Elevating Collections In 2023

The past few years have been a real test for everyone, and the collections industry is no different. We’ve had to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and lock down, the fall-out of trying to return to life as normal with disrupted supply lines, uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and the war in Ukraine amplifying the cost-of-living crisis, not to mention the impact of the growing statistics surrounding mental health issues.

When it comes to designing a productive way forward, industry conferences can play an essential role to help our sector to grow. It has probably never been more important to consolidate our collective knowledge for us to share best practice, identify risk both now and in the future, and explore ideas and solutions.

We’re therefore delighted to announce that on Thursday March 2nd we’re returning to The Met Hotel (Leeds), for our latest and greatest industry insider event to date; ‘Elevating Collections In 2023‘.

We’re bringing together some of the greatest minds in the industry, and this year’s event looks set to be the best yet with money can’t buy insight and expertise shared throughout the day.

Our line-up of guests includes:

  • Chris Metalle, the Chief Financial Officer at KM2 Ethical Finance Ltd
  • Sam Challenger, the Head of Collections & Customer Experience at Billing Finance Limited
  • Sheraz Afzal, our Board of Directors Advisor and Group Legal, Risk and Compliance Director at Quint Group Ltd
  • Stuart Sykes, the Vice President of Service Operations at Zilch
  • Tony Gundersen, the Head of Operations at Onmo
  • And representatives from: MALGEquifax and TXM

The event will explore flexibility in the industry, engagement and we’ll deep dive into what customers want in today’s volatile economic environment. 

Topics that will be covered:

  • The here-and-now of collections and an overview of the environmental factors impacting our industry.
  • Mental Health, how does it impact us and what can we do for our clients and customers?
  • Collections and the cost-of-living crisis
  • Everyone has a voice? – dealing with misinformation on social media
  • Good News vs Bad News
  • We’ll pull learnings from market trends and insights to improve processes for critical stakeholders.
  • We’ll use and share our data to forecast where we see the industry heading.
  • We see the return of the ever popular ‘The Big Questions Answered’ panel
  • We’ll also invite a couple of special guests to give us their unique insight and experience from outside our industry.
The coeo annual debt collection event is quickly becoming an unmissable date in our collections industry calendar. Places are strictly limited so don’t miss out, click here to find out more and sign up today.

What is the new Consumer Duty regime and how will it work?

Like many in our industry, the back end of 2022 saw a focus towards the implementation of FCA’s Consumer Duty regime.

For us to best meet the significant changes introduced by the new regime, for both our clients and their customers, we have been proactive in preparing a plan, had it signed off by the board and started the implementation last year.

We designed and disseminated a Consumer Duty information pack explaining to our clients the strategy we’ve taken, including the plan and implementation process.

Click here to speak to a member of our team about the information pack

Our first port of call was to explain, in simple language, the four key components relevant to those from our industry.

(See below, taken directly from our client Consumer Duty information pack)

The Consumer Duty

The Consumer Duty regime imposes rules that in-scope firms are required to uphold to deliver good outcomes.

Namely, to act in good faith towards customers, avoid foreseeable harm to customers, and help consumers achieve their financial objectives.

The Consumer Duty rules refer to four distinct ‘good outcomes’ which in-scope firms should seek to achieve, these are as follows:

  1. Price and Value: Assess whether the price of a product or service provides for a fair value to customers.
  2. Products and Services: All products and services must be fit-for-purpose (i.e. designed to meet consumers’ needs and targeted to them).
  3. Consumer Understanding: Communications must support consumers and enable them to make informed decisions about financial products and services.
  4. Consumer Support: Firms must provide a level of support that meets consumers’ needs throughout the lifecycle of the customer relationship.

Happily, the new Consumer Duty neatly aligns with our existing customer purpose at coeo; with the core principles of making sure that customers have the knowledge and the ability to make informed decisions about their financial objectives.

We operate in sectors where customer conversion risks are high, and when it comes to the retail consumer, recognising and expecting a customer may have little or no experience with a collections team is extremely important.

The Consumer Duty helps by offering us an absolute definition of the retail consumer, allowing us to review our communications to make sure the correct outcomes are achieved.

It can be overwhelming for customers when contacted by a collections agent for the first time. They may be unaware of the process, who’s contacting them, how we came about their contact details etc. So, approaching all customers with a ‘helping people’ ethos and applying the four concepts described in the Consumer Duty regime above is crucial to removing barriers and working towards outcomes that benefit everyone.

Helping people ‘get their debt sorted’ has been one of the cornerstone values directing how we operate our business, and this runs through everything we do, be it staff training and induction, board meetings, as well as mapping all customer journeys.

We continually undertake internal reviews to make sure we hold true to our customer purpose and ask ourselves questions such as: are our services fit for purpose? Is the web chat an easy touch point in the customer journey? How can we improve it? Does the website do what we anticipated it to do for customers? How can we improve it? and much more…

Where the Consumer Duty has really helped is we now have absolute clarity on what constitutes a ‘good customer outcome’, so at a high level with the detail underneath it, you then know what needs to be provided:

  • Fair pricing for the customer.
  • Products that are fit for purpose and designed to meet the consumer need.
  • Communications and support for customers to help them make informed decisions.
  • Continued support to help them throughout their entire customer lifecycle.

