The importance of improving consumer confidence

Wescot Understanding what contributes to sustained economic growth is extremely important in relation to making the correct decisions to bring about such change. Immediately following the credit crunch, and with families throughout the country struggling financially, the Bank of England introduced extremely low interest ways in the hope of cushioning the blow of the tough financial times. The interest rates remained low for a substantial period of time which did indeed improve the financial situations of families throughout the United Kingdom. Following these cuts to interest rates in 2008 it was reported that families had more money to spend after they had paid household bills. Annual discretionary income trackers assess how much disposable income a family has after the deduction of the cost of living. These trackers had shown that following the drastic reduction in interest rates, a typical families disposable income increased from approximately £139 to £165. This increase lasted for roughly two years after the interest rates were lowered and brought a stability to the economy in the United Kingdom.

The improved stability of the market would not last. In 2010, the amount of disposable income that a family had to spend began to steadily decrease. This was due to a number of factors such as increases in the cost of living, rising prices for consumer goods and low levels of wage growth. Despite the cost of living increasing significantly over a five year period, the average household income only increased moderately therefore having a negative impact on a families disposable income levels.

Disposable or discretionary income plays a hugely significant role in the stability and improvement of the economy. It has been concluded that in order to strengthen the economy in the United Kingdom, consumer confidence must be restored. Consumer confidence is vital in terms of the amount of money a family is prepared to spend each and every week. Should a family have a low level of disposable or discretionary income, the confidence of that family to go and spend the money will invariably be low. This results in a sterile market place and problems for businesses and individuals alike as families tighten their purse strings and refuse to spend on items that they deem to be unnecessary.

Debt collection agencies such as Wescot are a good indicator as to how the economy is performing. Recent industry reports suggest that companies such as Wescot have reported that levels of unsecured debt had dropped significantly since 2005 as families attempt to tighten their budget in the wake of the credit crunch.

Wescot Minimise Mis-Tracing through Data Strategies

Dramatic changes in mortgage lending in the UK, such as the loss of 110% of value loans and the reduction in availability of interest only packages has led to an increasing number of people either renting property or living at home or with other family members for longer periods of time. This in turn has created a situation where tracing in the debt collection industry has also changed, with true goneaways becoming harder to spot than ever before. Members of the Credit Service Association are undertaking huge volumes of tracing, with some form of data cleansing occurring at the point of load across some 70% of all wescotnew businesses. When compared to the figure of just 40% as recently as 2007 this shows a significant increase.

Throughout the tracing market, there have originated a number of new products offering smart-data tracing solutions, yet these fall into the category of indicative lead generators and there can be seen a direct correlation between the increase in the use of these and the growing number of mis-traces. As the regulation of credit services and debt collection moves this year to the Financial Conduct Authority from the Office of Fair Trading, mis-tracing will become a key area of focus. Where poor solutions are allowed to enter the product delivery chain, those who hold approved-person positions can now expect to be held accountable. The CSA is now seeking the promotion of higher standards across the industry.

Wescot is the largest debt collecting agency in the UK today, servicing over five million client accounts annually and employing more than 650 staff. The aim of Wescot is to deliver favourable outcomes, creating arrangements between individuals in debt and clients which take circumstances into account and to provide each client with the products which suit their individual needs whilst simultaneously protecting their brand and their image. There are strict compliance standards in place when it comes to the ethical collection of debt, many of which Wescot helped to evolve and implement as market leaders. The compliance standards in place far surpass others in the industry and have been recognised by both Trading Standards and the Lending Standards Board.

Compliance for Complete Consumer Confidence

When talking about businesses in the financial services sector, the term compliance has two meanings. In the first instance, it refers to a company complying with rules which have been imposed by an external organisation, which could be the government or a regulatory body. In the second instance, compliance refers to obeying the rules and sticking to the systems imposed internally which contribute towards compliance with external regulations. The main regulatory body monitoring compliance within the financial services sector changed in April 2014, from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority. This brings with it numerous changes in terms of compliance which financial services businesses now have to adapt to.

