Philip Rürup, CEO and Founder of Troy tells us about specialized customer-friendly debt collection and technology.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Philip Rürup: All fine, thank you. As a family, we luckily enjoy spending time together – this makes things easier. But with restrictions still going on, I also feel with my two teenage daughters. I remember how I spend my time at that age, and I really hope that these experiences are only postponed, not skipped. But I also concede that it hasn’t hit us as hard as other families. We haven’t gone through a COVID case in the inner family yet, and my daughters are quite independent and reliable, so the troubles of home-schooling also were rather limited.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Troy.
Philip Rürup: Founding troy three years ago was a jump-in at the deep end – but at the same time, it was one of the best professional decisions I could have made. To found troy, I left behind my career at Bertelsmann, where I worked in various executive and management positions. Whether in a corporation or as a founder, I am passionate about making innovations scalable and turning a vision into action.
How does Troy innovate?
Philip Rürup: We are in the fortunate situation that we attract highly qualified and experienced talent because building the world’s friendliest debt collection agency provides a sense of purpose to make the world a better place. Thanks to that, we are a diverse team from many different backgrounds, nationalities, and professions – from debt collection experts to software engineers to customer experience specialists. We feel that diversion is a key driver for innovation, that the best solutions often are built in the intersection of disciplines. We try to facilitate this with agile methods by delegating responsibilities, not tasks, by supporting the individual mastery of our core principles, and with a talent-oriented culture. As you can see, innovation is who we are as troy, not what we do.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Philip Rürup: Internally, being a tech company allows us to flexibly work at the office or from home across all business functions, so this was no real challenge. Hiring people you’ve never met took some time getting used to. The onboarding of new colleagues requires a bit more attention virtually. Also, we recognized that our team needs and thrives with social interaction. So we decided to facilitate this explicitly, for example, with bi-weekly happy talks about your favorite song or movie scene. This also allows us to learn fascinating, private things about colleagues from other departments and brings us closer together throughout the entire company.
Business-wise, companies have had a steep learning curve about the multitude of reasons why customers do not pay on time. This was followed by a massive increase of companies looking for debt collection solutions with a friendly, caring approach. The best thing is: companies do not have to choose between receiving their money and treating customers well. Because friendliness also works in debt collection. Customers pay up to 80% more with us compared to our competitors. And they even pay happily, as we can prove in our comprehensive customer satisfaction survey after the payment. This means that we preserve many valuable customer relationships, which would be lost with a traditional approach.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Philip Rürup: First of all, we compete against incumbent debt collection agencies and therefore, an entire mind-set of traditional debt collection. In a fact-based and data-driven industry like debt collection, winning against them works quite well with our superior performance. Looking at other debt collection Fin-Techs, we only see six tech-challengers who have a real shot at fundamentally changing the global, 30-billion Euro debt collection market. Especially in our platform architecture, we’ve made some unique choices that will allow us to do it quicker and more efficiently than any other provider. Our plan to stay in the game is, therefore, to continue our marvelous journey and change the world with friendly debt collection.
Your final thoughts?
Philip Rürup: Thank you, and stay safe.