Cross Cutting rules

The Cross Cutting rules make sure that we also have absolute clarity about how firms act in delivering those good customer outcomes.

The Consumer Duty includes three Cross Cutting rules which set out how firms should act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers.

They require firms to:

  1. Act in good faith towards the retail customer.
  2. Avoid causing foreseeable harm to retail customers.
  3. Enable and support retail customers to pursue their financial objectives.


coeo must, as per the Cross Cutting rules, act in good faith and have a robust compliance framework in place to support the firm, proactively avoiding causing foreseeable harm to retail customers.

Practical application example:

Audit templates will be adapted to incorporate both the Cross Cutting rules and outcome rules to ensure we are consistently assessing all processes and procedures against all elements of the duty. The audit plan will allow us to monitor the overarching requirements to ensure we are meeting these rules.

(Taken from coeo client Consumer Duty information pack)

The Cross Cutting rules underpin once again our purpose, that we are here to help retail consumers make informed and affordable choices. Helping people clear the debt should be the objective and should be the role we play in people’s lives.

Combatting risk should be at the heart of our industry. At coeo we have a conduct risk register and conduct risk forum underpinning the majority of what we do, and quite rightly, given the nature of our work. Good customer outcomes are a regular topic when discussing our QA.

The Cross Cutting rules offer us the exact detail to measure what is meant by ‘good customer outcomes’ and how to apply them.

A further benefit has been the opportunity to stress test our risk register, its policies, and the procedures. We’ve been able to design a defence model to ensure we are as robust as we can be.

In our second line of defence, we have an audit schedule and audit templates ready, and the overall approach has helped enhance these tools and not made them obsolete.

Final thoughts

Building in the Consumer Duty concepts makes sure that as an industry we’re forced to look at every aspect through the eyes of a retail consumer.

We understand due to our breadth of clients from various industries, not one process fits all. So, we have evolved our internal systems to ensure our clients’ customers enjoy the correct outcome, not the outcome best suited for a DCA.

As a company we recognise the role that we play in people’s lives. We may not sell end user products but that doesn’t mean when we engage with customers at the end of the customer journey, they won’t have questions. A utilities customer might ask about their bill or usage and as part of the customer journey we believe it’s in our own and our clients’ best interests to make sure we’re able to provide an answer leading to a solution for each individual.

To find out more about the coeo approach to the Consumer Duty, click here to speak to one of our specialists


Business should be about selling the amazing products and services your company produces, not about chasing outstanding debt.

Chasing debt can often become onerous, unproductive and costly, and if your business doesn’t have capacity or specialised expertise and exhausted it’s traditional methods of recovery it might be time to consider a debt collection agency (DCA).

But where do you start? “There seems to be so many DCA’s to choose from” you say, and you may be correct. Getting the right fit for your company will take some research, but as they say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. So here are a few tips to get you started and lead you towards a DCA that consistently outperforms competition.

Want to know more? Here’s our Tech & Services brochure


In this blog we’ve reached out to our vast collections network to uncover the three most valued competencies our clients and network partners consider most crucial in a DCA, they are:

Let’s get into the detail.


Albert Einstein famously said “the only source of knowledge is experience” and this sentiment is crucial when deciding whichDCA to partner with because as they say ‘knowledge is also power’. You can find a theoretical solution to any problem, but you’ll agree it has little substance in the collections industry until it has practical use. Once an idea is given life and is actioned, it then evolves from a concept to become an activity that leaves a ‘knowledge bank and experience’. Repetition of any process inevitably leads to it being refined allowing for the experience and knowledge to deepen as the process improves. The collections processes are no different to any other industry and whether it’s dealing with customers on a face to face basis or implementing new software and tools, experience should be a crucial selection criterion when choosing the right DCA to partner with.  Experienced DCA’s have learned from past challenges, gone beyond theory into practice and gained confidence in their experience. That wealth of expertise is what you are looking for when choosing the right DCA.  

Albert Einstein famously said “the only source of knowledge is experience” and this sentiment is crucial when deciding whichDCA to partner with because as they say ‘knowledge is also power’. You can find a theoretical solution to any problem, but you’ll agree it has little substance in the collections industry until it has practical use. Once an idea is given life and is actioned, it then evolves from a concept to become an activity that leaves a ‘knowledge bank and experience’. Repetition of any process inevitably leads to it being refined allowing for the experience and knowledge to deepen as the process improves. The collections processes are no different to any other industry and whether it’s dealing with customers on a face to face basis or implementing new software and tools, experience should be a crucial selection criterion when choosing the right DCA to partner with.  Experienced DCA’s have learned from past challenges, gone beyond theory into practice and gained confidence in their experience. That wealth of expertise is what you are looking for when choosing the right DCA. 



The true strength of a DCA is that collections is their day job, their fuel and their single point of focus. Immersing the entire business on all things collections allows a DCA to enjoy a laser focus on this one specific area of business, but importantly it offers them opportunity to explore the subject a full 360 degrees. Through this single mindedness a DCA will not have the distractions of the company it supports which will help it deliver on agreed expectations and targets.

