Developing Real Strategies for Our New Reality.
The arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic onto the world stage has been met with a profound sense of personal and financial uncertainty, shock and a very real dose of fear. In many instances, businesses and leaders who for the most part thought they were operating in a relatively agile business model, had their worlds turned upside-down, scrambling for connectivity, remote compliance and active remote working capability. All this in a very short space of time. Never was it more true for a business to live by Rudyard Kipling’s words – If you can keep your head while all others around you are losing theirs – I am proud to say that this is exactly the attitude, coupled with the aptitude that I saw coming from the Shapiro Shaik Defries & Associates (SSDA) team when South Africa went into Lockdown on the 27th April 2020. The culture, teamwork and out of the box thinking measures are too numerous to mention. Suffice to say that, as a company, we shouldered into lockdown with a fully compliant, monitored and measured remote workforce to meet not only our client contractual commitments, but also the spirit of our partnerships.
Over the coming weeks we learnt, we grew, and we overcame. And now it’s time to look to the future of what our industry and indeed the world will look like post COVID 19.
Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is the time to plan and strategise to ensure the long-term survival and competitive advantage for the clients we have helped build over so many years.
With this uncertain future in mind, SSDA are setting up strategy workshops “kick-start” sessions with our clients and peers. These workshops are designed to unpack and collaborate around:
- What does a post COVID 19 distressed customer (debtor) look like?
- How to combine a collections and customer service engagement in a post COVID 19 economy;
- Understanding the new normal in your customer base;
- The importance of putting your brand first in constrained economic times;
- How can your collections strategy help you to weather a recession?
- Closing the loop between customer acquisition and customer debt;
- How to ensure a helpful, compliant and auditable trail of distressed individuals in a recession;
- Considerations pertaining to amended regulations, social responsibility and brand.
One of the lasting impacts of COVID 19 is unfortunately going to be a significant increase in distressed, financially vulnerable consumers. Customers who were previously in good standing and, through no fault of their own, may now find themselves defaulting on their financial commitments. We cannot and should not assume a business as usual approach post COVID 19.
It is imperative that we comprehensively understand and collaboratively approach the business landscape COVID 19 will leave in its wake. We cannot develop these strategies after customers have defaulted. Call centre capacity, recruitment and training all need to be in place, aligned and tested before the first of this New Debtor Category receives a collections call.
In these trying times and uncharted waters, SSDA is committed to leading a planned, methodical and measurable partnership with our clients though the storm and beyond. Let us engage with you on your unique brand, market and post COVID 19 landscape to ensure your debtors book isn’t the anchor that drags down the ship.
Gareth Levinsohn – Chief Commercial Office (CCO)