Changing the debt collection industry for good, one positive experience at a time

When we first launched InDebted and the concept of empathetic debt collection, we were met with considerable scepticism. It’s fair - based on most people’s experience with this industry, the two phrases seem entirely at odds with one another.

But the scepticism came mostly from within the industry that we were trying to disrupt - incumbent players laughed off our little startup promoting the notion of customer-centricity. After all, pressuring and shaming customers into paying with little regard for whether they can afford next week’s groceries can be highly lucrative. It’s how it’s traditionally been done, and it works to get the commercial results - why change?

The problem is, it wasn’t working. Not for the regulators at least, and certainly not for consumers. People are increasingly disenfranchised with the traditional debt collection model of sending demanding letters or calling from various phone numbers multiple times a week - whether at work, cooking dinner or putting the kids to bed - this industry isn’t known for its compassion or respect for the people at the centre of it.

Meanwhile, regulatory and market pressure crept in, forcing much of the industry to unwillingly shift their operations, leadership and even business model towards promoting better tactics to improve customer outcomes - albeit only on face value, rather than through a fundamental belief in putting customers at the heart of product and service design. It’s easy to preach financial health, but still incentivise their teams with iPads or a cash bonus based on how much money they collected from people in debt that month.

At InDebted, we refer to people in debt as customers, but they’re also so much more than that. Debt happens, and will impact nearly all of us, or someone we care about, at some point in our lives.

Josh Foreman

Now more than ever, with rising inflation and increasing cost of living significantly changing our day to day expenditure, it’s easy to forget a payment or miss a bill. And when a debt collector would come calling; the intimidation, pressure and shame was the last thing people deserve at a time when they’re most vulnerable. It’s for these people, our customers, that we’re committed to making this industry better.

An industry that was built on one very flawed assumption - that people in debt don’t want to pay it back, and the role of a debt collector is to chase them into paying. We reject this entirely.

Antiquated views, misaligned incentives and conflicting outcomes have been bubbling under the surface for decades, recently resulting in a mass of industry disruption. While we were the first to launch a new philosophy in Australia, a number of debt collectors have followed suit in different countries around the world today - those who see the value in building their business model around empowering people to actually want to engage with their debt, rather than how they ‘should’ engage with their debt. It’s highly rewarding to see the industry changing for the better, with some long overdue sector progression and competition.

Whilst others are also working to disrupt the industry, we have built something truly unique. We’re operating globally in multiple markets (something none of our fellow disruptors have been able to successfully achieve yet). We’re taking the shame out of debt and putting the human back in, one experience at a time - and thousands of people can attest to that.

Today, we are officially the highest rated collections agency in the world, with 2000 Google reviews at an average of 4.9 stars.

I’m proud to be able to say that InDebted is the first and only globally scalable solution that’s changing the world of consumer debt recovery for good, ever since our founding in 2016.

From then until now, 2000 individuals across the globe have taken the time to share their experiences with us. I’m immensely grateful to our customer-facing team members who have each played a role in supporting every single one of these people when they needed it most - thank you. Weighing up that number alongside the consistency of what they say about InDebted is a credit to each of every one of you, and it speaks volumes for the power in listening to how customers want to be engaged with, and providing a product and service that meets them where they want to be met.

And yes, for the sceptics still out there - every review is real. I know it might sound too good to be true - we often hear “there’s no way people would leave a positive review for a debt collector” or my personal favourite, “surely you paid for them”. The reason our reviews are so significant lies in the nature of them being so unbelievable, but so real - the fact a debt collector delivers such an unparalleled customer experience, resulting in 2000 reviews at an average of 4.9 stars; each and every single one left by a real InDebted customer, at their choosing.

What’s next?

2000 reviews is one of many milestones on our journey - right now, we’re focused on improving the consumer experience of debt in a post-pandemic world with a shifting economic environment. This no longer just means meeting consumers where they are. It’s anticipating their needs, solving their problems before they feel symptoms and continuing to challenge everything you think you know about debt collection.

By Josh Foreman - CEO & Founder, InDebted

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