The 360-degree view will allow it to recognise and uncover opportunities. The DCA is an expert in all areas of Collections meaning is up to date on industry trends, for example what customers are reacting to (i.e. smart phone app vs email vs letter), the right time of day to make a call, to the right collections tools or platforms that are offering the best retrieval rates and responses. Also be wary of DCA specific specialisms, for example, a Debt Purchaser who offers an ancillary contingent collections solution will always prioritise their purchased accounts over any commission based work, inadvertently leaving you at the ‘back of the queue’. Understanding the latest trends and knowing what’s working will also help with wastage of time and resources allowing for energy to be spent on what works best: achieving a better Net return.

Want to know more about CRS and our services?
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Evolution is in its DNA

In the past 5 years due to a technology explosion the communication landscape has changed quickly from a ‘mass’ to a ‘you’ engagement strategy. In what seems the blink of an eye we went from newspaper adverts spraying our messages and praying someone would read them and act, to now enjoying live person to person chats with someone exploring your website and services. So, as technology has rapidly changed it’s never been more important for businesses to partner with DCA’s that have the ability to keep up with those changes, DCA’s that have the evolution and innovation ‘gene’ built into their DNA. 

This value system allows the DCA to meet changing customer needs on the customer’s terms, in a time and platform that the customer feels comfortable and thus more responsive. The additional communication platforms an innovative DCA company offer can help a client’s collections department reach further into their marketplace to open and retrieve often hard to reach customer segments. Traditional collections services supported with innovative technology driven options can help the collections process to be less daunting for customers, as it offers further ways to handle debt on platforms they’re comfortable with. It helps the customer feel more in control of the process allowing them to engage better.

Final words from CRS

Credit Resource Solutions prides itself on executing the above competencies. Through our vast collective experience we understand these three core areas are crucially important to our clients and as such have become our ‘bread and butter’ and focus for our day to day work.  We live in a time where a new breed of customer has embraced technology, so we moved to become ‘a new breed of DCA’ by fusing tried and tested traditional techniques with new software, programmes and strategies. It’s the perfect match between tradition and tomorrow, driving us to become one of the top ten DCA’s in the nation.

Want to learn more about CRS’ collections solutions?

We’d love to chat so

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The 6 Critical Benefits of Client Portals in the debt collections industry

In Collections, the goal of a client portal is to make a client’s life easier.

It offers a single and easily accessible point of contact that keeps clients informed and in control.

The days have now gone where every aspect of account reporting was discussed between a DCA and client over several hours and even day-long meetings. And although the pandemic sped up digital adoption across the planet, here at a pre-pandemic CRS, robust and flexible digital portals had already become one of our leading service offers with all our clients.

So, what is a client portal in Collections? In plain English, client portals are a centralised gateway between a DCA and a creditor. They help a user to find accurate information quickly. It offers them the opportunity to stay up to date and informed with the click of a few buttons on a screen (but of course you’ve got to remember your password).

Digital portals offer clients a multitude of benefits and capitalising on the feedback from our client base we’ve listed their favourite six of this secure pathway into account management.


When you need to obtain crucial information, nothing is more frustrating than waiting for people to get back to you. Client portals are self-serviced pathways to access important information, empowering the end-user and adapting to their time frames. Equally, you can decide what information you want to review and disseminate without the need to be directed.

It works to your schedule

One of the most relevant changes that has been ushered in with the introduction of the digital age has been the ability to access information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Digital accessibility has benefitted clients incredibly with them only needing tan internet connection, meaning they can be almost anywhere in the world and still be up to date. So, whether the client is working remotely whilst travelling, from home, a hotel, a coffee shop or even on holiday; clients can now access their accounts wherever, whenever and on whatever device is convenient.


When working in collections many businesses have developed controls and processes unique to their business sector and marketplace, often collections teams will be concerned that processes they’ve built over time will not be included in the feedback loop when outsourcing debt.

Understanding these concerns is integral to successful client portals and making sure flexible technology is implemented so specific client needs are executed will help extinguish concern around processing and expected feedback.

24/7 accessibility also helps maintain control by offering a good level of transparency when reviewing work carried out by the DCA. Account-level reporting is crucial for this purpose. 


Client portals offer DCAs an incredible opportunity to work in collaboration with their clients. Bespoke portals can be tailored to offer personalised and/or specific account dashboard feedback, this is important because our experience tells us no two clients are the same. Better synergy is created by the portal offering a central point for the latest updated information. Unlike email, it creates a vast reduction in incorrect or outdated documentation sharing.

As the portal is accessible anywhere it can improve responsiveness for all stakeholders. Our data tells us better collaboration can happen when people can operate when and where it’s most convenient for them. The Pandemic drove remote working, and this has meant the sands are shifting with the traditional 9-5 model of working, with accessible digital portals that isn’t a problem.


