Sigma develops fantastic relationships with clients and customers alike

Case studies

Energy Client - Early Arrears Collections

Date:  March 2018

The Challenge

  • Client’s Collections resource regularly moved to front line customer services to support periods of high demand.
  • This placed intermittent pressure on Collections performance.
  • Client also keen to benchmark internal performance in a range of areas: collections performance; return on investment; and quality.

The Solution

  • Initial team of 8 FTE set-up working Final debt.
  • Launched within 6 weeks.
  • Managing 5 Day window early in collections process.
  • Operating on Client’s Billing System and Payment Portal (via VPN); using Sigma’s Contact Platform to drive efficiencies.
  • Delivered ‘white-label’ (in clients name).
  • Outbound dialled from South Africa; inbound handled in UK.
  • Following success, all of Live & Final Collections outsourced.


  • Live Collections: 29:1 Return on Investment. 116% uplift on previous 12mths performance (vs. in house team).
  • Final Collections: 9:1 Return on Investment. 173% uplift on previous 12mths performance (vs. in house team).
  • Rapid expansion of FTE in short time with no compromise on performance
  • >90% average customer satisfaction score on Live accounts
  • Multi-award winning partnership
  • Grew to C. 105 FTE gross in first 12 mths.

Energy Client - Complaint Management

Date:  March 2018

The Challenge

  • Complaint volumes were high and client lacked resource to deal with backlog
  • Client system not suited to complaints
  • Ofgem targeted on closures (with penalties)

The Solution

  • Sigma established a team of 70 FTE to focus purely on complaint closures
  • Executive and Ombudsman complaints team of 8 also set-up in client offices
  • Client’s CRM / Billing system used;Sigma overlaid its bespoke Complaints Handling system to ensure timely activity with a full audit trail.

The Results

  • 50% higher closure rate (vs. client internal team)
  • significant reduction in re-open rates (i.e. complaints successfully resolved)
  • improved customer satisfaction
  • over 10,000 complaints closed within first 4 months.

Retail Client - Early Arrears Collections

Date:  March 2018


  • 15 dedicated FTE
  • White label, on Sigma systems, covering:
    • Early Arrears Collection – inbound and outbound
    • Full Dunning Cycle – letter, SMS, email & IVR
    • Utilising Client Email System and Payment Gateway – for consistency of customer experience
    • Trialling ‘Cloud’ Lettering – delivered via SMS
    • Workflow Management
    • Reporting and MI – providing deep insights
  • “Sigma provide fantastic customer service as well as deliver an excellent recovery rate on a high volume portfolio

Key Challenges

  • Services historically off-shored to India
  • Sigma needed to demonstrate the ability to set up the service quickly and enhance the performance being received from the incumbent
  • It was vital that Sigma demonstrated an improved customer journey

Why Sigma?

  • Vital that brand quality was maintained
  • Sigma’s customer centric approach reflects the client’s brand values
  • Allocation of dedicated FTE allows greater focus and expertise to be developed
  • Proven ability to handle a wide range of the clients’ existing customer queries and challenges
  • Impressive results in campaigns to date including collections conversion rate of over 60%


  • Significant improvements in collections performance:Sigma almost trebled incumbents performance
  • Customer feedback has been extremely positive and complaint levels have fallen.
  • Successes include:
    • Achieving collections liquidations of over 60% against an initial target of 22%
    • complaint volumes well below the client KPI
    • Call Quality scores on average above 90% - well above the 75% target set by the client
    • Team attrition levels extremely low ensuring continuity of expertise

Energy Client - Improving NPS

Date: March 2018

The Challenge

  • NPS was negative as a result of poor customer journey, with customers having to call in multiple times in order to resolve their query.

The Solution

  • Worked with Key Account Manager to reduce transfers to Customer Service through up-skilling advisors
  • Fed back observations on upstream issues (those that were driving unwanted calls) triggering process reviews
  • Called back all serious detractors (i.e. 0 – 3 NPS scores) within an hour
  • Shared regular statistics with advisors and shouted out the Terrific 10’s.

The Result

  • Improved customer journey and increased NPS from -17 to +21.


Sigma's relationship manager for a major UK energy client had the following to say in regards to an industry award winning partnership

It was a huge change for my business to outsource collections activity, this has always been undertaken by our internal teams and we prided ourselves on doing this well. Unfortunately when there are other internal front office pressures it is often the case that collections could be viewed as a secondary function and staff are pulled from this to assist delivery of core activities. This was certainly the case for us and as such I suggested that perhaps this was a good time to pilot this activity with a collections specialist such as a traditional DCA whose core function is to collect outstanding monies.

