In this four part audio interview, Emma Bryn Jones of Zero Credit UK explains how a personal quest of offering credit free living tips through social media evolved into UK cooperative serving debt professionals and indirectly borrowers looking for richer information to base decisions on.
Zero Credit UK purpose
the point of zero credit is that it trades in research and development information so that borrowers own information on which decisions are made.
Zero Credit UK have authored a substantive Digital Presence Guide and Emma goes on to explain it’s purpose:
the primary customer of the document [The Digital Presence Guide] is any debt professional hoping to have a presence online of any kind…
With proliferation of choice of debt companies the credibility of debt professionals to borrowers is crucial these days:
the consumer is probably looking for a little bit more than just a statement of I’m good because of somebody says I’m good, you want the background of professional associations of this body says I’m good.
Debt organisations and transparency
In part 2, I ask Emma if it is a positive development that debt companies increasingly reveal their employees.
I think it is really important to showcase the employees because any kind of service related to advising on debt is a service not a product.
Emma also notes that digital media can humanise the relationship between debt advisor and a debtor.
you may feel happier revealing your circumstances to somebody who is a cricket fan because you’re a cricket fan and you’ll feel that they abide by the same sort of moral compass….you need to feel comfortable if you’re going to tackle a debt as a debtor.
Emma’s team also carry out mystery shopping on debt websites to test the waters for industry compliance with increasingly stringent standards and produce the Digital Presence Guide document to address common industry weaknesses such as greater emphasis of complaint procedure policies.
Debt Industry Compliance
In part 3, I mentioned that ClearDebt, during the OFT Debt Management Guidance Consultation period in 2011 had defended the right to revert to social media where appropriate.
Some people still continue to use social media as a sort of advertising channel.
There was a worry it [social media] was a just a new advertising channel to put links to get people into things.
Social media remains a legitimate channel but there was agreement that transparency practised by virtue of bio and profile links that link back to the company is essential.
In the final part of the audio interview I ask Emma if there is more scope for regulation of non compliance.
Emma believes this is almost an impossible task.
We have done a lot of work on business directories in debt advice, debt collection and ppi and the number of people listed in there who clearly have no compunction to follow any code of conduct at all is quite formidable.
Consumer choice for debtors
I asked Emma if consumers had enough resources to make independent choices among debt companies and debt professionals.
It’s very easy for a consumer to make the wrong decision….that they didn’t realise how much debt they were in because they were meeting the minimum repayment….some people are are using short term credit [fast loans, payday loans] to deal with a debt problem and this need for speed is encouraging those people to make decisions that are probably not rationale given their circumstances.
The Zero Credit UK Digital Presence Guide is a must have document for debt professionals and organisations marketing their services in this era.
Digital Presence Guide – Zero Credit UK
It’s value packed with useful advice and examples of not only how to practically comply with industry standards but also how to excel in open customer communications following the best practice of UK organisations and professionals.
Obtain the full version from the Zero Credit UK website or enjoy an extract below.
ClearDebt Group plc is a corporate supporter of Zero Credit UK.
What’s your opinion of debt companies online behaviour? Leave your comment below.