There can be some onboarding or set-up costs to be considered when developing a bespoke client portal, but these need to be weighed up against the cost savings that can be enjoyed. Consider the time saved not having to travel to, wait for and then hold a meeting to access information that can be brought to you by tapping a screen.

Client portals allow much of the data and its management to be streamlined to leave the client with just the information they need and eliminate any wastage. The technology increases productivity, by saving on manpower and time.

It helps build confidence

When control and transparency are in place, trust is built and ultimately results in a strong level of confidence. This all comes when the client can review performance outcomes in real-time, audit from a distance and answer queries on accounts from agents at speed.

The CRS Way

Our client portal, our ‘MI Site’ is one of the jewels in our digital crown. Our clients rate this tool as our second most valued service behind collections performance and as such we have a dedicated team of software and program developers looking to constantly improve, tweak and grow this digital platform.

Feedback from our clients suggests that our Mi Site portal is the best in the business allowing account level information, full visibility and performance reports 24/7.

Interested in having a chat about our services just:

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4 must-haves for the new breed of debt collection agency

It‘s impossible to ignore the impact of technology on our lives and nowhere is it more evident than in our professional worlds.

Business sectors have been one of the main benefactors of technology and innovation, with advancements helping companies target and interact with customers in real-time anywhere in the world through mobile devices, laptops and tablets. As expected the debt collection industry has not been immune to these developments.

It is argued though, the collection industry has lagged behind others with adoption of new tech and for many companies, they’re still in the process of playing catch up.

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As a company that’s experienced exponential growth from being at the forefront of the technological revolution in the collections industry, we have identified 4 ‘must-haves’ that help us: streamline our systems and processes, develop our customer-first culture, offer more transparency and accessibility for our clients and embrace the concept of championing ‘the new breed of DCA’ title.

Strong foundations

Strong foundations must be a cornerstone for any collections team wanting to position themselves as innovative and forward-thinking. Technology and the digital age are great buzz words, but without substance if they are not supported by a strong understanding of the core principles of the collections industry. We understand that these foundations are most successful when they include three vital ingredients: experience, culture and compliance.

Experience is used to instil confidence in a company. Experience means survival and those that survive are considered less of a risk due to their ability to outlast the competition and deal with the curve balls the industry can throw at them. It helps if that experience is built on solid traditional collections models and techniques such as automated calls and letters, as it’s from these core approaches the future of the industry is evolving.

Corporate culture is crucial when building for the future. In an industry known for being the harbingers of bad news, it is imperative to embed a customer-centric culture that is focussed on changing the narrative from ‘you owe money’ to ‘let’s help you find a solution’. When this mindset is embedded into a business, all stakeholders will be treated similarly from clients through to co-workers and beyond.

Quality compliance is the final pillar at the base of everything a collections team delivers. The implementation of rigorous policies and procedure programmes has wide-ranging benefits, this includes helping to build the correct type of corporate culture to engage with customers and when delivered transparently, drive client confidence.

Once these strengths have been embraced by a DCA the next step in their growth will be to evolve.


Look around your office, home or local super market, everywhere you turn you’ll find technology. The reality is we are now part of a fully ‘connected’ society; modern-day devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops are never far from hand. 

The powerful notification and communication channels technology now provides have allowed collections teams the opportunity to look creatively at their approach to recover bad debt and the reality is there is a new breed of debtor that needs a new breed of DCA!

Understanding the entire process of the digital customer journey is now integral to success, our fully ‘connected’ society is demanding to use communication platforms on their terms and at a time convenient to them, because that is the OnDemand ‘Netflix’ world ‘they’ and ‘we’ live in. 

The customer as the driver has led the new breed of DCA to develop software and programmes to interact with customers at every digital touchpoint. From SMS messages, email, interactive customer and client portals, website bots, live chat and so much more. 

Everyday new technology is emerging to give collections teams unprecedented access and interactive opportunities with customers. It’s a golden age for communication in debt collection, so businesses want to work with a company that uses the finest technology people and processes.

Want to know more? Here’s our Tech & Services brochure

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Embedding innovation

Innovation refers to creating more effective processes, efficiencies, services and ideas for your collections team. With technology moving so quickly and to avoid being left behind DCA’s can never rest on laurels of past success, the least they must do is move with the times. 

To fully future proof against risk a company should embrace a subculture of innovation: move with the markets, forecast where they’ll go, dive deep on data, understand the trends and be prepared to adapt services and processes to match. 

Adopt a ‘tradition and tomorrow’ mindset. Build on the solid foundation of experience by adding technology to processes where appropriate. Trial completely bespoke programmes and software solutions on old and new problems and be at the forefront of the innovation explosion.

Showcasing how innovation allows a DCA to become more cost-effective, productive and most importantly profitable will help secure confidence with clients.

Full suite service provider

The final piece of the puzzle for the 21st century DCA has to be the ability to provide a 360-degree range of services to suit all of a client needs.

As described earlier having the ability to offer clients bespoke, tried and tested methods of collections and adding to these traditional models with a full range of technological advances will help separate the ‘have’ DCA’s from the ‘have nots’.

Everything from white-labelled early arrears management, administration services for handling repayments from debt management agencies, through to traditional collections and ultimately litigation, the new breed of DCA should have all bases covered.