There are five keywescot functions which are performed by a compliance department – identification, prevention, monitoring/detection, resolution and advisory. A compliance officer will initially identify any risks posed to a business or organisation, then create and implement systems and controls which protect against those identified risks. These controls are then constantly monitored and their effectiveness reported on. A compliance officer is on hand to resolve any difficulties with compliance as and when they arise and to offer advice to the business or organisation on rules and controls. Compliance is vital for complete customer confidence, helping to build up trust and improve client relationships through the consistent delivery of appropriate customer outcomes. Internal compliance systems are usually evolved through conversations with customers alongside adherence to external regulations.

As one of the largest agencies for debt collection in the UK, Wescot is by no means unaware of the changes coming in. In terms of debt recovery, the compliance standards have been evolving for several years now, placing more focus on Treating Customers Fairly. Customers today are often surprised by the approach of Wescot, which places far more emphasis on reaching a mutually beneficial solution to debt rather than demanding pre-determined repayment amounts. As an ethical debt collection agency, Wescot has long been developing standards of compliance which are unsurpassed within the industry, leading the way for others and in some cases actually helping to shape the new government regulations.

Wescot | Importance of Training to Great Customer Service

At Wescot, learning and development is a key aspect for the business moving forward. The landscape of the credit industry is changing, it would be short-sighted of Wescot for the company to not devote a lot of time and effort into developing the staff and preparing them for the new strategies necessary to overcome these obstacles. This is in addition to the customer service driven training that all Wescot employees receive upon arriving at the company and continue to develop throughout their time at the debt recovery agency.

Customer satisfaction is one of the main business objectives at Wescot. This goes for their clients, i.e. the companies that are still owed money, as well as the individuals that Wescot are tracking down for remuneration. To this end, there is a dedicated learning and development team at Wescot to ensure that every staff member is on the same page, no matter who a customer talks to at Wescot they will experience a great customer service and knowledgeable reception.

The industry of credit management is facing a turbulent future with the result of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) taking over as a regulating body. Companies that operate in this sector, like Wescot have had to adopt new strategies and business models in order to comply with the more stringent rules imposed on them by the FCA. The learning and development department have been busy too, making sure that their training programmes in the future will focus on the new legislation regarding debt recovery. It is only through working together as a team at Wescot that the company will continue to maintain their lead as the UK’s largest debt recovery company.

wescotConstant training and learning is also important to motivating a workforce. The more time that Wescot dedicates to improving the skills of their employees then they will feel more engaged with the company. This translates to a better, more efficient workforce and will contribute to the success of Wescot as a whole.

Mike Rustill is Wescot’s learning and development team leader and he brings a wealth of experience in managing in house training to the company, an asset to a company with so many staff members to keep developing.

Wescot – Money Advice Scotland annual conference

Money Advice Scotland hosted its 24th Annual Conference in Glasgow in June 2013. The long-standing event is seen as an important and informative event which is utilised by many people from varying backgrounds. The 24th Annual Conference addressed many different issues, but dedicated a lot of the event to the changes within the financial world and the regulatory process.

One of the key issues at the event concerned the changes in bankruptcy legislation, which will have a major impact on many people and businesses within Scotland itself. Also on the agenda at the conference were discussions relating to welfare provision with particular emphasis being placed on the effect that it will have on the consumer. Many of the changes that have recently been put in place were discussed at the event with many debating who will be the ones to benefit from the changes. The event gave like-minded people the opportunity to meet in one place and talk about issues concerning credit and debt.

The introduction of the Financial Conduct Authority was also addressed at the conference which was once again sponsored by Wescot, one of the largest debt collection services in the United Kingdom. The Financial Conduct Authority has been set up to deal with the conduct of large banks all the way down to small businesses and traders and it is hoped that this new authority will play an important role in the transparency of financial issues in the future.

wescotMany of the leading industry experts were on hand at the conference to offer their expert opinion and discuss relevant aspects concerning the current financial sector. The event once more played host to exceptional keynote speakers such as Margaret Curran MP, who discussed the changes to the welfare system whilst Paul Lewis of the BBC chaired the opening day’s events.

Wescot have been sponsoring the event for many years and are extremely proud to be associated with such a dedicated and comprehensive event. Wescot employ over 650 staff throughout the United Kingdom and are considered to be one of the leading debt recovery agencies in the United Kingdom. The fact that the company sponsors such a prestigious event is proof itself that Wescot are leading players within the financial sector and have a keen interest in the current issues.

