Vesting Finance is more friendly to debtors for faster repayment
Press release - Debtors are divided into lifestyle segments, with a different approach for each segment
‘By finding out debtors’ outlook on life and what motivates them, we can better determine how they want to be addressed’, says Conrad Doornheim, Senior Consultant in Vesting Finance’s Customer Intelligence team. ‘You have introverted and extroverted people, individualists and people who like to be part of a group. Debtors from one segment will not quickly turn to friends or family and do not take the initiative to get in touch themselves, but withdraw into their shell. If you address them in a way that fits their personality, they will be more likely to take action.’
Creating segments using data
Vesting Finance segments its debtor portfolio using data based on lifestyles, also known as psychographic segmentation. For this campaign, Vesting Finance collaborated closely with PostNL, SAMR, Focum, Yourzine and C2B, adding to the portfolios such lifestyle information as interests, hobbies and opinions that result in a specific lifestyle. In total, 115,000 letters and 60,000 e-mails have been sent in this multi-channel campaign for the consumer market.
Doornheim: ‘Vesting Finance is involved in the financial problems that debtors have. Based on their lifestyle characteristics, we find out how debtors handle their debt. This allows us to address them better and offer them a better solution. The idea is that if a person feels familiar, the chance of direct payments or agreeing to repayment arrangements becomes greater.’
In the new approach, Vesting Finance is testing four segmented letters compared to a “standard” letter. Half of each group is sent a letter from his/her lifestyle segment, the other half is sent the old standard letter. This allows Vesting to measure the difference within all the groups between a standard approach and a more lifestyle-oriented approach.
Debtors in one segment are a more status-oriented group – focused on money, business and respect. They like communication to be short, concise and clear. They respond to an efficient, business-like approach: the use of a polite form of address and an emphasis on the solution, with no idle talk. Conversely, debtors in another lifestyle segment respond to being addressed in a warm and more light-hearted way. This is reflected in the use of colour, but also in the way the reader is addressed using relatively much text and explanation in a less formal way and with the emphasis on “doing things together”.
Because this is an innovative way to communicate with the debtors, Vesting Finance organised workshops in Almere for all the employees involved. On the basis of assignments and role-playing, the employees were informed about the “lifestyle segments” and how these should affect they way they communicate with debtors. ‘We wanted to introduce the test in our entire service provision, not just in the letters’, explains Remko Ooms, Debt Collection Team Leader. ‘Both our employees and debtors responded enthusiastically and the initial results are very positive.’
Much needed change
In the past, debt collection agencies have been sharply criticised for their approach. Marco de Wit, Manager Operations Almere: ‘Vesting Finance already started sending targeted letters some years ago, with a different tone of voice and more customisation, offering debtors more assistance and responding to their situation. Based on our vision, we work together for a “financially fit society”. This can only be achieved when you enter into dialogue with your debtors with a view to offering them a suitable solution.’