Puzzle with missing piece in green color

The ultimate goal is to take all conceivable ‘pain’ away from the client, in a cost-effective way that will help them enjoy a great return on investment whilst at the same time have a fluid and simple process for their customers. 

Final thoughts from CRS

CRS are delighted to announce our brand-new event ‘Collections in the Digital Age’ taking place on the 5th of March 2020. Looking to break the mould of traditional ‘collections industry’ gatherings by directing the day away from what has become standard subjects (Brexit, GDPR, wider economic issues) to tackling contemporary topics challenging the industry in the 21st century.

Under the spotlight will be key points such as ‘Understanding the digital customer journey’ and ‘Utilising technology’ to enhance customer experience and understand which tools are working. You’ll also hear from leading industry experts, sharing insight and experiences so delegates can benchmark their operations.

 To secure your seat for ‘Collections in the Digital Age’

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4 reasons why compliance needs to be embedded in a modern day debt collection agency

There’s a widespread misconception that DCAs use aggressive techniques to collect debt. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact, in this day and age compliance is a key driver in running a successful Debt Collection Agency.

In the UK, compliance in the financial services sector is a set of rules and regulations put in place by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The overarching aim is to protect consumers and investors whilst also ensuring the markets are fair and transparent. Other industries also have different regulations in place with similar themes around Debt Collection and the fair and reasonable practices that companies must abide by.

Want to know more? Here’s our Tech & Services brochure

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Failure to follow these rules can result in large fines and suspension of licenses for both the creditor and the DCA. Adherence is crucial and a given. However, using the regulations as a strategic tool for the benefit of every stakeholder is where a DCA can add real value to their service offering.

In this blog we’ve listed the top 4 reasons why we embed compliance in our culture: 

Trust and confidence

A DCA that can prove their track record will build trust with clients from the outset.  After all, it’s the client that brings the customers, so the DCA needs to make sure that they are taken care of and have strong internal systems in place to manage and exceed their client’s expectations.

Something as simple as showcasing partnered regulatory bodies badges and certifications on their website can act as trust indicators to build confidence, and then the important next step is to highlight practical implementation through case studies, testimonials and live examples.

Building better processes

Taking adherence to the next level can help organisations build superior internal processes.

We’re all aware of the FCA’s DISP Rules and the deadlines set by the ombudsman in regards to handling complaints. But are you aware of how your DCA sticks to these rules?

A policy and procedure will be created and made available during due diligence meetings, but: What further controls are in place? And do these rely solely on people to make the correct decision at the correct time?  Are complaints logs still managed through spreadsheets for example?

At CRS we’ve built a bespoke complaints management system called Redwood. Complaints are managed in one place with triggers to senior members of staff when deadlines are due. Reporting is easy and adaptable to ours and our clients’ needs and not reliant on manual intervention.

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Benefits the client’s brand

We all know that customer experience is crucial when developing business strategies – with regulatory guidelines helping to further protect customer interest. By partnering with a DCA with rigorous processes you will be acting in the best interests of your customers by improving their experience.

A good DCA will develop a seamless service for your customers by adapting to your market. For example, if your route to market is online, your customer will expect tools to manage overdue accounts online too. Customers should not be forced down a route that is unfamiliar to them (such as excessive calling & letters). Friction caused by the unfamiliar contact methods will, in our experience, generate a larger number of EODs (expressions of dissatisfaction) and complaints.

A well thought out process will ensure your brand identity remains and the relationship with the Customer continues untarnished – ultimately making them more likely to rehabilitate.

Avoid risk and reprisal

Companies operating in regulated industries need to comply with regulations to avoid reprisal. The natural inclination would be to manage processes yourself in order to stay in complete control.

This would be understandable, however, not so simple when it comes to collections.The policies, procedures, systems and expertise that have been built up over many years by DCAs would be hard to replicate. Especially when your resource is aligned to focus on your core business activity.

The alternative would be to use an experienced expert with a set of agreed KPIs and controls that give you comfort from an audit and risk standpoint.


Final words from CRS

Quality and compliance are at the core of everything we do.

We are proud to promote our implementation of a rigorous Policies and Procedures Programme for our clients’ customers. We also have the relevant badges to prove it – culminating in a win at 2019’s CCS awards as an industry leader for Best Conduct & Culture.

To find out more questions a modern Debt Collection Agency must answer click here

7 Reasons your debt collection needs customer portals

Continuing with our Technology in Debt Collection series, one of the most successful digital touch points (or tools) in the digital customer journey 

In debt collection we’ve discovered has been our customer portal, myCRS.

With digital adoption accelerated by the pandemic throughout all demographics, the implementation of technology into the Debt Collections industry is no longer a nice to have but a necessity.

Crucial in any collections team’s arsenal must now be an online, both desktop and mobile-friendly, customer portal. Since the pandemic hit the UK we’ve seen an increase in traffic to our clients’ customer portals on myCRS by up to 180%.