Wescot | The Problems with Mis-tracing

Wescot is the UK’s largest debt recovery company. With offices in Glasgow, Hull and Saltcoats, Wescot employs over 650 people to service the 5 million accounts they receive each year. An essential part of the process of closing an account is to actually track down the people who owe money to Wescot’s clients. Committed to delivering a quick turnover with high customer satisfaction, Wescot utilise a dedicated tracing program that relies on accurate data from several credit reference companies. When this information is incorrect or not validated, this slows down Wescot’s operating time and create unnecessary costs to the business.

wescotMis-tracing as it is known, is on the increase, partly to do with the high number of people who cannot afford to purchase a home. House prices are restrictively high in the UK and as a result, many people either live in rented accommodation or stay living with family for longer. As a result, tracing has become a lot harder, tenancies typically last for six months and because the tenant only has to find a new empty property to move into, people can change addresses quickly. While the tracing service that Wescot provides is efficient, the fluid population movement in this country is proving to be a problem.

In order to overcome this large problem, credit reference agencies (CRAs) have to be diligent when it comes to recording information. False information can result in a mis-trace very quickly and this is costly to businesses like Wescot. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking those CRAs to task who are mishandling information and as such the process is becoming easier to avoid mis-traces. Good news for Wescot, however the debt recovery company still faces mis-traces that are largely as a result of miscommunication between the CRAs.

If one CRA finds invalid information on their database, this can be removed but up until recently, they were not required to inform the other CRAs. Because Wescot are thorough and believe in the protection of their customers, when tracing they often use multiple sources. However, when the sources are not communicating with each other, this can produce misleading information.

Under the supervision of the FCA mis-trace frequencies are being dealt with, so that in the future, companies like Wescot can move forward unhindered by this nuisance.

Wescot | New Developments for Debt Recovery Firm

With an evolving future for debt recovery, it is important that companies who operate in this industry do everything they can to adapt to the new changes and remain at the head of their game. One of the major factors that is affecting the industry at the minute is the change in regulations, as debt recovery now falls under the jurisdiction of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA have implemented a number of stricter rules to regulate the way companies operate when recovering debts for their clients. Furthwescoter to this is the decrease in average disposable income, which will increase the amount of time it takes for companies to recover debts and thus increase running costs. To overcome these obstacles, Wescot has changed the way they work in a variety of ways.

In businesses such as debt recovery, there is a need for a high volume of correspondence using traditional mail. A hard copy that informs customer that they need to repay their debt is far harder to ignore than an email that might never be read. The disadvantage to using letters is the cost of sending out large volumes, as well as the time it takes to create the mail. Adare is a company that has developed new software called ‘SmartEdit’ which dramatically reduces the time it takes to change small details on letters and therefore speed up the delivery. The debt recovery company is making full use of the SmartEdit technology to alter documents quickly and use preapproved templates to rapidly produce the volume of letters they require.

One of the greatest changes that the FCA have made to the debt recovery is a demand for a more efficient complaints management process. Equinti, a software and IT company from the UK that provides automated procedures that will speed up their background processes has been contracted by Wescot to automate their complaints system. Equinti’s Perito software revolutionises complaint management as it can prioritise important complaints as well as provide user definable fields to further increase efficiency.

The final change for Wescot is the employment of Claire Larson as Operational Risk Manager. It is hoped by the debt recovery company that Larson will be able to shake up the risk management systems at the company to deliver far greater results in the future.

Wescot | CCR Magazine Announces New Sponsor for One Day Event

Credits Collections and Risk (CCR) magazine is the UK’s leading publication for the credit industry. Covering many topics from bankruptcy, debt recovery and the management of individual debt, CCR is full of important information for businesses in the industry, as well as customers themselves. Published monthly, CCR consistently reports on the most relevant news to appear in the credit industry, and with the many changes that are facing the financial sector during the recession and moving forward, the magazine is a significant information outlet. As well as publishing the most read credit magazine, CCR also host their popular one day event, the CCR-Interactive. This conference brings together many leaders in the credit industry, as well as inviting individuals who wish to learn a little more about the business. And even as large as CCR-Interactive requires a great deal of organisation as well as funding and in 2013, CCR announced Wescot to be their new sponsor in the future.

