Typically, payment collections follow an impersonal process, often feared for its inflexibility. Here’s how we do it differently.
For most people, falling behind on a payment is stressful. For students, it’s a big distraction from studying, which they’re often juggling with work and other commitments.
What happens next – from receiving a notification to being unable to cover make-up payments – often piles shame on top of stress. No wonder it all becomes too much sometimes, leading to students abandoning their courses, leaving them and their education providers worse off.
It doesn’t have to be this way. At ZeeFi, our collections process goes against the grain of debt collections. We’ve developed a people-first process that takes the stress off students and better serves our education provider partners.
Learnt from experience
With many years’ experience in the payments industry, our General Manager of Financial Services Ricky Forster knew a debt collection approach wasn’t in the best interests of education providers simply because it wasn’t in the best interests of students.
“We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach,” Ricky said. “We take a working together approach, where we build trust with students and encourage them to let us know if they’re having payment difficulty so we can work out a personal plan together that is unique to their situation.”
Our Collections Manager Rebecca Roberts explains it as taking a deep dive into hardship and vulnerability.
“We work with the student to understand why they are having difficulty and if it will impact them long term,” Rebecca said. “Then we can support them by looking at their whole situation and providing the best option for them whether it be a payment plan that is short or long term, a loan extension or a payment pause.”
It’s an approach that requires experience that our team – having worked together for more than 10 years – brings. Supported by smart automation, they’re freed up to focus on each student individually so they can put realistic plans in place.
“We don’t finish a phone call with a payment plan unless it’s a realistic one because otherwise we’ve wasted their time and ours.”
Ricky Forster, ZeeFi
Educating students out of debt
Traditionally, payment collectors focus only on the debt owed to them. But as education finance specialists, our focus is on educating students out of debt.
Guided by our Customer Vulnerability Framework, we encourage students to reach out to other debtors, coach them on how to approach them and how to prioritise payments so they can get back on their feet, financially. Our team is specially trained in this so they can educate students to understand what happens when they default, how it affects their overall situation and how they can get out of it.
“For us, it’s a better strategy that actually reduces the number of people we need to follow up each month,” Ricky said.
We also provide student information packs to help educate students about finance, including on the common issue of credit scores because many students aren’t sure what impacts these scores or how to improve them.
“ZeeFi took the time to speak to me, understand my situation, and offered a convenient payment plan that I was comfortable with. The entire process was quick and easy, so I could get on with focusing on my studies.”
What’s good for students is good for education providers
Our people-first approach pays off in many ways, starting with happy students.
“We hear from students all the time,” Rebecca said. “Once we’ve spoken to a student who is behind in payments, they see that we care. They often reply to our text confirmations saying ‘thanks for your support’ or ‘thanks for listening’.”
A positive experience means a student is more confident to call us if they experience difficulty again, which is good because the longer someone is in arrears, the harder it is to get out. A good experience with us also reflects well on your brand, as the education provider that the student associates payments with.
Ultimately, a positive and personal approach to collections pays off literally with higher payment rates for our education provider partners for whom we manage everything about student payments.
With low rates of delinquency and loss – the finance industry’s two main metrics – our education partners enjoy higher student retention rates. This flows through to more reliable cashflow, providing your education business with more certainty for the future. All without ever having to chase a student payment.
“The amount of effort the ZeeFi team put into ensuring everyone has a fair chance for approval, coupled with the easy transfer to Payment Assist should a student require it, has made the enrolment process for our courses incredibly easy and increased our month-to-month enrolments massively.”
Corey Bosecke, Learning People
Get in touch
We’ve worked hard to build our experienced team and the products that make up ZeeFi, and we’d love to share them with you.
If you’d like to join the education providers who are already using our education finance solutions to power their futures, please get in touch. We’re here to chat on 1800 324 909 or support@ZeeFi.io