CRS in Action: myCRS, our customer portal was launched in 2010 and is a part of our Continuous Improvement Programme (CIP) that pulls in data to help improve our customer services. It’s an integral part of our service offering to clients who need a bespoke ‘white label’ solution that can be rebranded to represent their company.

In general, portals provide customers with a single point of access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to important information such as online payments, account management and regulatory policies.

Importantly for CRS and our clients, myCRS provides us with valuable insight into the changing habits of our clients’ customers.

In this blog, we explore the top seven reasons you need to consider partnering with a DCA that will offer state-of-the-art personalised customer portals for your debtors.

Let’s take a look under the ‘hood’…

Customers want them

We mentioned earlier, the impact of the pandemic has seen more people become digitally literate and as such customers are now used to communicating online rather than over the phone.

The new on-demand world in which we live has meant people don’t have the patience to wait for things and expect to be provided with solutions instantly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through their desktops, laptops or mobile devices.

Portals like myCRS are in demand because they empower the customer, offering them control of the debt and the ability to find a solution that works for them. Our data suggests that for the customer it’s no longer ‘nice to have’ portals, they’ve become a must.

Increase cashflow

Because people are now turning towards digital solutions to manage their debt (often on ‘their own manageable’ terms) the data shows they’re more likely to pay.

What our customers say:

“This is so much easier to use than phoning. I suffer from anxiety and the thought of having to phone someone to sort something like this out really worries me, but doing it online just takes the pressure off”.

Save money

Cost-saving is another great benefit of customer portals. The programs can allow for automation of several standard processes, as well as helping to save on costs because agents no longer need to input the data that customers input directly. These cost savings can be passed onto the client.


One of the strongest benefits for our clients’ customers is they know they can fully self-serve online through their customer portal, without the need to ever have to speak to a member of staff on the phone.

Our CIP feedback loops tell us for many customers, this helps by offering them a way to keep all relevant information, like transactions and compliance policies in one place, controlled and managed by them. It also offers customers the opportunity to avoid the anxiety of discussing personal debt with another human.


Customer portals need to be user-friendly. We’ve learnt over time that by diving deep into the data and uncovering what works and what doesn’t, we’ve been able to continually update and move with customer trends and expectations.

A customer portal should be simple to navigate and with the integration of chatbots and live chat with customer services representatives, you can easily remove roadblocks to increase customer user satisfaction.

As well as being a resource for customers to retrieve important data like policies or transactional history, portals offer the ability to pay off their debt in full, create a payment arrangement that works for them and inform us if there is the involvement of a debt management company. This allows for a seamless working partnership between all stakeholders.

Allow focus

Customer portals can offer brilliant by-products; helping reduce waste and allowing staff to focus on what’s best for the customer. Once data has been gathered and where needed, human support can be offered, teams can work towards targeted outcomes that improve the customer experience and journey, which in the end works better for all stakeholders.

This is especially important when customer portal technology identifies vulnerable customers. Having the ability to flag and then redirect vulnerable customers to the correct support team is an integral part of an inclusive customer experience strategy making sure the customer is kept at the forefront of decision making.

Feedback and improvement

Finally, when developing programs for an ever-evolving customer base it’s integral for success to be able to provide solutions that can evolve with them.

Customer portals are a great place to gather information on what’s important for customers when they need support clearing their debt.

We use tools like heat mapping, live chat, and autoresponders (and the transcripts) and digital surveys to find out what customer sticking points there are and how we can help their journey become more seamless.

Final words from CRS

The pandemic has sped up digital adoption, and it’s because of this that it has never been more important to deploy ‘Collection Solutions That Work’. In the previous decade, we recognised that traditional collections techniques, and a one-size-fits-all approach, are outdated, ineffective and sometimes non-compliant.    

We’ve focussed on bringing together the finest technology, processes, and people to help develop our industry-leading customer portal, myCRS.

myCRS allows us, on your behalf, to build trust by gifting customers the responsibility of controlling their own accounts. They can view historic statements, transactional history, set up payments and complete income and expenditure calculations.  

We also trace and map digital customer journeys, helping us to spot ‘abandons’ which then allows us to signpost and navigate the customers towards further support. If you want to learn more, you can contact us here.

5 Pros to using a debt collection agency with Artificial Intelligence

The time of the ‘Skynet’ prophecy and the robot takeover might be upon us… well chatbots for starters but don’t worry we won’t “need your clothes, your boots or your motorcycle”.
We’ll apologise in advance for the Terminator references as we explore artificial intelligence and in particular Bots or Chatbots in our Technology in Debt Collection blog series.

Chatbots have revolutionised communication between companies and their customers, ushering in a new era of engagement with a customer focus. Powered by artificial intelligence, web bots can understand complex requests, personalise responses, and improve interactions over time. 

Simply put a bot is just a computer program that replicates a human conversation. People engage with the bot by typing or speaking, the programme then responds like a real person using phrases and words appropriate.

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Chatbots are now at the forefront in driving the digital customer journey and experience, and as the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated we’ll see even more exciting developments in website interactions, account management in customer portals and product and services development.

