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Our news and views relating to Data Analytics, Big Data, Machine Learning, and the world of Credit.

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Our 2018 Customer Acquisition And Engagement Blog Roundup

December 19, 2018 at 8:50 AM

Our final roundup this year covers two of our main topics: customer acquisition and customer engagement. We’ve not covered these topics in depth this year, and so decided to combine these two to provide a roundup of the best of both.

One of the most popular blogs in both categories is our Agent X video. If you've not yet seen it – spend the minute to get a better understanding of one of our great products! Another favourite blog is the FAQ on MarketWise: another of our new, innovative products. The remaining three most popular blogs are great blogs that give insights on how to improve acquisitions and retentions. We hope you not only gain valuable and actionable insights from these blogs but that they give you a better understanding of how our products have been created to serve your needs.

5 Best Customer and Marketing Analytics Blogs

Meet Agent X – Your Call Centre Virtual Assistant

Meet Vusi, a call centre agent, with call centre agent struggles. He needs to keep his customers engaged while he shifts between various systems to find the information he needs to meet his manager’s expectations of consistent, successful call outcomes. And he never really knows how he is performing against his targets…

With Principa’s Agent X call centre virtual assistant, those struggles are a thing of the past.

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How Machine Learning Can Improve Direct Marketing Results

With direct marketing, you likely have a benchmark success rate from previous similar campaigns that you base your goals on, and you try to optimise it through various strategies, whether by trying to  offer the best deals or by using behavioural tactics.

One of the most successful ways to optimise your direct marketing results is with machine learning. Implementing a machine learning approach in your direct marketing efforts is sure to result in improved conversion rates. In this blog, we discuss using machine learning for direct marketing in finer detail.

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4 Lessons From Great Customer Retention Strategies On Reducing Churn

As the pressure of intensifying competition mounts every day, companies must look to boost customer loyalty, considering that it costs five times as much to onboard a customer than it is to retain one. And with consumer influence now stronger than ever, businesses that fail to respond to their customers’ needs will feel the impact on their sales figures. A recent study by Bain & Company revealed a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in the value of a company, and a 5% increase in customer retention rates increases profits by between 25 and 95%.

Central to this is the pervasiveness of the social, mobile, analytics and cloud era that is redefining traditional retail models that place the consumer at centre-stage.

It seems that the key to achieving a competitive edge in the modern age is to identify opportunities that enable the shift toward customer-focused and data-driven business models. 

In this blog post, we look at some great examples of customer retention strategies in action and how you can apply these same strategies in your business every day.

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Everything You Need To Know About MarketWise: Your FAQs Answered

MarketWise is an audience of online users within South Africa which can be segmented and arranged according to a brand or advertisers target market. Online ads can then be served to this audience as they browse the internet.

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How Scorecards Can Be Used To Determine Customer Loyalty

The right customers are essential for every business. Marketing to and serving customers who are not profitable removes your focus from your best customers and ensuring they remain loyal to your company. Scorecards can help you identify and focus on your ideal customers by ranking your customers by the common criteria historically shown to be shared by your best customers.

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The 7 types of credit risk in SME lending

