It’s easy to forget how much the internet has changed the way we do business. Whether you’re hiring short-term staff on Upwork, sending a newsletter to thousands of subscribers with MailChimp, or sourcing stock from Alibaba, thanks to online tools it’s quicker and simpler than ever to get up and running with your enterprise.
That said, there are still times when you might need a helping hand. You could be unsure if a product or service is right for your brand, there may be questions not addressed in the company’s FAQs, the site’s chatbot might not have the answers you need.
That’s when speaking with a real person who understands what you and your business is going through really helps – and why customer service today is a balancing act: streamlining the service with technology while keeping people in the process to provide the human touch.
Business Finance – Simplified
At iwoca, a company that provides fast and fair business loans, they’ve got that balancing act about right.
They use award-winning technology to make decisions based on business’ performance, not just their credit score. Doing so helped them provide the equivalent of 12 percent of all new business overdrafts approved in the UK in the last quarter of 2018 – more than high street banks Santander and HSBC.
In July this year, they linked with UK finance marketplaces Funding Xchange and Funding Options to give small business owners real-time loan decisions in 30 seconds. By teaming up with partners like these, they’re helping business owners make faster financial decisions based on what’s actually available to them. Initially rolled out for loans up to £15,000, these partners offer fully automated, flexible credit facilities to customers from within their own websites.
As part of another partnership – with business bank account providers Tide – their record from starting an application to money in the bank is a lightning fast three minutes and 26 seconds.
But putting a priority on speed doesn’t come at the expense of their promise to provide people-friendly fintech. Because iwoca’s other focus is on customer service, with real people at the end of the phone.
If customers want to speak to someone, they are there to provide that level of communication. More than 98% of calls are answered within 30 seconds and every single customer has a dedicated account manager they can contact by phone, email, or webchat.
Part of their ability to maintain a personal connection with customers, while also relying on in-house tech is that they’ve continued to invest in their strongest asset – their people.
Since their founders Christoph and James launched the company in 2012, they’ve had lots of experience in scaling teams and building a strong culture. Between 2017 and 2018, they grew from 158 employees to 221. Now, midway through 2019, their headcount is over 300.
In August, iwoca was awarded a £10 million grant as part of an initiative to create more competition in the UK business lending scene. The award from the Capability and Innovation Fund will help them to fund over 150,000 business, and make £5 billion in finance available to them by 2023. Crucially, it’ll also allow iwoca to open a regional office with at least 50 staff outside of London.
Bringing it Together
iwoca has a proven track record of industry firsts, including syncing with eBay and Amazon, being the first business to offer a Lending API, and the first small business lender to integrate with OpenBanking.
This approach has enabled them to lend almost £1 billion to their customers to help them grow their businesses. Going forward they’ll continue to invest in digitizing the customer journey, while making sure their staff can focus on providing personal support that’s tailored towards helping customers achieve their goals.