Siddharth Agarwal has worked with Zycus & Mindcraft before he founded Mobicule in 2008, as a preferred mobility partner for blue chip organizations with products across 8 Industry verticals. He has successfully deployed some of the largest mobile field force implementations across Sales & Distribution, Telecom, and BFSI.
India has observed a massive transformation across industries owing to digitization, new communication channels, and stringent regulatory frameworks. For a long time, the financial services industry has turned to manual processes, tedious paperwork, and conventional methods of customer service. But with the onset of COVID-19, the scenario changed and the debt collections industry, especially, has been a quick adopter of technology and thus gained substantial momentum post the pandemic. A leading Innovative software platform for debt collection and recovery, Mobicule Technologies’ Founder, Siddharth Agarwal in a freewheeling chat with Indian Economy & Market shares his opinion regarding new developments in debt collection scenario, how it has changed and what to expect in the upcoming years.
How has the digital debt collection industry evolved in the past few years?
The Indian debt collection industry has seen dramatic shifts in the past few years, more so after the pandemic. With changing customer preferences and their strong inclination towards all things digital, both lenders and debt collectors are left with little to no choice but to embrace technological applications. Unlike earlier times wherein debt collection agencies relied on text messages, calls, emails, and door-to-door visits for dropping reminders, emerging options like digital loan collection platforms are carrying out these tasks, without disturbing customer sentiments. This change in dependency from manual allocation and follow-up tasks to digital platforms is proving to assist lenders to save time, cost, resources, and reputation while improving customer experience and retention rates. For the players that are yet to leverage technology in debt collection management, there is no better time than now to make a switch and choose a digital-first approach.
How AI-powered models are contributing to debt collection performance?
From engaging customers and upselling products to facilitating loans and executing debt recovery, new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence are changing the way debt collection processes operate. AI-powered chatbots have emerged as considerably beneficial to collate customer data, resolve queries, and offer hyper-personalized experiences. Using AI, lenders and debt collectors are able to predict defaulters by analyzing their financial history and alter their recovery approach to maximize collection and minimize defaults. Most importantly, AI-based business models have entirely eliminated human intervention, thereby reducing investment in resources and averting human errors.
How did Mobicule Technologies gain a competitive edge?
We were one of the early entrants in the debt collection markets to be underpinned by the country’s leading lenders. At a time when most players ventured into the urban markets, we managed to set a strong foothold in the rural markets as well. By adopting a multilingual communication channel approach and developing a user-friendly platform to reach all sections of society, we have been able to cater to a larger customer base with diverse requirements ranging from digital cash collection to reporting frauds and defaults. This has helped us lead financial inclusivity, communicate with customers in the language of their preference, recover payments, and provide customer satisfaction, all whilst having an advantage over others.
What are the efforts you take to stay compliant?
Traditionally, debt collection agencies often resorted to aggressive recovery tactics to combat delinquencies, leading to unpleasant customer experience and poor reputation for collectors. To eliminate these setbacks and create a healthy ecosystem for everyone involved, regulators like the RBI have established stringent policy frameworks and regulatory guidelines that encourage players to be more empathetic and methodical with their communication and recovery approach. We keep ourselves updated with these regulatory guidelines and actively engage in customer interaction to identify existing and potential grievances.
What is your growth strategy?
We have been following a three-pronged strategy on our growth journey. While some of the established players have already adopted digital technologies for debt collection, our goal is to expand and reinforce the existing clientele. If we look at the market scenario, it presents great opportunities within the regional banks, NBFCs, and MFI ecosystem. They are all on the cusp of embracing this technology. We aim to bring modular solutions that would be easy to adopt and integrate within the system. On the global front, we have identified key strategic markets where we can launch our platform and widen our service horizon.