We sat down with Lewis Romano, the Founder of Credit Clear, to talk about B2B2C, doing things differently, and thriving in the work from home environment.
Hello, Lewis. What led to your becoming the founder of Credit Clear?
Credit Clear was born out of the frustration brought on by traditional debt communications. In 2015, I realised that this was happening across early-stage debts or two days past due, to aged debt referred to collection agencies, to debt purchasers. This is frustrating for organisations and consumers alike. Outbound phone calls, mostly from private numbers (that usually don’t go answered) are the default go-to for debt collection. This results in less than 10% of calls answered, and a far lower percentage ending in payment. We decided that process was just not good enough. From that, Credit Clear was born.
FinTech can be complex for outsiders to fully grasp. Explain for the layperson what it is Credit Clear does, and for whom it is for?
Credit Clear facilitates ‘white labelled’ digital communications and payment options through our mobile app. We send digital, actionable communications for our clients, who are large players in the utilities, telco, insurance, BNPL and financial service industries. Our ‘digital first’ approach to receivables makes for dramatic increases in engagement and payments, while most importantly delivering a far superior customer experience for the end-user/debtor. To put this into context, three of the big four banks report NPS scores less than zero and with CBA an NPS score of +8.
FinTech is a competitive marketplace. How do you know how to strike the right marketing notes to cut through?
Credit Clear is B2B2C, so our unique marketing approach is driven by our relationships with the client. The process of making collections calls and letters – sometimes quite threatening ones – is still common.
At Credit Clear, we are educating collections and operations teams in corporate and government Australia to do things differently; by taking a customer-first, digital approach, they’ll improve the user experience, and achieve better outcomes. We send targeted messages to our existing and potential clients, and we place a strong focus on high-quality service, which is really the final driver in establishing that long-term relationship with our clients. Ultimately, we find the best way to promote Credit Clear, like most things, is through word of mouth: happy customers are our best form of advertising!
Take us through a day in your life. What does a typical look like?
For me, there is no such thing as a typical day or even week. Since we listed on the ASX in October 2020 my role has been across client relationship management, business development, digital marketing, corporate affairs, and investor relations, as well as investor presentations. That means quite a lot of planes, trains and automobiles, coupled with working from home several days a week – which gives me more time to spend with my newborn son.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Our team works hard and achieves some significant outcomes, and they deserve the recognition. I think that’s an important attribute to aid high-performance teams and culture. I take responsibility for what goes wrong and share the credit when things go right. Something a mentor drilled into me was, ‘Surround yourself with people smarter than you’.
At Credit Clear, I believe we’ve done exactly that.
What are the short- and long-term goals for the company?
Growth in customers – and therefore revenue – is the main goal. To achieve this, we’re developing our technology roadmap so we maintain our advantage. In the longer term, we’ve begun exploring various international markets to enter. Global expansion is on the horizon for us because our platform and business model is truly transportable.
What kind of impact has COVID-19 had on the bottom line or the company’s strategy?
During COVID-19, Credit Clear signed up over 70 new clients with 100% retention. Over the past year we’ve worked with our clients to introduce new applications to take advantage of emerging trends, such as implementing QR codes on clients’ traditional paper bills for easy payment. This takes end users to Credit Clear’s easy and intuitive payment portal – something we didn’t see pre-COVID.
What do you see as the next big move for Credit Clear?
We’re investing heavily in our technology. As part of our existing strategy, we’re expanding our reach by introducing new communication methods. Through WhatsApp, we give our customers more ways to pay beyond just credit card and bank transfers, including ApplePay and other payment channels. We’re building towards the release of our Strategy Manager module, which we think is a game-changer. Stay tuned!
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