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The Very Group — Case Study

Case Study07/01/2021

Introduction

Enabling The Very Group to get closer to customers, improve decisioning and act quickly.

Background

The Very Group is the UK’s largest digital retailer and financial provider — with annual sales of £2 billion and more than 1.9 million website visits every day.

With its own brands that include Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and LittlewoodsIreland.ie, the company sells more than 1,900 famous brands, has 4 million customers and delivers 49 million products every year.

The challenge

Always striving to deliver superior customer service, The Very Group wanted to enhance its responsible lending practices. Its aim was to ultimately improve customer outcomes, reduce revenue losses and minimise the number of customers falling into difficulty.

It's Three Core Focus Areas Were To:

  • Enhance understanding of customers’ behaviour and changing circumstances within its brands, and across a wider financial context
  • Continue to improve customer outcomes
  • Prevent customers falling into bad debt

The Very Group approached TransUnion to help achieve its goal.

TransUnion’s approach

At TransUnion, we understand every client has unique challenges. We work collaboratively at every stage to create tailored applications of our solutions — ensuring the best possible outcomes to address these challenges.

The Approach We Took With The Very Group:

  1. To gain an in-depth view of The Very Group’s customers we ran the CallMonitor solution retrospectively over a 12-month* period. This provided a broader understanding of what behaviours customers exhibited during the time frame — highlighting patterns that could be used to predict how they would act in the future.

  2. Deployment of Cure Score — an additional score — enables easier identification of customers in arrears who were capable of rehabilitation.

CallMonitor: Why and how it works

Make smarter, more responsible lending decisions. CallMonitor delivers daily alerts to provide up-to-the-minute information on your customer’s ability to pay.

Choose the right action for your customers. Cure and delinquency scores tell you whether an account will be in a better or worse position in three months’ time.

Act sooner. CallMonitor provides alerts up to six weeks in advance of traditional bureau calls.

Findings: CallMonitor retrospective analysis

  1. Almost 50% of all The Very Group’s customers had an associated alert — revealing engagement in significant credit activity, and/or a change in circumstances over the 12-month period.

    This insight gave The Very Group a deeper understanding of its customers’ behaviours which could be used in its customer management strategies — from credit limit reductions and account freezes to next best action contact approaches.

  2. Customers triggering severe alerts (such as insolvency) were linked to higher bad rates.

    Findings suggested that customers with such alerts need quick action to prevent them falling into further financial difficulty.

  3. Interestingly, some customers who were flagged as increasing the amount of credit they were using (increasing credit utilisation) — and shifting their credit balances around between providers (balance shifting) — were five times more likely to fall into arrears than the rest of the customer base.

    By reducing customer lending limits when these behaviours are present, The Very Group would reduce the risk of customers borrowing above their means — allowing them to manage their current financial commitments without taking out further credit and adding to the problem

Findings: Predelinquency Scoring analysis

Early detection and real-time action prevent customers falling deeper into debt and generates profit.

CallMonitor’s Predelinquency Score flags customers who are showing credit behaviours likely to result in default in the near future.

  1. The score is typically used across high volume, mild alerts to identify the best signals in the data. When used against The Very Group’s portfolio, the Delinquency Score was highly discriminating and identified low-volume segments with higher bad rates.

  2. Where customers displayed a high increase in their predelinquency score, a significant number of customers went on to show a pattern of taking out further credit in the next couple of months — suggesting that credit was taken when the customer was already starting to show signs of financial difficulty.

By using the Predelinquency Score alone as part of an exposure management strategy, The Very Group could prevent customers getting into further financial problems (by protecting customers from unaffordable debt) and the business from financial loss.

Findings: Cure Score and collections strategies

CallMonitor Alerts and Cure Score can improve your collections performance and help you focus on customers who will get back on track. Cure Score gives collections and recovery teams the insights they need to help prioritise their efforts for the best returns.

  • We found several positive alerts linked to higher cure rates on The Very Group collections and recovery base. Customers who were opening new accounts with other providers (and displayed balance changes in their credit file) were 1 ½ times more likely to get back on track than other customers.

  • The Cure score deployed for The Very Group using positive triggers, provided highly predictive of The Very Group’s account curing. The top 20% of customers had a cure rate of over 50%, with the top 10% curing over 70%.

  • Combining the Cure Score with their collections process, The Very Group could segment their debt book in a highly efficient and strategic way — optimising internal resources and their liquidation rates.

Outcome

Analysis of the proof of concept provided The Very Group with the confidence to implement CallMonitor across its entire customer base. With deeper insight into customer behaviour, The Very Group was able to take a proactive approach to customer management, improving their experience, and advancing decisioning to help prevent bad debt.

“Working in partnership with TransUnion helped us strengthen existing management strategies for the 50% of customers who have experienced a change in their credit profile over the 12-month period. Since implementing CallMonitor into a live environment, the product has been performing as the retro analysis predicted and is set to generate a good return on investment.”

Mark Harrison-North, The Very Group, Director of Credit Risk.

“As a customer centric business, that puts innovation at the heart of everything it does, we are proud to have worked with The Very Group. We have deployed a unique solution that enables it to better understand its customers, protect them from debt and enhance their journey.”

Joe Bolser, Head of Product, TransUnion



Final thoughts

  • CallMonitor is an alerts-based service that enables brands to get closer to their customers
  • In-built scoring makes behavioural patterns easy to identify and combine with contact strategies
  • Taking proactive action provides better customer and business outcomes
  • TransUnion’s team of expert analysts work with individual businesses to determine what signals and actions would be of the greatest benefit — then help them to implement a strategy that delivers results

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*12-month period October 2017-2018