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Atradius Collections Goes Digital – A Q&A with Justin Arandjelovic, UK Operations Manager

The current climate and global pandemic has proved to us that we cannot solely rely on traditional methods of payment and communication.

Over the last 18 months, Atradius Collections have invested in and enhanced the digital workforce suite to compliment our already fully automated collections platform.

Incorporating digitalization allows us to achieve maximum efficiency across our operational processes, by strategizing our collections approach based on risk profiling and potential outcome.

For the readers, can you tell me about your background and experience within credit management?
I’ve been involved in Credit Management for just over 20 years’ and have extensive knowledge of all aspects of Credit Management, encompassing budgets, process improvement, data management, debt recovery, insolvencies, invoicing, legal services, and risk management.  I’ve been a credit manager for a range of organisations including one of the UK’s leading credit information companies.  This means that I understand the concerns and issues of our customers and what’s important to them.

How long have you worked for Atradius and how has your role changed over the years?
I’ve been with Atradius for nearly 4 years and my current role is Head of Operations for the Western Europe Region, which involves managing a large multi-national collection team in addition to coordinating best practices with other regions to ensure we deliver a consistent quality to our customers no matter where their debtors are located.  I also work closely with and support the wider business with AI for data profiling, predictive collections and digitalization.

In the digital age, the way our technical assets look and interact is more crucial than ever, firstly can you tell us why digitalization so important to Atradius Collections?
Over the last 18 months, we have invested in and enhanced our digital workforce suite to complement our already fully automated Collection platform. Incorporating digitalization allows us to achieve maximum efficiency across our operational processes by strategizing our collections approach based on risk profiling and potential outcome. Digitalization also allows us to take advantage of analytics and real user data to achieve the best result for our customers.

The current climate and global pandemic has also confirmed to us that we cannot solely rely on traditional methods of payment and communication.

What are the recent changes you have made to enhance your ‘digital workforce?
Two of our most recent additions to our digital workforce suite are the Personalized Video Messaging and a new Virtual Assistant platform.

How do these changes support collection activities?
Both the Personalized Video and Virtual Assistant are designed to capture the digital footprint of the debtors in the background in additional to valuable contact information. This information is then fed back into our internal collections platform allowing our collectors to tailor their approach based on the information provided by the digital footprint. For example if we’ve been unable to make contact in the daytime and we know the digital footprint of the video is captured early evening then the collector will be notified and the system will schedule a call for around the same time the video was viewed.   They also enable us to make contact with debtors at times convenient to them and when obtaining payment is likely to be more successful.

How do these changes support the day to day efficiency of your team?
The number of cases today and what we expect due to growth of our business will require digital support next to human intervention. This combination makes us much more flexible and efficient to process even more cases than we already do today. And if the digital workforce can take a growing part of our daily – mainly repetitive – collection activities, our collectors can focus on cases where human intervention makes the difference.

Digital transformation is a ‘hot topic’ at the moment, what else are you looking to implement?
We are currently working on a digital workflow strategy, which will contain in the region of 50 preset collections strategies. When a debt is placed, digitalization and AI will conduct automated background checks and allocate a DNA collection profile best suited to the type of debtor profile. Digital footprints will then continue to capture additional information in the background and any changes to the debtor profile will result in a DNA profile change to a more suitable collection strategy to provide the best possible outcome for the customer.

Atradius are investing into the digital workforce, can you provide an overview of what this looks like?
Our goal is to have a workflow process where digitalization helps drive the strategy to provide the best outcome for our customers, takes care of the highly automated processes such as dunning cycles, payment solutions, therefore freeing up more time for personal contact with the debtor where human expertise is required.

Can you tell me about debtor profiling and how this supports the collections team, why is debtor profiling so important?
Debtor profiling is important as it gives you a better insight into the debtor and allows you to validate the details, which is essential if legal action is required. Profiling debtors is also key to driving the workflow strategies and efficiency of the collections team to ensure the best result possible is achieved for our customer.

We understand you have a new way of contacting debtors , can you tell me about this?
All our digital workforce solutions are made for global usage. This year we rolled out a global online self-service platform for debtors and currently we see on a monthly basis more than 1,400 debtors interacting with us online, including activating their own payment plans without the need for human intervention.

How do you see the digital workforce developing, what is on the horizon for Atradius Collections?
We have a 5 year road map in place, which looks at new digitalization opportunities alongside making sure the ones we current have in place are maximized to their full potential. The digital workforce is going to take a serious position in our operational landscape over the coming years with some collection activities becoming 100% digitalized. This will then allow collector workflows to be strategized and focused on those cases where human intervention is required.