Small Business Awards 2021

Best Nationwide Debt Support - UK The Debt Advice Service was established in June 2018 to help customers with their finances in an ever-changing financial climate. It is a family-run business with a family mentality, meaning each member of staff is invested in maintaining the company’s five-star rating on TrustPilot. Following its success in Corporate Vision’s Small Business Awards, we got in touch with company director, Darren McGrath to learn more. The Debt Advice Service aims to speak to customers and offer them assistance by way of a number of financial solutions including individual voluntary arrangements and debt management plans. In the event that it is unable to help a customer, it refers them to charitable organisations to ensure they receive the support they need. With core values which revolve around treating customers fairly, with integrity and transparency, The Debt Advice Service’s staff aim to treat customers with empathy and to remain non-judgemental of their situation. Company director, Darren McGrath said, “Our overall mission is to help our partners and staff to help our customers help themselves.” The Debt Advice Service prides itself on the personal level of service it provides to each customer, treating them like family. Its knowledgeable team has over 50 years’ combined experience of helping customers, embracing the opportunity to help those who are vulnerable and have mental health issues as they are who need help the most. We asked Darren to tell us how the company goes about working with each new customer. He explains, “When working with a new customer, we take the following steps to ensure the help and support given to them suits their individual needs. A full and detailed fact find is completed by asking open questions to establish what has happened to prompt the enquiry. By actively listening and understanding how their situation is impacting on their/their family’s lives, we can work with them to ensure we offer them the correct solution to help them. A customer- led Income and Expenditure is then completed to assess an affordable and sustainable payment before we present the options available to the customer who is then asked to make an informed decision based on the information provided. We then work with our partners to arrange a call where the chosen option is discussed and agreed with ongoing follow-up to ensure the customer is supported throughout the process.” So, what drives the team that make it all happen? The staff at The Debt Advice Service thrive on team work, with everyone working together to overcome any challenges. Darren tells us, “The company has a structured yet relaxed training programme which ensures the team is kept up-to-date with current regulatory changes such as GDPR and money laundering, and this is refreshed annually. We also complete regular call monitoring to assess the quality of the assessors’ calls, with feedback being given regardless of whether the call was good or needed improvement.” The Debt Advice Service is an ambitious company, keen to grow and therefore recruit more new members of the team. It looks for those who are eager to learn, are comfortable having a conversation with somebody, have a positive outlook, and are happy to be part of a team. “Attitude over ability is vital as it’s possible to work with someone to improve, whereas someone with a negative attitude can easily bring the rest of the team down.” Darren said, “One of our favourite sayings is “team work makes the dream work” – which is cheesy but true!” The company is now looking ambitiously ahead, keen to expand whilst maintaining the service and relationships it has with its customers that only a small business can offer. It is currently recruiting through the Kickstart scheme with the aim of training and developing new additions to the level it expects of all its staff. This along with adding experienced staff as it needs them will help it grow organically whilst maintaining a family atmosphere and busy sales office environment as opposed to a call centre mentality. Darren concludes, “There is no reason why we cannot grow our business dramatically and continue to retain an excellent level of service.” Company: The Debt Advice Service Contact: Darren McGrath Email: [email protected] Website: Oct21418