There is no doubt asset finance is playing a key role in the post-Covid economic recovery, powering investment, and providing several – often essential – industries with the equipment needed to support their growth.  

In our latest whitepaper “Global Crisis: Local Solutions,” we mention the two elements that underpin this recovery: technology (concretely, advances in digitisation and automation) and a human approach to customer service. While we can’t deny the seemingly contradictive nature of this dual approach, it is in fact this balance that will allow asset finance to recover and grow sustainably.  

Human VS Machine? 

Agile lessors have always understood that a mixture of professional customer service and tech investment is key to a more data-driven, risk-managed, and sustainable recovery journey. The past 18 months have highlighted shortfalls in both areas for many companies, but those who grasped this opportunity to address them have progressed more in a few months than in years pre-Covid. 

Asset finance is a people-business: customer service and the development of close relationships (not just with end-users but also with vendors and other stakeholders) are at the heart of business  longevity and resilience.  

On the other hand, investment in automation and effective utilisation of big data will not only speed up response times and reduce administration costs, but also provide granular insights that support informed business decisions. For instance, our clients can track data such as collected fees, yield and market penetration: this in turns makes it possible to analyse the performance of their insurance product, and ultimately, make optimal investment decisions for their financed equipment finance based on these results.  

Same customers, new needs 

One of the most notable effects of the pandemic on the asset finance industry was the huge increase in digitalisation initiatives, motivated by the need to keep up with the unprecedented volumes of customer enquiries and keep contact with newly home-based staff. This “Covid momentum” was also used to invest in enhancing communication systems and adopting cloud tech, allowing easier access to influential data. 

Another notable change was the introduction of e-signatures which allowed leasing companies to provide more – and sometimes fully – digitalised journeys. Not only that, but the reduced paperwork was one of the many ways the pandemic pushed the industry towards improved sustainability. 

Finally, the ability to access insights derived from complex data aggregated in real time (from reports to bank statements) will be an invaluable tool in delivering better service and supporting decision-making and risk management. 

A human approach to digitisation 

An end-user focus will be critical to the success of these digitisation strategies. The added value of a user-friendly online journey and easier access to customer support will not be taken for granted by clients.  

In a way, digitalisation makes it easier and quicker for customers to interact with asset finance providers and in return, this drives greater levels of insight on potential clients that enable funders to serve new markets while mitigating risks. Closeness to customers has never been so important. 

You can digitalise business, but you can’t digitalise human relationships.  Maintaining the human touch combined with new digital processes is key to offering exceptional service levels for customers.  

Supporting the leasing industry with innovative insurance solutions 

As specialists in helping lessors ensure full protection for their leased equipment, we have also adapted to the new demands of our clients. Whether it was for a bank, independent lessor, or captive, our innovative, data-oriented approach supported by our teams’ expertise allowed us to tailor innovative insurance solutions that provided new income streams for our lessors. All while launching 31 new programmes with new and existing clients since the start of the pandemic! 

As an insurance partner to some of the largest companies in the asset finance industry, how do we align to this dual tech/people approach? Beyond delivering outstanding returns and insurance penetration rates, our customer service team provides ongoing support to our lessors in their native language, with 98% of calls answered in under 15 seconds. 

At Acquis, we’re on a digitisation journey of our own. Thanks to our specialised in-house software developers and Business Intelligence team, we can deliver insightful data dashboards which allow our lessor clients to easily review portfolio performance and spot new market opportunities.  

We have also recently launched two portals designed to improve the customer experience; a portal for brokers to easily evidence their clients’ insurance, and a second portal where claims can be submitted online 24/7. We are focused on delivering tools to continually improve the experience throughout the customer journey whilst continuing to make it easy for our clients to do business with us. 

If you would like to speak to a specialist about protecting your leased portfolio, you can contact us here. 

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