Here are a few stats celebrating the influence of bots:

Here at CRS we’ve enjoyed incredible success using bots on our front line for our client’s customers. In this blog, we’ve uncovered the top 5 benefits for customers and why you should consider partnering with a DCA that uses artificial intelligence.

  1. Bot’s help self-service
  2. Their responses are automatic
  3. Chatbots are always on
  4. AI offers a smoother journey
  5. Plan B, get sent to a real person

So ‘Come with us if you want to live’…

Bots help self-service

Although many customers will want to discuss their needs with a collections agent if it’s detailed and complex, we’ve found for simple frontline queries, customers often enjoy interacting with chatbots.

Chatbots used on the frontline offer customers the feeling of independence as repetitive tasks can be executed easily without the need to interact with agents.

Their responses are automatic

In the fast-paced society we live in, digital customers now demand instant gratification. All requests are expected to be answered straight away and when the digital consumer has to wait it is known to create a level of discomfort and anxiety.

Chatbots offer a solution to this digital demand, as they are always listening, always working and providing they have the correct selection of responses within their programming the customer will receive an automatic response at the push of a button.

Want to know more? Here’s our Tech & Services brochure

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Chatbots are always on

Not everyone works a 9 to 5 workday. Life happens sometimes and often customers won’t get the chance to make contact within a collections department timeframe or may even completely forget.

Bots propose another option for customers struggling to fit into a company’s time frame by being accessible 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week.

AI offers a smoother journey

Artificial Intelligence is created to evolve and ultimately it will replace humans as the programmes become more advanced. Replacing people might sound harsh but it’s not always a bad thing.

With a bot, the programmer can control the communication flow, moving customers in the desired direction and removing obstacles for them as the information is shared, creating an easier journey.

You also have the ability to control the tone of the bot to make sure it is a positive experience for the end-user allowing for a better and more enjoyable experience. This is especially important for vulnerable customers that suffer from anxiety with the thought of having to speak to another person about debt.  

Plan B, get sent to a real person

Although chatbots are getting more and more advanced every day, not every question will be able to be answered directly by them (yet). So, with that in mind bots are a great tool to gather information before the customer is sent to an agent. This cuts away wasted time for both the customer and the agent allowing them to focus on the needs of the customer and finding a solution.

The CRS Way 

Here at CRS, we have incorporated the spirit of innovation and development into the cultural fabric of our organisation and our dedicated in-house technology and design team are constantly looking to embrace new ideas to improve all of our systems and programmes including our AI.

Our customer portal chatbot or CRiS as we call him, allows 24/7 access to live interaction on our myCRS service. 

We enjoy an 80% (and improving) success rate for answering customer chats and those queries just beyond the reach of its programming are directly forwarded onto one of our live agents, who will pick up the query and deal with it directly. 

By answering the simple/common queries it allows agents to give time to the more ‘difficult’ queries.

If you’re interested in having a chat about our services

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…Oh and the real final words “Hasta la vista, baby” (again we’re sorry)

5 Reasons Email Bots are the Best in the (Debt Collection) Business

A few years ago when artificial intelligence and chatbots were introduced to the debt collection industry there were concerns it signalled the death of email, but email is the great survivor of the digital age.

Instead of butting heads with this smart communications tool it did the ‘smart’ thing, deciding to embrace the bot to form a powerful new tool, the email bot.

As part of our technology in collections series, we put the email bot under the spotlight and find out what’s different from its family members the website chatbot and SMS bot.

As a simple definition, an email bot is an automated communications tool that can respond to an incoming email or is used to start a conversation by sending outbound content. Communication can be customised and scheduled with the aim of helping the customer achieve certain goals without the need for interacting with a person.

What we found when we added chatbots or autoresponders to our email communication, they supercharged our e-coms, acting not only as a reminder but also an engagement tool to vastly improve interactivity, response rate, information distribution and customer nurturing.

Want to know more? Here’s our Tech & Services brochure

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Email-bots enjoy many of the same benefits of its brethren, the website bots and SMS bots, such as: being available to customers 24/7, offering instant responses and offering a self-service option for customers, increasing customer satisfaction by operating on the customers’ terms.

But there are some ways in which email bots offer benefits different to its ‘family’ members. In this blog, we highlight 5 email-centric benefits of why you should be considering partnering with a company that offers email bots as part of its ‘chatbot’ armoury.


Data has become a valued currency in all industries, helping to drive customer experience and expectations. The by-product of this is it’s nearly impossible to sign up to any digital service without having to fill in compulsory data fields and email is considered the most crucial data field of them all.

businessman hand working with modern technology and digital layer effect as business strategy concept

The 2014 government census measured that nearly 90% of the UK adult population held an active email account, measure that against the largest social media platform Facebook: 70%. Now in 2020 with the world becoming increasingly digital we would expect that number will have grown further. 

With these statistics in mind, email, therefore, becomes a crucial collections tool for the modern-day collections department or DCA. Integrated with the power of chatbots you can start to appreciate why.

Automation and lead nurturing

The nature of chatbots is to create automated workflows and sequences that’re helpful to the customer and achieves a client’s targets. Mail bots are perfect for this type of two-way communication.

