Do you remember the listings of unpaid invoices that came out on endless paper with strips of holes on each side?
Some tried to untie the tapes because it made it "cleaner", others didn't. A question of style in the corporate world of the eighties. Then, each line was marked with pencil to carry out recovery actions.
The idea is not to dwell on the nostalgia of this recent but technologically distant era. At that time, there was a lot of talk about holes: printer paper with holes, corded telephone with dials with holes, punching machines with holes, etc.
Collection was done by phone sometimes and a lot by paper mail and customer visits. Some companies (and sometimes big names) used strong men who would sit in the lobby of the debtor customer and not leave until they had the check in hand.
The check, an archaism of means of payment which we still find traces today, like the fossils of outdated and endangered practices.
Sending a certified duplicate invoice took forever between printing, stamping, signing by the authorized chief accountant, and mailing with the three-franc sticker stamps.
So yes it was better before, more basic and certainly more human. But how painful it was! Imagine working today with these methods, this forced slowness that meant that in a month we were doing less than today in an hour.
I confess, I prefer the world of today, the velocity of a My DSO Manager that provides consolidated, real-time reports from Groups deployed around the world in a matter of seconds. Feel the power of digital in the financial customer relationship. With just a few clicks on a screen, all the information and indicators are available in a flash, drawing on the resources of the data to provide the elements needed to make decisions. Intelligent mass dunning while personalizing individual cases, optimizing customer risk management thanks to this magnificent marriage, when it is well done, of humankind and digital.
So yes, the digitalization of customer relations is a fact, an evolution against which it is pointless to fight and which has many advantages and much to be excited about.
The same is true for the financial aspect of this relationship: customer risk, recovery, performance. Extremely challenging, digitalization is an opportunity to contribute to the drastic transformation, the digital revolution underway in the credit management business and in the economy in general. It invites us to a previously unknown dynamism, to master challenges that are all the higher because the time available to manage them is short.
Far from dehumanizing the customer relationship, it purges it of paperwork and bureaucracy to keep only its essence: the art of communication and collaborative negotiation.