Because CCR-Interactive has grown in popularity and attendance from year to year, company spokesman and magazine editor, Stephen Kiely has said that they are delighted to have Wescot as their new sponsor. The company, which is one of the biggest debt recovery agencies in the UK is set to attract even more big name businesses to the one day event and drive up its exposure.

CCR-Interactive is a significant date in the credit industry calendar as it brings together many businesses that otherwise would rarely come into contact with one another.wescot Not only this, but it provides a forum for individuals struggling with debt to voice their opinion, or just to seek advice on the best way to manage their debts. Over the course of the day there are plenty of opportunities to network and the event culminates in a large dinner in the evening, and the awards ceremony.

Sponsors of CCR-Interactive are also responsible for funding the dinner and awards, giving Wescot the best platform to promote their company, as well as showcase what they can do for their clients. The CCR awards are some of the most prestigious awards available to businesses in the credit industry and as such, the awards ceremony is perennially popular with attendees.

Wescot | Tracing Services Available

Wescot is the UK’s largest debt recovery companies, with three office locations in Glasgow, Hull and Saltcoats, the company employs 650 people to help process the 5 million accounts they receive every year. Wescot’s primary service is to help clients who face unpaid loans get their money back from their customers. By adhering to the new, stringent regulations in place from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Wescot have ensured that in the many years they have been operating they not only deliver a high service to their clients, but go a long way to protecting the needs of the account owners that they correspond with.

Recently, Wescot have been involved in a philanthropic endeavour, when they were approached by Swift Advances, a loans company. Swift specialise in delivering niche loans to people who would otherwise struggle to receive credit from high street banks wescotand other creditors. In this case, however, they required Wescot not to recover debt for them, but to help trace people who were eligible for remediation payments from the Swift Group. By using the same techniques that the debt recovery company uses to trace customers that have yet to pay up, Wescot were able to trace 80% of the people that Swift owed money to.

The exercise was a success, and a spokesperson from Swift Group said that they had 2000 customers who all needed tracing and the ‘process was extremely effective and involved minimum effort on our part.

Wescot were able to trace so many people by using the original contact details that they had left with Swift Advances while taking out a loan. They are then able to use those details to trace anyone who had left the original premises, or if all contact had been lost and even if residency at a given address is yet to be verified. While in this instance, the techniques employed by Wescot enabled many people to receive remediation payments, they are keen to point out that they are equally applied to recovering loan payments for their clients.

Even in a constantly shifting environment in the UK where people often change addresses throughout their life, it is testament to Wescot’s ability in tracing customers that they could find 80% of Swift Advances’ clients in a short space of time, delivering satisfaction to the client.

Wescot | Importance of Learning and Development

For any business in the modern world, having a strong learning and development programme is key to maintaining the success of the company. People change jobs far more frequently than they used to, so getting a new influx of employees on the same level as the rest of the team is important, not to mention enhancing the skills of the staff already employed there. Wescot is the country’s biggest debt recovery company and employs over 650 people, one of the reasons they are able to handle all 5 million of the accounts that they process every year is through the dedicated training that the staff receive at the company.

Wescot is a customer focused debt recovery agency, at the highest priority is maintaining a positive working relationship with all of their clients. One of the ways that Wescot can do this is through their extensive learning and development scheme that regularly twescoteaches the staff that the customer is necessary. So for every person who works at Wescot, they will deliver the same high standard of service to every one of the debt recovery company’s clients.

There are many ways in which Wescot ensure the success of their learning and development. Linking all training to the performance of their employees is an effective way to show that by learning x, they are actively improving their ability to perform y. The reviews that Wescot perform on their employees is an integral part of this process as the learning and development team can monitor how effective the training has been. Another objective of Wescot is to ensure that their training is fun and engaging. For any employee to feel respected and valued by their company, they have to be engaged through learning activities. This then translates to a greater performance from members of the team that go through this training and therefore a greater customer service from Wescot as a whole.

The learning and development team comprises of some of the leaders in their field. For instance, Mike Rustill who leads the team, has joined Wescot from O2 where he was head of training there and he has won several awards for the success of his training programmes. Clients can rest assured that their needs will be met as a result of the high training standards set by Mike Rustill and the team.