Intrum and Collenda Cwize have been working together since October 2015, with the goal of funnelling the network of bailiffs into a single data environment. Initially, these efforts focused on the monitoring and handling of the cases. Which bailiff should do what, and when? Are the intended actions (ethically) responsible and effective? The additional option to compare financial transactions down to the details also turned out to be incredibly useful. It brought transparency to the out-of-court and legal procedures. A clear picture emerged regarding the payments submitted by the end customer and the amount actually received by the client. This made it possible to effectively monitor the accumulation of debt through fees.
“Especially where Dutch clients are concerned, the focus has for some time been on two matters: price and socially responsible collection practices. This has enabled us to win several tenders, even though Intrum is not the cheapest option. One client literally said to us, ‘With Intrum, we feel certain there won’t be any missteps; we trust you’.” When asked if he has noticed a difference between Belgian clients and Dutch ones, Reza says, “My impression is that they place quite a high premium on loyalty. The focus on relationships is still a bit stronger than in the Netherlands.”
Although Reza is an Amsterdammer by birth, he currently lives in The Hague and manages the office in Ghent as well. When asked about the differences between Belgium and the Netherlands, he notes that those are much less pronounced than he originally expected, especially when it comes to culture. “It helps, I think, that I don’t really have a Dutch perspective on things: having lived and worked in London for years, I tend to be quite international in my thinking.”
Future cross-pollination between Intrum Belgium and Intrum Netherlands certainly remains a possibility. “In Belgium, for instance, most of our expansion efforts have focused on the amicable settlement and white label recovery services, while the other two services took priority in the Netherlands. The attention for individual employees is notably greater at Intrum Belgium, particularly during the current pandemic, while Intrum Netherlands is further along in its digitisation efforts. We obviously stand to learn from one another.” Reza’s goal is to make optimum use of the opportunities that exist in each of the two countries. Belgian clients can rely on him for more extensive digitisation. And Dutch employees can expect to receive more personalised guidance and support. “Heavy investments will be made in order to align the two businesses on a variety of fronts.”
As General Manager and as a person, Reza places an extremely high value on quality. High-quality collection means achieving results the right way without adding unnecessary costs and fees to the customer’s debt. Intrum stands for socially responsible collection practices. This explains why, for some smaller amounts, they deliberately choose not to proceed to legal collections. “We don’t want to create an unnecessary burden of debt on the customer. In some situations, we put the case under debt surveillance and restart our efforts at a later date. This does not, however, mean there are no consequences for failure to pay: in cases where payment is wilfully withheld, we will take the matter to court. Cwize helps with the monitoring and management of the cases. Their clear reporting, how the structure is monitored and the disciplined management of the cases ensure that we are able to take the right decisions.”
Quality on multiple levels
“Cwize contributes to positive perceptions regarding our brand. Our image is extremely important and I intend to do everything I can to protect our good reputation.” Quality remains the constant factor. Which bailiff avoids taking unnecessary actions? Which bailiff is conservative about adding costs and fees? Which region has the highest rate of recovery? “We learn a lot from this information and are taking very specific actions in response. We want our partners to do the right thing. Whether we are the customer/client or the collections agency.” One thing is clear: quality comes first.
Intrum and Collenda Cwize have worked in close cooperation to optimise the reports. Now, it is even possible to monitor the financial position of a bailiff – meaning every euro is accounted for. And not only that, it also provides a solid benchmark: which bailiff performs best in which type of portfolio? “The reports enable us to compare service providers with one another in a fantastic way. Cwize supports us in maintaining timely communication and supplying the relevant information to the debtor, the bailiff and the client. The process has become quicker, the data is responsive and we have improved our availability.”
Reza wraps up the conversation by emphasising, “I’m extremely pleased with my professional team, and together with Collenda Cwize, we are working towards consolidated partner management in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.” It is obvious that we’re dealing with a fan: a fan of Cwize, of Intrum and most of all, of the fine team Reza leads. For Intrum Belgium, the future is looking both bright and grand. That much is clear.