As with most businesses one of the biggest considerations when looking to outsource will be cost. My initial reason for selecting Sigma to undertake my outsource activities definitely came down to them being the most cost effective, however my rationale for continuing to expand the team and broaden the scope of activities was due to so much more. 

Since implementation they have understood my business and taken ownership of my collection requirements superbly, demonstrating a remarkable level of consistency in performance as they continuously exceed a tough set of targets and KPIs. The quality of the Collections Management team has been excellent. They are fully engaged and eager to deliver and improve week on week. The Team Managers have a great rapport with the advisors and are continually striving to bring the best out of each one. This creates a great atmosphere within the team and a real buzz about the work being undertaken. One thing I really like about working with Sigma is that everyone from advisors to Heads of Department are encouraged to interact with me and my team in order to address and resolve any issues that arise. I definitely feel like part of the “Sigma Family” and not necessarily “The Client”. This makes it far easier to have open and honest discussions and is different to my experiences to date with other service providers.

Sigma’s flexibility to meet my rapid expansion requirements has been hugely impressive and not something I have experienced when working with outsource partners before. 

Their ability to build and create bespoke databases and reports quickly is also another huge positive. The ability of the Operational team is fantastic; the unique way that they can turn at times a half-baked request into a fully functioning MI tool is impressive. As this partnership moves forward requirements continue to develop and change and these are always effectively managed. In all honesty when I commenced this activity I didn’t fully appreciate everything that I would want to see in order to demonstrate to my internal business exactly what the team was delivering as a return on investment and it has been hugely beneficial for me to be able to have direct access to the developers in order to discuss requirements and formulate a plan.

Another huge selling point for me is the ability for me to be able to have a direct route to interact with all of Managing Directors and not just a “Key Account Manager”. They all take an active role in the partnership with myself which is something rarely seen in larger organisations. I have found this hugely beneficial and this continues to demonstrate to me that they are fully engaged in delivering the best for my business as well as their own.

The relationship manager for a leading financial services client had the following to say

In recent years, our company has completely transformed its arrears collection function, shifting focus away from maximising and accelerating payments, to putting our customers’ best interests at the forefront of everything we do. We have embedded a culture that ensures the right debt solution is found for our customers. When we decided to benchmark a percentage of our collections function, it was of utmost importance that we found the right partner, who shared our beliefs and values, and would protect the customer journey we are so proud of delivering.

We went to tender with a number of organisations of varying sizes and offerings. This included large multi-national companies with relatively cheap overseas functions. It was clear early in the process that Sigma were the type of company we would want to collect on our arrears portfolio. We were most impressed with Sigma’s management team, who, in the highly regulated space we operate in, were able to give us full confidence they would provide the focus and attention our portfolio required. We have now been partners for over 18 months, and are very happy with Sigma’s delivery. We were most impressed with the speed and ease at which they were able to set up and ‘go live’ on our portfolio, with their performance rapidly reaching parity with our own internal function.

If I was to sum up what we were looking for it would be the following:

  • A company who took a strategic partnership approach – we found this hard to achieve with some of the bigger BPO’s
  • A company who could evidence the focus on customer experience
  • A confident and professional management team – what was good about Sigma was that the management team we met and dealt with as part of the RFP process was the same one we would be dealing with as BAU. Again this wasn’t the case with some of the bigger players in the market
  • A good cultural fit – this was important to us and tied into our view of a strategic partnership rather than a service provider approach

The various demands of managing a panel of DCA’s will change the industry under the new conduct regime and I can see firms wanting more visibility and more control and therefore moving to a more strategic partnership approach via credit managed outsource and away from DCA usage. This puts Sigma and other smaller dedicated firms in a strong position for all the reasons we have highlighted above.

This major UK retailer had the following to say about Sigma

Sigma were selected as a partner because they were a great fit for us. We desired a flexible, committed and open supplier with up to date technology and expert knowledge to deliver our ultimate strategy - Sigma fits that bill perfectly!

Having continued direct access to all Managing Directors who take an active role in the ever developing strategic partnership is certainly refreshing and makes us confident that we are valued.

The support during the build and go live exceeded our expectations with Sigma delivering every step of the way. The dedicated team is awesome; it was important to us that they felt part of our company and together we have certainly achieved this.

Sigma’s communication and professionalism is fantastic from an agent level right up to Senior Management - working with such passionate and focused individuals is always a pleasure and we have been able to build a very close and strong partnership with the entire team.

Our customers are at the heart of our company and we find comfort in the fact that Sigma is able to provide fantastic customer service as well as deliver an excellent recovery rate on a high volume debt portfolio.

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