  It is common knowledge in the industry that the credit risk assessment of a consumer applying for credit is far less complex than that of a business that is applying for credit. Why is this the case? Simply put, consumers are usually very similar in their requirements and risks (homogenous) whilst businesses have far more varying risk elements (heterogenous). In this blog we will look at all the different risk elements within a business (here SME) credit application. These are: Risk of proprietors Risk of business Reason for loan Financial ratios Size of loan Risk industry Risk of region Before we delve into this list, it is worth noting that all of these factors need to be deployable as assessment tools within your originations system so it is key that you ensure your system can manage them. If you are on the look out for a loans origination system, then look no further than Principa’s AppSmart. If you are looking for a decision engine to manage your scorecards, policy rules and terms of business then take a look at our DecisionSmart business rules engine. AppSmart and DecisionSmart are part of Principa’s FinSmart Universe allowing for effective credit management across the customer life-cycle.   The different risk elements within a business credit application 1) Risk of proprietors For smaller organisations the risk of the business is inextricably linked to the financial well-being of the proprietors. How small is small? The rule of thumb is companies with up to two to three proprietors should have their proprietors assessed for risk too. This fits in with the SME segment. What data should be looked at? Generally in countries with mature credit bureaux, credit data is looked at including the score (there is normally a score cut-off) and then negative information such as the existence of judgements or defaults; these are typically used within policy rules. Those businesses with proprietors with excessive numbers of “negatives” may be disqualified from the loan application. Some credit bureaux offer a score of an individual based on the performance of all the businesses with which they are associated. This can also be useful in the credit risk assessment process. Another innovation being adopted internationally is the use of psychometrics in credit evaluation of the proprietors. To find out more about adopting credit scoring, read our blog on how to adopt credit scoring.   2) Risk of business The risk of the business should be managed through both scores and policy rules. Lenders will look at information such as the age of company, the experience of directors and the size of company etc. within a score. Alternatively, many lenders utilise the business score offered by credit bureaux. These scores are typically not as strong as consumer scores as the underlying data is limited and sometimes problematic. For example, large successful organisations may have judgements registered against their name which, unlike for consumers, is not necessarily a direct indication of the inability to service debt.   3) Reason for loan The reason for a loan is used more widely in business lending as opposed to unsecured consumer lending. Venture capital, working capital, invoice discounting and bridging finance are just some of many types of loan/facilities available and lenders need to equip themselves with the ability to manage each of these customer types whether it is within originations or collections. Prudent lenders venturing into the SME space for the first time often focus on one or two of these loan types and then expand later – as the operational implication for each type of loan is complex.   4) Financial ratios Financial ratios are core to commercial credit risk assessment. The main challenge here is to ensure that reliable financials are available from the customer. Small businesses may not be audited and thus the financials may be less trustworthy. Financial ratios can be divided into four categories: Profitability Leverage Coverage Liquidity Profitability can be further divided into margin ratios and return ratios. Lenders are frequently interested in gross profit margins; this is normally explicit on the income statement. The EBIDTA margin and operating profit margins are also used as well as return ratios such as return on assets, return on equity and risk-adjusted-returns. Leverage ratios are useful to lenders as they reflect the portion of the business that is financed by debt. Lower leverage ratios indicate stability. Leverage ratios assessed often incorporate debt-to-asset, debt-to-equity and asset-to-equity. Coverage ratios indicate the coverage that income or assets provide for the servicing of debt or interest expenses. The higher the coverage ratio the better it is for the lender. Coverage ratios are worked out considering the loan/facility that is being applied for. Finally, liquidity ratios indicate the ability for a company to convert its assets into cash. There are a variety of ratios used here. The current ratio is simply the ratio of assets to liabilities. The quick ratio is the ability for the business to pay its current debts off with readily available assets. The higher the liquidity ratios the better. Ratios are used both within credit scorecards as well as within policy rules. You can read more about these ratios here.   5) Size of loan When assessing credit risk for a consumer, the risk of the consumer does not normally change with the change of loan amount or facility (subject to the consumer passing affordability criteria). With business loans, loan amounts can range quite dramatically, and the risk of the applicant is normally tied to the loan amount requested. The loan/facility amount will of course change the ratios (mentioned in the last section) which could affect a positive/negative outcome. The outcome of the loan application is usually directly linked to a loan amount and any marked change to this loan amount would change the risk profile of the application.   6) Risk of industry The risk of an industry in which the SME operates can have a strong deterministic relationship with the entity being able to service the debt. Some lenders use this and those who do not normally identify this as a missing element in their risk assessment process. The identification of industry is always important. If you are in manufacturing, but your clients are the mines, then you are perhaps better identified as operating in mining as opposed to manufacturing. Most lenders who assess industry, will periodically rule out certain industries and perhaps also incorporate industry within their scorecard. Others take a more scientific approach. In the graph below the performance of an industry is tracked for two years and then projected over the next 6 months; this is then compared to the country’s GDP. As the industry appears to track above the projected GDP, a positive outlook is given to this applicant and this may affect them favourably in the credit application.                   7) Risk of Region   The last area of assessment is risk of region. Of the seven, this one is used the least. Here businesses,  either on book or on the bureau, are assessed against their geo-code. Each geo-code is clustered, and the projected outlook is given as positive, static or negative. As with industry this can be used within the assessment process as a policy rule or within a scorecard.   Bringing the seven risk categories together in a risk assessment These seven risk assessment categories are all important in the risk assessment process. How you bring it all together is critical. If you would like to discuss your SME evaluation challenges or find out more about what we offer in credit management software (like AppSmart and DecisionSmart), get in touch with us here.

Collections Resilience post COVID-19 - part 2

Principa Decisions (Pty) L

Collections Resilience post COVID-19

Principa Decisions (Pty) L