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In recent years, our company has completely transformed its arrears collection function, shifting focus away from maximising and accelerating payments, to putting our customers’ best interests at the forefront of everything we do. We have embedded a culture that ensures the right debt solution is found for our customers. When we decided to benchmark a percentage of our collections function, it was of utmost importance that we found the right partner, who shared our beliefs and values, and would protect the customer journey we are so proud of delivering. We went to tender with a number of organisations of varying sizes and offerings. This included large multi-national companies with relatively cheap overseas functions. It was clear early in the process that Sigma were the type of company we would want to collect on our arrears portfolio. We were most impressed with Sigma’s management team, who, in the highly regulated space we operate in, were able to give us full confidence they would provide the focus and attention our portfolio required. We have now been partners for over 18 months, and are very happy with Sigma’s delivery. We were most impressed with the speed and ease at which they were able to set up and ‘go live’ on our portfolio, with their performance rapidly reaching parity with our own internal function. If I was to sum up what we were looking for it would be the following:
A company who took a strategic partnership approach – we found this hard to achieve with some of the bigger BPO’s
A company who could evidence the focus on customer experience
A confident and professional management team – what was good about Sigma was that the management team we met and dealt with as part of the RFP process was the same one we would be dealing with as BAU. Again this wasn’t the case with some of the bigger players in the market
A good cultural fit – this was important to us and tied into our view of a strategic partnership rather than a service provider approach
The various demands of managing a panel of DCA’s will change the industry under the new conduct regime and I can see firms wanting more visibility and more control and therefore moving to a more strategic partnership approach via credit managed outsource and away from DCA usage. This puts Sigma and other smaller dedicated firms in a strong position for all the reasons we have highlighted above.
Sigma were selected as a partner because they were a great fit for us. We desired a flexible, committed and open supplier with up to date technology and expert knowledge to deliver our ultimate strategy - Sigma fits that bill perfectly! Having continued direct access to all Managing Directors who take an active role in the ever developing strategic partnership is certainly refreshing and makes us confident that we are valued. The support during the build and go live exceeded our expectations with Sigma delivering every step of the way. The dedicated team is awesome; it was important to us that they felt part of our company and together we have certainly achieved this. Sigma’s communication and professionalism is fantastic from an agent level right up to Senior Management - working with such passionate and focused individuals is always a pleasure and we have been able to build a very close and strong partnership with the entire team.

Our customers are at the heart of our company and we find comfort in the fact that Sigma is able to provide fantastic customer service as well as deliver an excellent recovery rate on a high volume debt portfolio.
It was a huge change for my business to outsource collections activity, this has always been undertaken by our internal teams and we prided ourselves on doing this well. Unfortunately when there are other internal front office pressures it is often the case that collections could be viewed as a secondary function and staff are pulled from this to assist delivery of core activities. This was certainly the case for us and as such I suggested that perhaps this was a good time to pilot this activity with a collections specialist such as a traditional DCA whose core function is to collect outstanding monies.

As with most businesses one of the biggest considerations when looking to outsource will be cost. My initial reason for selecting Sigma to undertake my outsource activities definitely came down to them being the most cost effective, however my rationale for continuing to expand the team and broaden the scope of activities was due to so much more.

Since implementation they have understood my business and taken ownership of my collection requirements superbly, demonstrating a remarkable level of consistency in performance as they continuously exceed a tough set of targets and KPIs. The quality of the Collections Management team has been excellent. They are fully engaged and eager to deliver and improve week on week. The Team Managers have a great rapport with the advisors and are continually striving to bring the best out of each one. This creates a great atmosphere within the team and a real buzz about the work being undertaken. One thing I really like about working with Sigma is that everyone from advisors to Heads of Department are encouraged to interact with me and my team in order to address and resolve any issues that arise. I definitely feel like part of the “Sigma Family” and not necessarily “The Client”. This makes it far easier to have open and honest discussions and is different to my experiences to date with other service providers.

Sigma’s flexibility to meet my rapid expansion requirements has been hugely impressive and not something I have experienced when working with outsource partners before.

Their ability to build and create bespoke databases and reports quickly is also another huge positive. The ability of the Operational team is fantastic; the unique way that they can turn at times a half-baked request into a fully functioning MI tool is impressive. As this partnership moves forward requirements continue to develop and change and these are always effectively managed. In all honesty when I commenced this activity I didn’t fully appreciate everything that I would want to see in order to demonstrate to my internal business exactly what the team was delivering as a return on investment and it has been hugely beneficial for me to be able to have direct access to the developers in order to discuss requirements and formulate a plan.

Another huge selling point for me is the ability for me to be able to have a direct route to interact with all of Managing Directors and not just a “Key Account Manager”. They all take an active role in the partnership with myself which is something rarely seen in larger organisations. I have found this hugely beneficial and this continues to demonstrate to me that they are fully engaged in delivering the best for my business as well as their own.