Echo Logo

Protest debt on the rise in the UK

coins-02

Consumers in the UK are increasingly standing up to poor performing service providers by withholding payments that are due, according to Echo's latest research report...

Our recent survey of 1,500 UK households revealed that 48% of respondents had withheld or defaulted on payments in the past as a result of poor service or billing issues.  Almost 1 in 3 people hadn't paid because the bill wasn't right or was higher than expected, 14% didn't pay because the bill was too difficult to understand or there was a mix up with it and 6% withheld payment because they felt they had received poor service.

This compared to just 28% of respondents who said that their late or non payment was as a result of not having the means to pay.  Interestingly, our research also revealed that higher income households tend to be less tolerant of poor service. 1 in 10 of those earning more than £40,000 per year had withheld payment for this reason compared to just 1% of those earning less than £10,000 per annum.

The research findings highlight the importance of effective billing processes and high customer service standards in order to mitigate avoidable customer debt.  Collecting outstanding payments is a clear priority for many organisations, and accurate billing and good customer service can help reduce late payments and the number of customers who fall into debt.

"There are many reasons why customers might not pay a bill, and despite lack of income being the most obvious, our research clearly indicates that debt cannot be attributed solely to financial circumstances. Today, consumers are more aware of their rights and have the freedom to exercise them - they may be less tolerant of poor customer service or innacurate billing or think that failing to pay won't always lead to debt collection procedures, for example."

Monica Mackintosh, customer services director, Echo Managed Services

The importance of understanding individual customers and their reasons for missing payments cannot be underestimated. A true understanding can mitigate debt before it becomes an issue or help resolve it as quickly as possible.  Ensuring bills are clear and accurate, regular pre-bill customer engagement and early intervention strategies such as payment reminders are essential.

Internal and external data sources can be a strong indicator of customer behaviour and propensity to pay, but data alone cannot provide all the answers.  It is best used to support personable and empathetic customer service to ensure that each customer receives a helpful and positive experience.

The research also confirmed that most customers feel guilty about missing payments (59%).  However, a minority think that regular debt is acceptable (3%), that debt is acceptable if they have a more pressing need such as paying for a holiday (4%) and that late payment is not an issue and it causes no harm (6%).


Suggested further reading:

Share this article

More in the Knowledge Centre

More News

News

Aptumo adds four new hires to bolster its product team

Billing software business continues to expand as utility sector interest grows

READ
News

Quarter of water customers let down by poor response to billing problems

More than 7 million households have had a negative water billing experience...

READ
News

West Midlands community hub crowned Community Initiative of the Year

South Staffs Water and its partner, Echo Managed Services, have claimed the coveted ‘Community Initiative of the Year’ award at...

READ
News

Echo holds fundraising day to raise money for Acorns Children’s Hospice

Utility specialist raises £900 for Walsall children’s hospice

READ

More on Debt Recovery & Revenue Management

News

Calls for a crack down on dangerous tamper tutorials

Social media companies have a duty to crack down on the numerous dangerous energy meter tamper tutorials present on their...

READ
Blog

Spotting the signs of Energy Theft

Lloyd Birkhead discusses the growing danger of Energy Theft, the signs of meter tampering and how to prevent this.

20 November 2018 by Lloyd Birkhead

READ
Case Study

Revenue protection: supporting the fight against energy theft

How Echo's wholly owned field services agency, Grosvenor Services Group, supports one of the UK's big six energy providers in...

READ
Research & Resources

Energy Theft: A Focus on Consumer Awareness & Attitudes

When it comes to energy theft, understanding and acting on public perceptions could better inform strategies to build consumer awareness...

READ

Choose how you want to get in touch with us

Pick up the phone and call us...

0845 12 12 122

CALL

...or simply email us for a quick response.