support

The extremely tough financial situation across the UK has impacted countless businesses and individuals, and in turn has seen increased debt with thousands more falling into arrears every month with financial products such as mortgages, credit cards and loans.

Commentaries and opinions around the financial crisis have quite rightly focused on the impact for individuals struggling to cope with the increased cost of living, but what many haven’t picked up is the strain put on creditors’ internal teams who are supporting those customers struggling with their finances and falling behind with payments.

The upsurge in individuals and businesses getting deeper into financial struggles is seeing an increase in the number of customers requiring financial support. This has meant that capacity planning has been raised to the top of the agenda for many financial providers, with directors and leaderships teams asking themselves searching questions on how to not only cope with the demand from a service point of view, but also how to ensure they continue to deliver the right customer outcomes.

The challenge is magnified by the shortage of a skilled workforce in the UK, making recruitment and retention of employees significantly more costly.

One route many have either committed to, or researched further, is outsourcing. This essentially means allowing an outsourcing provider, such as us here at Sigma Connected, to manage their Collections and Financial Support operations for them, or act as an extension of their internal team.

I have been having conversations with several financial services businesses in recent months who are seeking a solution to their capacity issues – organisations who are genuinely concerned that they don’t have enough people, or who are looking for a contingency if demand rises at the expected rate.

At a time when firms are facing increased operational demand as well as struggling to control costs, digital solutions no doubt go some way to easing the pressure. However, where a human interaction is required to support those customers who need financial support, have a complicated situation and perhaps find themselves in extremely vulnerable situations, outsourcing may just provide the benefits businesses are craving, which include:

  • Cost control: Pay per productive hour to give ultimate transparency on operational cost.
  • Lower costs: Remove the costs of recruitment and retention, onboarding, employee benefits and other overheads.
  • Flexibility: Ability to scale operations up or down at short notice in line with demand.
  • Improved performance: Choosing an outsource partner with the right experience, and one who invests in technology and continuous improvement, will regularly challenge, or exceed firms’ internal operational performance.
  • Regulatory compliance: Select an outsource partner who has years of experience in dealing with customers in financial difficulty, and one who invests in their own conduct and compliance frameworks to be able to consistently deliver and evidence the right outcomes for those customers who need financial support.
  • Efficiency: The right outsource partner will likely have years of experience and a higher level of expertise in the function allocated to them, resulting in better efficiency and higher levels of productivity, and;
  • Offshoring: Using an offshore provider will also yield significant further cost savings of circa 50%.

Outsourcing is perceived to come with risks, particularly when it comes to the sensitive handling of customers who find themselves in some difficult and vulnerable situations, but we believe with the right partner in place, the flexibility to be able to scale operations at a variable cost, while continuing to maintain service and quality, makes working with a reliable outsource partner a no brainer in the current climate.

About the author

Colin McMahon is Director of Financial Services at Sigma Connected Group, who have been delivering outsourced Collections support for UK Financial Services firms for over 10 years. Sigma is able to bring deep capabilities around how to deal with customers who are in financial difficulty. Over a decade of being at the sharp end of customers services, collections and vulnerability planning gives us a unique set of core skills across many sectors and business types.

Readers can link up with Colin on LinkedIn


Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Get connected