”You have to be a good listener” says Lietta Pennucci from Intrum's UK operations
With more than five years’ experience working in customer support in Intrum’s UK operations, Lietta Pennucci, Customer Operations Manager, knows what she is talking about.
What is the typical customer like that you encounter in your day-to-day work?
“I would probably say someone encountering unforeseen financial difficulties. They are often people who have lost their jobs, had a relationship fall apart or suffered serious illness. Serious difficulties can affect us all in life. Our task is to help these people rid themselves of debt and find their way back to sound finances.”
What help does Intrum offer and how does this work practically?
“The first thing we do is work out a payment plan that is sustainable over time and that takes into account the customer’s capacity to pay. If the situation so demands, we can adjust or even pause a payment plan. This can mean a great deal to someone who may be seriously ill and has no savings at all. Besides setting up payment plans, we advise on where to find other help. This may include providing contact details of charities providing free counselling and support for people in financial difficulties.”
Our most important task is to see the person behind the debt and to work out sustainable payment plans.Lietta Pennucci, Customer Operations Manager, Intrum UK.
How do you prepare to encounter these people, whose whole lives may have been turned upside-down?
“Everyone starting here receives introductory training. You learn how to listen to people in vulnerable situations and how to respond to them. Empathy and a capacity to see the way forward for each individual are crucial. In the initial contact with a new customer, you never know who you have at the other end of the line. Naturally, the training also includes learning about what laws and regulations apply, as well as what systems we use.”
Do you ever find yourself personally involved in the customer’s situation?
“Of course we do, even though we never meet them in person. At the end of the day, they are people. And we have been in contact with some customers for a long time. You think about the most vulnerable people in particular and hope that it all turns out well for them. At the same time, it is our job to handle these situations professionally.”
What gives you most pride in your work?
“Being able to help so many people. Many of those we encounter are desperate and can see no way out at first. Our ability to show them the way and help them rid themselves of debt makes me proud. It’s rewarding to see that it works. Also, in our focus groups, where we invite customers to participate in a dialogue and give us feedback, many have also express their gratitude. People feel that we make a difference for them.”
- According to our European Consumer Payment Report 2019, nearly half (45%) of European consumers state that their bills are increasing faster than their income. The report is based on an external survey conducted among 24,000 European consumers.
- Intrum’s call centre in the UK helps nearly 1,000 customers every day.
For the sixth consecutive year, our UK operations were awarded the gold standard in the independent customer experience assessment conducted by Investor in Customers (IIC).
Intrum is the first IIC customer ever to have achieved gold in its first assessment and has maintained the maximum rating for six consecutive years.
Read more about our journey and the steps we have taken to further consolidate our market-leading position in Europe in our Annual and Sustainability Report for 2019.