What are the Criteria are Used in the Debt Review Awards?
- Credit Providers are reviewed by Debt Counsellors
- Debt Counsellors are reviewed by Credit Providers
- PDAs are reviewed by both Debt Counsellors and Credit Providers.
Industry timelines, service standards and staff performance form the core of the criteria considered.
Each year during the annual Debt Review Awards Peer Review process, Debt Counsellors are asked to rate the recent performance of credit providers and visa versa. The results are compiled electronically, then audited and announced on the day of the Debt Review Awards Gala. This year the Debt Review Awards Gala has moved to Septemeber 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and will be hosted online (kinda like a TV show).
Some people wonder what criteria are considered by those doing reviews of their peers. This really goes to the heart of what makes a good Debt Counsellor, PDA or credit provider?
It is important to acknowledge that each side of the industry may have a slightly different view of what makes someone really good at their job. Even within organisations there may be slightly different viewpoints. For example, a debt review department at a bank may be happy that they have been able to help 8000 clients this month to find a good repayment plan through debt review however the big bosses at the firm may have wanted to see higher repayment figures from these consumers, the different product houses (eg. homeloans, credit cards etc) may have felt snubbed that the debt review department took away their matter and took over handling collections. This is just the way of things in large organisations where egos and agendas as well as targets are at play.
A lone Debt Counsellor may frown upon a group of Debt Counsellors working together, while the large group of Debt Counsellors may feel sorry for the small number of clients that the lone Debt COunsellor is able to help.
There will always be slightly different opinions. Some Debt Counsellors and credit providers are eager to follow the guidelines issued by the NCR while others are not. This will also cause them to have different views on how their own colleagues are doing.
Debt Counsellors do not review their fellow Debt Counsellors
This is why Debt Counsellors do not review their fellow Debt Counsellors. Rather they are asked to review the performance of credit providers. The same is true for credit providers who might otherwise just rate their fellow credit providers poorly out of spite or misguided loyalty. This is why credit providers are rather asked to review a portion of the Debt Counselling community (fortunately there are many credit providers to help cover lots of Debt Counsellors) and visa versa.
The Debt Review Awards website www.debtreviewawards.co.za features brief descriptions of the criteria that are used (particularly the round 3 reviews which are the most in-depth).
Debt Counsellors are evaluated on the following criteria:
Collection ratios, Client retention, Proposal quality, Query resolution, Communication and staff knowledge, Adherence to timelines, Consumer education, Balancing the needs & rights of the consumer and credit provider, Court & NCT Activity etc.
Credit providers, particularly the banks, track many of these stats about the Debt Counsellors they deal with regularly. They also get to know how the Debt Counsellors interact with their shared clients during correspondence, court appearances and while talking to them on the phone each day.
When doing the peer reviews many of the managers gather key staff members who can give stats and input and go through the names they are given. The key here is that they compare their opinions with the actual facts as presented by the stats. Otherwise, they may accidentally just rate companies they like or deal with more often higher. Fortunately, by getting a few on the team to work on the peer review and give input it cuts down on unintentional bias. As does using statistic driven ratings.
CPs are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Adherence to industry timelines, Cancellation of Debit Orders, Client treatment, Query resolution, documentation provision, CoB timelines, Counter Proposal frequency and necessity, frivolous legal activity, enactment of court orders, Staff training, Communication and industry support etc.
Debt Counsellors are asked to rate Credit Providers in much the same way. Here however you may find that because the majority of Debt Counsellors run smaller operations they may not have a team to call in and go through the stats. They may not even have stats if they are a smaller operation and may only have recent experiences to draw from when doing the evaluations. By asking many Debt Counsellors to participate however any biased response by one Debt Counsellor is soon aggregated out among the crowd. Debt Counsellors too are asked to evaluate the credit providers only on recent activity when they receive the peer reviews. By stringing these out over the year this helps balance responses and the results.
PDAs are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Collection and Payment capacity and accuracy, Consumer/CP/DC support, Industry support, Query resolution, industry engagement and participation, promotion of DC businesses and the debt review industry, usability of software, adaptability of software, payment distribution.
Payment Distribution Agents find themselves servicing (1) consumers (their clients), (2) the Debt Counsellors (their software clients) and (3) credit providers (who are sitting waiting for money). This is why both Debt Counsellors and Credit providers are asked to review PDAs. The results of the two sets of peer reviews are not mixed but are presented separately since credit providers are looking for something quite different from Debt Counsellors when it comes to PDAs.
‘both Debt Counsellors and Credit providers are asked to review PDAs’
Also since not every Debt Counsellor is currently using all 4 NCR registered PDAs (all Debt Counsellors have to be paid fees from consumers via a PDA) and all the different software packages Debt Counsellors only rate the performance of the PDAs they are currently using. The results are calculated percentage based and so it is not a factor if one PDA or one Software package has more users than another.
In the next 2 weeks, there will be 3 different online Criteria Chats held with industry role players and experts who will offer some insight into what makes someone a “good” example in the industry. After all this is one of the points of holding the Peer Review and resultant Awards: to get people talking and considering how they can improve their own practice or service.
The industry experts who will participate will broadly discuss the criteria used in the peer reviews and also offer some of their views based on years in the industry. Be sure to tune in and enjoy these discussions while thinking about how you run your own operation.
For those who would like to enjoy watching the Criteria Chats, they will be able to do so here on www.debtfreedigi.co.za as well as on www.debtreviewawards.co.za and even on Youtube.
Visit the site regularly and be sure to read more about the Criteria Chats in this month’s issue of Debtfree Magazine which focuses on the Awards process.
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