Bots can offer the customers 1-to-1 engagement helping their experience feel personalised. Artificial Intelligence (AI) learns on the run gathering data and feeding it back; helping to improve the content and efficiencies of the responses. 

This all plays an important part in developing successful nurturing workflows keeping the customer at the centre of the conversation and helping them achieve their debt reduction goals, by keeping their account front of mind with intelligent replies and reminder emails.


Email bots are user-friendly for both customers and collections teams.

Collections teams can schedule responses for the right time of day to maximise the open rate of the email. For example, the email marketing company Omnisend’s research suggested the best times to send email is at 8 am, 1 pm and 5 pm during weekdays for higher open rates.

Happy young couple calculating bills at home

This helps the customer because the emails are scheduled for times data says they are more welcoming of email and as such more likely to engage with the content in the email, which helps the client.

As we know not all things are equal, so the times suggested above may not relate to your customer base and that’s fine because another incredibly user-friendly aspect of email is the data feedback most good email software will provide you, allowing you to redesign your processes regularly for better and higher engagement rates.

Interested in having a chat about our services? we’ll be back in touch within 24hrs.

They complement chatbots

If you have chatbots already working on your website and SMS then email bots will be another great addition for your customers, offering them a further self-service tool. Not everyone wants to speak to a person directly due to the sensitivity of the subject, time-saving, or just personal preference, so chatbots become a brilliant solution. 

An email bot can be built on similar work sequences to the other bots in your network of customer-friendly tools. Utilising comparable communication tone, speed of response and nurturing workflows.

This multi-platform user-friendly approach will help continue your customer-centric approach to business helping your company look good and achieve your targets.


The fact that nearly all adults use an email account suggests it’s a trusted communication tool. Ummm… maybe ‘trusted’ is the wrong word because we should all be vigilant to protect ourselves and our devices from viruses, scams and those pesky phishing emails which seem to populate the email ‘universe’.

But there are a couple of reasons why we are at least comfortable with email:

  1. First up it’s a communication tool we’re familiar with. It’s been around a long time before SMS and text messaging and any of the social media coms platforms. It’s something many of us grew up with, something our parents, bosses and friends all have, simply put it’s now just a part of our everyday existence.
  2. Another reason for being comfortable with email is that it’s perceived to be less invasive. Due to the intimacy of social communications platforms being people we know directly like friends and family we will often think of email as something we will ‘eventually get to’ and it not always needing an immediate response, leaving it to be able to be dealt with in a time and place the customer feels comfortable.
  3. Email has suited us well over the years and due to its user-friendliness and reach, it will not give up its title of ‘king of communications’ without a fight. It’s embedded into our digital existence and as such its evolution to integrate with other forms of chatbots and autoresponders showcase its flexibility.

The CRS Way

We launched our email bot (we’ve named her CRiSe) back in 2017, gaining tremendous experience and improving her workflows consistently. CRiSe scans all incoming emails with an average response time of 60 seconds and like our website bot(CRiS) and SMS bot (CRiSte), she never sleeps and works tirelessly 24/7.

She uses AI to ‘learn’ common words and phrases and builds responses accordingly. Like all of our bots, if a query is unable to be answered the email will be forwarded onto one of our team members to be manually worked through to completion.


CRiSe has also been programmed to recognise accounts to be flagged when keywords like ‘mental health’ and ‘suicide’ are mentioned, allowing one of our agents to act accordingly and pick up the conversation fully prepared.

Our stats are showing us CRiSe is offering customers a great ‘one-touch resolution’ option to getting their questions answered.

Better ‘LATE COLLECTIONS’ Than Never?

Understanding the multitude of ‘moving parts’ involved in the collections process is not an easy job and often we hear our industry partners talking about their frustrations with staying abreast of the endless challenges.

The constant need to take into account things like customer trends, evolving customer journey, preferred communications channels and state of mind has meant collections teams need to stay relevant and up to date with the latest information and industry trends.

Don’t have time to read this blogpost? To download your Collections Ebook:

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To lend a helping hand, over the past 6 weeks we have been sharing a 6 post blog series made up from our common Collections Timelines Whitepaper covering all of the different stages of the Collections process:

  1. Setting up for success
  2. Pre due
  3. Due date
  4. Early collections
  5. Late collections
  6. Late late collections

Following a deep dive into our data from thousands of clients and over two million live accounts, the blog series allowed us to share best practice, bring together the average time periods from the overall industry and offer examples of how we go about business to deal with each step of the process.

Looking at the feedback from our partners and internally from our team members we decided to go one step further to dive even deeper into our numbers and break down the common collections timelines into the 5 largest industry sectors we service:

  1. Business to Business (B2B)
  2. Telco
  3. Financial
  4. Insurance
  5. Utilities

Once again, we have turned our findings into a free download called Collections: comparing industry-specific timelines.

So, if you’re curious whether your collections are measuring up against your specific sector’s average timelines then this is the download for you,. Even if you just want to know how other sectors individually go about their business and the best practice they deploy then there may be a nugget or two of development opportunities here for you.

To download your Collections Ebook: Comparing Industry specific timelines

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