For many businesses, credit control presents an interesting challenge.
In simple terms, credit-control can be seen as a process of negotiation. A credit controller is a bit like a lawyer liaising between a company and its customer, trying to work towards a compromise which is beneficial to both parties.
At Debitsuccess, credit control is a crucial part of the full service billing solution we offer to our clients. We define it as “pursuing and pro-actively managing outstanding debtors, reducing overall debtor days and minimizing the risk of bad debt.” We act as the middleman, working both on behalf of our clients, as well as with their customers.
As such, there is much we have learned about providing good credit control for our clients; and nothing is more vital to us than the understanding that good credit control requires a delicate balancing act of firm, yet gentle client and customer service.
A representative example of this can be seen with one of Debitsuccess’ largest clients, the New South Wales-based educational institution Open Colleges.
Open Colleges (www.opencolleges.edu.au) provides over 130 online and TAFE related courses to more than 30,000 adult learners via online learning and correspondence, in fields ranging from finance to community and social work.
The service Open Colleges provides assists in allowing people to better themselves. Self-directed learning is highly challenging, even to the most motivated student, and many take Open Colleges courses to upskill toward better employment opportunities.
However, having studied via correspondence myself, I understand very well how paying ones bills on time is not always a priority for students, especially when one is ‘catastrophising’ over one’s workload. Students (sometimes) need a gentle reminder to make payments on time, and sometimes they need a little more, to ensure they pay their fees.
This is where Debitsuccess’ credit control team steps in. For example, of the accounts that fell overdue in September for Open Colleges, all it took was a friendly phone call from Debitsuccess and 8% caught up on their payments with an immediate transaction, and a further 14% scheduled their payment for a future date.
Beyond this, students were given a range of repayment options, particularly if they were in a situation of financial hardship. Procedures such as arranging flexible payment plans and suspensions – while sometimes harder to enforce – do ultimately assist students in paying off their installments.
Since they first began using our services, Open Colleges acknowledges the benefits of Debitsuccess’ credit control processes to achieve our collection rate, confirming that our service has become crucial to maintaining cash flow, which of course is music to everyone’s ears.
The key is to treat the customer relationship as just that; a relationship – and in a good relationship, you show care for the other person. This may be at odds with common stereotypes of credit controllers, but it’s why the Debitsuccess model works so well.
The Open Colleges example shows that providing students with quality customer service through Debitsuccess can take the stress out of learning, and provide the cash flow for the institution to continue to provide the highest quality education.
In the digital age, the future of online education is bright. The rapid increase in activities taking place in the digital sphere means the demand for open learning will continue to grow. Open Colleges are globally recognised as being one of the pioneers of online learning and we are proud to be a key partner.
With a move to a bigger and better call centre imminent, Debitsuccess is growing swiftly, and will be looking to secure relationships with an even wider range of businesses that can benefit from installment payment billing.
No matter what the business is, Debitsuccess credit control staff will continue to provide quality client and customer service and superior payment options that will build a better business.