Debt Recovery Ecosystem in India, Impact of Phygital Debt Collection, and the Way Forward: Mobicule Technologies’ Siddharth Agarwal

In the past few years, India has observed a massive transformation across industries owing to digitisation, new communication channels, and stringent regulatory frameworks. For a long time, the financial services industry has turned to manual processes, tedious paperwork, and conventional methods of customer service. But with the onset of COVID-19, the scenario changed and most players demonstrated great adaptability and agility. The debt collections industry, especially, has been a quick adopter of technology and thus gained substantial momentum post the pandemic.

Pioneer and Leading Innovative software platform for debt collection and recovery, Mobicule Technologies’ Founder, Siddharth Agarwal throws light on how the debt collection scenario in India has changed, launch of industry first phygital debt collection platform mCollect and what to expect in the upcoming years!

  1. How has the digital debt collection industry in India evolved in the past few years?

The Indian debt collection industry has seen dramatic shifts in the past few years, more so after the pandemic. With changing customer preferences and their strong inclination towards all things digital, both lenders and debt collectors are left with little to no choice but to embrace technological applications. Unlike earlier times wherein debt collection agencies relied on text messages, calls, emails, and door-to-door visits for dropping reminders, emerging options like digital loan collection platforms are carrying out these tasks, without disturbing customer sentiments. This change in dependency from manual allocation and follow-up tasks to digital platforms is proving to assist lenders to save time, cost, resources, and reputation while improving customer experience and retention rates. For the players that are yet to leverage technology in debt collection management, there is no better time than now to make a switch and choose a digital-first approach.

  • How are AI-powered models contributing to debt collection performance?

From engaging customers and upselling products to facilitating loans and executing debt recovery, new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the way debt collection processes operate. AI-powered chatbots have emerged as considerably beneficial to collate customer data, resolve queries, and offer hyper-personalized experiences. Using AI, lenders and debt collectors are able to predict defaulters by analyzing their financial history and alter their recovery approach to maximize collection and minimize defaults. Most importantly, AI-based business models have entirely eliminated human intervention, thereby reducing investment in resources and averting human errors. Even now, these modern technologies continue to disrupt the loan collection space, propelling players like us to adopt a new approach to digital loan collection.   

  • How did Mobicule Technologies gain a competitive edge over others in the debt collection space in India?

We were one of the early entrants in the debt collection markets to be underpinned by the country’s leading lenders. At a time when most players ventured into the urban markets, we managed to set a strong foothold in the rural markets as well. By adopting a multilingual communication channel approach and developing a user-friendly platform to reach all sections of society, we have been able to cater to a larger customer base with diverse requirements ranging from digital cash collection to reporting frauds and defaults. This has helped us lead financial inclusivity, communicate with customers in the language of their preference, recover payments, and provide customer satisfaction, all whilst having an advantage over others.   

  • Companies engaged in digital debt collection services are under increased scrutiny from regulators. What are the efforts that Mobicule takes to stay compliant?

Traditionally, debt collection agencies often resorted to aggressive recovery tactics to combat delinquencies, leading to unpleasant customer experience and poor reputation for collectors. To eliminate these setbacks and create a healthy ecosystem for everyone involved, regulators like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have established stringent policy frameworks and regulatory guidelines that encourage players to be more empathetic and methodical with their communication and recovery approach. At Mobicule, we keep ourselves updated with these regulatory guidelines and actively engage in customer interaction to identify existing and potential grievances. We also continually re-equip our platform with fraud control mechanisms and compliance tools. These are some of the measures we take to ensure compliance with new regulations.

5. Tell us about your recently launched phygital debt collection platform, mCollect, innovative and industry first solution?

Often, banks and NBFCs assign cases to digital collections, and unresolved cases are then transferred to call centres for resolution. Often, both channels are used simultaneously or under utilised, resulting in inefficiency and increased costs. Mobicule has introduced an integrated debt resolution service that seamlessly combines a multi-lingual / multi-city 100 plus seater call centre operations with digital outreach, creating a true omni-channel solution that leverages technology, data science, strategy, and a physical call centre. Our goal is to optimise the synergy between digital and human call centre capabilities, utilising real-time customer interactions and behaviour on the platform.

6. Could you elaborate on the features of Mobicule’s debt collection platform?

Mobicule’s debt collection platform is designed to address all stages of delinquency, including pre, early, mid, and late stages. The platform is versatile and we have designed it to especially cater and manage to recovery cycles of settlement, asset repossession, and legal workflow management. Notably, the platform stands out by offering an integrated approach with legal services. Mobicule has incorporated lawyers with expertise in specific areas and locations to support the legal process, thus providing a comprehensive solution for financial institutions.

7. How does Mobicule’s Phygital Debt Resolution Service aim to redefine debt collection?

Mobicule’s Phygital Debt Resolution Service aims to redefine debt collection and recovery by combining technology with personalized customer engagement. The service leverages a variety of communication channels such as SMS, Email, WhatsApp, IVR, Voice Bot, Outbound, and Inbound call centre services. The goal is to optimise the use of real-time customer interactions and behavior on the platform, ultimately improving recovery rates and reducing operational costs for financial institutions.

8. Where do you see Mobicule in the near future and what is your growth strategy?

We envision ourselves to be a leading player in this space and a one-stop shop for debt collection, debt management, and debt recovery. We have been following a three-pronged strategy on our growth journey. While some of the established players have already adopted digital technologies for debt collection, our goal is to expand and reinforce the existing clientele. If we look at the market scenario, it presents great opportunities within the regional banks, NBFCs, and MFI ecosystem. They are all on the cusp of embracing this technology. We aim to bring modular solutions that would be easy to adopt and integrate within the system. On the global front, we have identified key strategic markets where we can launch our platform and widen our service horizon. The idea is to continue reimagining our offering in accordance with industry trends and market requirements in order to empower lenders to get future-ready!

Background on Siddharth Agarwal, the Founder and Managing Director of Mobicule Technologies, and Siddharth Agarwal’s role in shaping Mobicule’s growth and direction?

Siddharth Agarwal is a Computer Engineering graduate from a premier institute of Mumbai University. Following his experience with organizations like Zycus and Mindcraft, Siddharth founded Mobicule in 2008. His vision was to help organizations harness the power of mobility and wireless technology, providing a competitive edge by solving business problems. Passionate about technology and possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, Siddharth has steered Mobicule to become a preferred mobility partner for India’s blue-chip organization.

As the Founder and Managing Director of Mobicule, Siddharth Agarwal has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s growth and direction. After pioneering products focused on mobile field force and deploying large-scale implementations, Siddharth is currently leading Mobicule into the next phase of hyper-growth. His focus is on developing niche disruptive products to solve complex business problems. With over two decades of experience in technology and business domains, Siddharth strives to continuously enhance the value for the entire Mobicule ecosystem and its stakeholders.

Siddharth Agarwal has successfully positioned Mobicule as a pioneer in Debt Collection, KPI and gamification, and Digital KYC. Leveraging his two decades of experience, he has guided Mobicule to establish itself as a preferred mobility partner with products spanning eight industry verticals. Siddharth’s focus on disruptive products has contributed to Mobicule’s niche market position, particularly in solving complex business problems in the domains of Debt Collection, KPI & Gamification, and Digital KYC.

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