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Collections, COVID-19, and a New World Order

There has been much written about the societal and behavioural changes wrought by COVID-19 – new work patterns, a further growth in online shopping behaviour and even the evolving nature of work itself in the face of increased automation.

Alongside this we have also seen the exponential growth of the “gig economy”. Home delivery has become ubiquitous, creating further gig-based income streams for thousands of self-employed couriers. There’s also been a further affirmation, for many, that there are different ways of making a living in virtually all sectors of the economy – from the creative industries, accountancy and advice through to the medical sector and more.

“So when’s your payday?”
What has been less talked about is the impact this has on income profile. Gone are the days of “blue collar” equals weekly pay; “white collar” equals monthly. Irregular work patterns cause fluctuating and sometimes unpredictable levels of income. This makes budgeting far harder, especially for higher ticket items that have traditionally been paid once per month like insurance, credit commitments, mortgage or rent and council tax.

An individual’s inability to commit to a single monthly commitment does not make them a bad debt in waiting; on the contrary, a more flexible approach may actually see cash flow improvements with instalments made through the month ahead of the normal payment date.

Flexibility through automation
Traditional collection methods such as direct debit can be too cumbersome in this rapidly changing payment environment. Conversely, flexible business or even customer-initiated payment scheduling based on stored card details, with a clear mandate from the customer to commit to the payments, can offer a solution.

Post-pandemic recovery means thinking outside the box
I’ve long thought that the way to rejuvenate the high street is for local authorities to think outside the box. One approach is to offer turnover-based rent deals to fill empty space: once the space is occupied and trading, the rate can be escalated by the success thresholds based on turnover.

In the same way, I believe there is competitive advantage in offering dynamic, digital contact and payment solutions that fit around the income profile of the customer. The way we work and earn has changed forever, and our approach needs to reflect this New World Order.

Historically, society’s usual excuse for failing to adopt new ideas was technology – or rather the lack of it. But today, that is simply no longer the case. If you would like to talk more about flexible scheduled solutions, please get in touch.

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