Christophe Terrade is the Recovery and Fraud Manager for RCS, the BNP Paribas Personal Finance subsidiary in South Africa. He and his team have set up a programme to help customers who are in precarious financial situations or who are going through unexpected difficulties. With a proactive and supportive approach, this programme prevents struggling customers from having to go through the collections process. He gives us the full details.
Could you tell us about the programme you have set up in South Africa to help customers in precarious situations?
The programme we developed aligns with our strategic plan for 2020, for which one of the indicators is to set up a process to keep customers from getting into difficulties. In March 2018 we began working with the customers who call our customer service centres to inform us that they are experiencing financial difficulties. Whether it is due to being laid off, an illness or another life event, we find tailored solutions that help our customers get on top of the financial situation before they end up behind on their payments and have to go through the collections process.
What are the other components of the programme?
In addition to the responsive approach I just described, we have a proactive two-step method. First, we work with people who are dealing with unusual events, such as natural disasters. We contact them to let them know we are on their side and offer to help them during the crisis.
In addition, we have tools that help us identify potential vulnerabilities in some of our customers. We contact them to work through these issues.
How many people are working on the programme?
Five agents receive calls from customers with financial difficulties. We also have a customer service platform employing ten or so employees who also receive these kinds of calls and put them through to either our five specialised agents or collections, depending on the case. That means we have around fifteen people working in this area at RCS in South Africa.
Do you follow up with the customers experiencing financial difficulties later on?
Once the solution has been implemented with the customer, we circle back after five months to check that the solution worked for their issue. Since we established the process, we have had nothing but positive results. That is a very good sign!