How Esendex and npower made the finals of the 2017 Credit Awards

Topic: Finance & DCAs, Utilities

Update: npower WON the Best Credits & Collections Technology award, and we’re so proud!

npower, partnered with Esendex, has been nominated in two categories at the 2017 Credit Awards: Best Credit & Collections Technology and Innovation in Customer Contact.
This collaboration has been such a rewarding experience for Esendex, and we wanted to talk you through what we’ve achieved together.

The challenge

npower is the UK’s third biggest supplier of energy, and, like most long-standing companies in the utilities sector, had difficulties collecting small balance final debt.
There are two main issues associated with the traditional white lettering and outbound dialling approach when pursuing small balance final debt.
The first issue is that many of the customers that leave npower (approx. 55%) do so as they are moving home. When moving home, customers don’t always provide a forwarding address and thus can’t be contacted via letter.
The second issue is that the cost of lettering and outbound dialling can often exceed the balance owed. It’s for this reason that npower had not previously been able to pursue small balance final debt.

The solution

npower provided Esendex with a strategy that considers a customer’s contact details, leaving reason and most importantly debt amount, from which we’ve been able to construct an intelligent contact platform – a ‘decision engine’ – that segments customers onto different contact journeys in order to maintain maximum return on investment.

Customer B, as illustrated in this diagram, is first contacted via email, and provided with three ways to pay off their final balance:

  • An IVR – Interactive Voice Response – system which can be accessed from a landline or mobile, and talks the customer through making a payment
  • A Mobile Journey, which is effective a mobile web app, accessible via a smartphone or from a computer. By removing distractions and elements that make completion on a mobile challenging, customers can quickly and easily make a payment via their mobile phone
  •  A traditional payment portal, best accessed via a desktop computer / laptop.

If the customer doesn’t make a payment, or the message fails to be delivered, they’ll receive an SMS. From the SMS they have the option to again, call the IVR, or click through to the Mobile Journey to make a payment.
If the outstanding balance is high enough, and the customer has either not responded or the SMS wasn’t delivered, they’ll receive an automated call with the option to use their keypad to make a payment.
At npower’s requested, we’ve also built an input layer that allows npower to stop any contact to any customer at any point in time; this gives them complete control over the contact even though they do not conduct the contact in house.

The outcome

npower enjoyed an uplift in payments from 4% to 19% after deploying the new methodology.
Including set up and running costs, they recouped their initial investment within five months, and in year two, because the set up costs won’t be repeated, they’ll recoup the annual cost after just two months.

This was a unique partnership combining npower’s knowledge of their customer base and Esendex’s expertise in digital communication and our ability to elicit a great response rate.
It utilises a digitally driven strategy removing the need for traditional paper correspondence and potentially lengthy call volumes.

“The use of an Esendex provided payment platform created a quick and easy way for our customers to pay off their outstanding debts whilst on the go and the uplift in payments is proving how popular and successful this platform is.” – Senior Credit Risk Analyst, npower

Win or lose, we’re really proud of this collaboration, and believe it illustrates how a personalised, mobile orientated customer journey can deliver a successful outcome, even when you’re dealing with a group of relatively disengaged ex-customers.