Sometime ago we learned that the banks have specialist recovery divisions for clients who appear to be in trouble. Amongst them was RBS, who have been accused of causing their clients to collapse by commissioning property valuations that came in too low support the borrowing. The recovery division claimed the assets and sold them off above the valuation through the bank’s own property business.

I’ve no doubt someone has stepped over the line, but I do wonder what they were thinking about when they created their own property business. If the objective of the RBS property arm is to make money (or as RBS would have it, rather coyly, minimise losses) then it’s not such a big step to the point where they see a customer struggling and think “We could make that project work”

My neighbour is a keen golfer, and these days uses a small electric buggy as he is getting on a bit. He’s been having some trouble with it running out of battery, and the manufacturers finally realised one of the brakes was out of alignment. The buggy has been wasting energy, fighting itself.

One of my clients had a problem with their collections; very long days outstanding, and it was not getting any better. When we drilled into it, the credit control team were doing their best but sometimes had to go back to the customer service team for more information.

The customer service team’s incentives were all around speed of customer response and satisfaction and had nothing to do with credit control, so of course the requests for help from the credit controllers were very low priority.
We made the credit control team a “customer” for the objectives of the customer service team; many of the problems were cleared up and the debtor days were greatly reduced.

How well aligned are the pieces of your business? How much energy do they waste in friction with each other?

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