The Data Says “Don’t Hug the Dog!” | Psychology Today

had brought my dogs to be part of a “Doggy De-Stress Day” on the campus of a local university. These are becoming more common for many colleges in North America and usually take place during midterm exam or final exam periods. The way it works is that dogs (often therapy dogs, but sometimes just well-behaved pets) are brought to campus and students get a chance to pet and interact with the dogs. The rationale here is that during exam periods stress levels run high in the student population, and there is am

Source: The Data Says “Don’t Hug the Dog!” | Psychology Today

Think Twice Before Overdoing The Positive Thinking, Cautions Psychology Study – PsyBlog

Dreaming about positive events in the future makes you feel better now, but may make you feel worse later on, new research finds.The more positively people fantasised about the future, the more depressive symptoms people experienced up to seven months later, the study found.The findings kick against the ubiquitous self-help advice to ‘think positive’.

Source: Think Twice Before Overdoing The Positive Thinking, Cautions Psychology Study – PsyBlog

Pluto is not the end | The Planetary Society

When New Horizons flew past Pluto last summer, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden heralded it as “the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration” adding that the Pluto encounter “completed the initial survey of the solar system.” NASA’s science chief John Grunsfeld said: “there is very little terra incognita in our solar system today.” These statements are based on an outdated view of our solar system — the hierarchical view of nine planets, with Pluto at the outer end, accompanied by a smattering of less-important bodies — and they threaten the future of NASA’s solar system exploration.

Source: Pluto is not the end | The Planetary Society

Banks turning to voice recognition – BBC News

Voice as a form of secure ID is becoming more widespread, with Barclays announcing it is using the technology for telephone banking customers.All Barclays’ personal telephone banking customers are eligible to use the system, although they can opt out.The technology recognises a customer’s unique formation of words, cancelling the need for security questions or passwords.A number of banks are at various stages of introducing similar technology.

Source: Banks turning to voice recognition – BBC News

Digital and Customer Centric: The Future of Collections? | Chris-Warburton.com

The other week I was lucky enough to be able to attend my first roundtable discussion with Arum at the Caledonian Club in London. These are held with key individuals across the industry to discuss key trends; with this time being a discussion on “the Future of Collections”. Great to be part of this and even got to write a piece for the website.Welcome to the Caledonian ClubThe Caledonian club was indeed very grand. Advertised as a piece of Scotland in London, you do indeed walk in to see stag heads, stone staircases and portraits on the wall. It certainly transported me to some of my visits with the National Trust for Scotland. (Although in Scotland I seem to remember consuming more tea and toasted sandwiches than Haggis and Neeps, but can’t complain, it was extremely pleasant).“The Future of Collections”The work conversation was engaging and I was struck by a couple of things. The extent of digital adoption, across all age groups The normalisation of customer centric collectionsDigital adoption: Beyond the tipping pointWe have all got used to interacting online, applying for products, purchasing items, checking balances and statements. From the conversation it really felt we are now reaching the critical mass of users, where you have to be online and full functionality is expected. The feedback is now being heard… “many individuals prefer to interact via an app than by person”.We all have experience of this, with many relatives, who never used computers, now becoming technology adopters. The fear of computers has largely disappeared, everyone is and needs to be online. This includes the collections process too and the pressure is on.Customer centric: Have we forgotten how to collect?It has been interesting the last few years in the UK, to watch the massive change in the collections industry that has taken place. Since 2008, it has turned itself inside out. It is now much more customer centric and focused in most industries.This is clearly seen in some of the recent figures from the Citizens Advice Bureau.Overall the number of problem debt enquiries to CAB is down, and the comment was made that this has been largely achieved without a massive increase in impairment/bad debt charge. The customer service element is a focus today, and is clearly becoming ever more important.This is undoubtedly a good thing, but what about if there is another downturn? Has the financial services industry forgotten how to collect or has the paradigm shifted so much that it no longer matters?My personal view is the industry has shifted, and been shifted, to having more grown up conversations with consumers. It has always been about solving issues and if there is a downturn this experience it will still be useful. The industry hasn’t forgotten how to collect.However there has been a more fundamental structural change.The days when a collections process could be relied upon, by force of action, to manually control and manage impairment/bad debt is most likely over….. extra turns on the dialer are a thing of the past… the control points are now much more subtle.A new challengeThis presents a challenge going forward. Ensuring a robust linkage between the front and back end of the customer lifecycle is going to be critical.Once one of the collections team speaks with a customer, I am confident they still have the tools and sensitivity to handle a situation well. However what is now crucial is the intelligence from these interactions is gathered and flows upstream, in real time. Pricing and decisioning criteria are going to have to be adjusted much more dynamically to remain in control.Collections teams are still a big part of the process, handling what is often a sensitive situation. The need for them and their data to now become ever more embedded in the decision making process. It is going to be critical to profitability, especially in a changing economy.Using an analogy…. “we are now flying a B747/A380, times have changed and the old days of flying by the seat of your pants could get you in a lot of trouble”…All in all, a thought provoking and interesting evening. Certainly with useful insight into some of the current changes, thinking and future in the UK.You can read the rest of my report here.

Source: Digital and Customer Centric: The Future of Collections? | Chris-Warburton.com