Interview: Lucy Bott, Head of Customer Operations

By Luke OMahony

Lucy Bott joined RateSetter in 2012 as the first member of our award-winning customer service team. She's now Head of Customer Operations at RateSetter, and we talked to her about what her role involves and how we ensure that RateSetter holds on to its strengths as we grow.

Lucy Bott

What do you do at RateSetter?

I’m Head of Customer Operations at RateSetter. In practice, that means that I do a little bit of everything, but my overall responsibility is to ensure that customers have the best possible experience when investing and borrowing with RateSetter.

Customer experience is something that sets us apart from other businesses in our sector: for example, we have an award-winning customer service team based in our London office, not out in a separate call centre, and rather than follow a script, we make sure that everyone on our team is knowledgeable and able to properly answer questions. So, my job is to ensure that this carries through to other areas of the business too.

On a day to day basis, I get feedback from our customers and from other parts of the business on what’s working well and what needs improvement. If there’s an area for improvement – and realistically, there’s always something we can do better – we’ll pull together feedback and work with the relevant team at RateSetter to get that improvement in place.

What sort of improvements do you bring in?

Actually, many of the most important changes that we make are directly driven by customer feedback. The Sellout function is a good example of this: when we first launched, there was no Sellout feature; if you wanted to get your money out, the only thing to do was to set repayments to withdraw and wait for the loan parts to repay, which could take years.

Many investors asked us for a Sellout function, and it’s something we were able to deliver: we put it live in 2013. In fact, we’ve recently improved it, by allowing people to access their money for free in the Rolling market, as long as there is liquidity in the market.

As well as helping to bring in larger changes, I’m also responsible for making sure that things are working well on a day-to-day basis – that there are enough people in our customer service team to handle incoming queries, for example, or that the information on our website is up-to-date.

When did you join RateSetter?

I actually joined RateSetter as the first member of its customer service team in 2012. It seems like a very long time ago: in fact, the interview took place in a café next door to our office, because RateSetter didn’t have a meeting room at the time!

Over the next couple of years, I took on more and more responsibilities, and also built up the customer service team to the point where we now have 14 people working full time, alongside newer, specialist teams, looking at specific areas such as the upcoming Innovative Finance ISA.

What are the common questions and queries?

Interestingly, the types of questions we get asked are changing slightly. When we first launched, people would ask us what peer-to-peer lending was or how the Provision Fund worked – broad questions about our model.

However, increasingly we find that people who call or email us have a very good idea of how RateSetter works, and have a more technical question about the finer points. They understand the concept, but want a bit more detail – I find that encouraging.

I think some people worry – understandably – that as we grow, we’ll change. It’s something we’re mindful of too, so one of the big areas that the business has invested in is quality assurance (QA): a team that very diligently checks everything we do. I do mean everything! For example, they check that we’re assessing each loan application properly and according to a robust procedure, but will also check that our customer service team are polite and courteous when speaking to borrowers and investors. It’s a big undertaking, but it helps us to make sure that we hold on to our strengths as we grow.

What do you wish more people knew about RateSetter?

On the borrower side, I wish more people knew what they could do using their account. For example, they can pay off a loan early (with no fee), or do simple, helpful things such as change the day that payments are taken from their account so that, for example, payments are made the day after their payday.

I think that investors on our platform are generally pretty savvy about their accounts, but many would be surprised at just how much information they can access. They can look at rate trends, see lending volumes updated in real time and of course, look in detail at their own lending.

Any tips for customers?

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to us! We have an award-winning customer service team, so if you have any doubts then get in touch and we’ll be on hand to help.