Echo Managed Services, a specialist outsourcer, has published findings that local authorities, along with energy companies, are most likely to use the worst practices in terms of debt collection. This conclusion comes from a survey of 1,500 households in Britain who were asked to detail their debt collection experiences.
Energy companies and local authorities are two of the worst sectors in the UK when it comes to collecting debt – often subjecting customers to inaccurate billing, deploying overly aggressive tactics and following recovery procedures which make customers feel embarrassed, according to new research.
The report entitled ‘Counting the Cost of Debt Recovery’ by specialist outsourcer Echo Managed Services, quizzed 1,500 UK households on their debt collection experiences with everyday service providers and how they felt various industry sectors fared up.
Consumers put energy companies top of a worst practice list, scoring 100/100 on an index, while local authorities and credit card companies came second and third, scoring 95/100 and 93/100. On the other hand, retailers and banks were found to be the most likely to deploy best practice debt recovery processes, including having friendly and helpful staff, and offering easy payment options and affordable payment plans.
The research also revealed that 63 per cent of UK adults had experienced debt recovery procedures at one point or another, with one in three believing it is okay to fall into debt in extreme circumstances – when losing a job, for example.
Forgetful customers still pose the biggest challenge to businesses, with forgetting to pay being the top reason for why most people have made a payment late in the past (41 per cent). A further one in four had struggled to pay a bill because their monthly incomings were less than their outgoings, while 16 per cent had paid late because the bill was higher than expected.
Consumers reported feeling embarrassed and harassed by businesses collecting arrears in many cases, with the report concluding that given the high numbers of people now falling into debt, it should simply be seen as a natural component of the customer journey.
Monica Mackintosh, Customer Services Director at Echo Managed Services, said: “Our research revealed a number of potentially concerning aspects in how debt is being collected across the UK, particularly in certain sectors. Hearing what consumers think in relation to different collection practices is insightful and businesses should be taking these findings on board. It’s concerning that many customers are still being caused additional distress when in arrears in many instances, when in fact many feel incredibly guilty already.
“Consequently, understanding the wide range of reasons for debt and why people fall into it is crucial for organisations when honing their collection strategies. Ultimately, everyone has the potential to fall into arrears at some point – whether it’s consciously or not – so treating these customers badly isn’t fair, nor effective.
“Businesses should take a flexible approach to debt and adopt their collection strategies in line with the individual customer and their circumstances, as well as aiming to intervene early. Transparent and regular communication and payment reminders are essential here, and can lead to quicker and fairer outcomes – sometimes even reducing instances of accrued debt in the first place. If businesses don’t consider the above they could be at risk of lost customers, reputational damage and customer disengagement.”
The full list of rankings and report can be found here.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”