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How Sandton Debt Counselling is removing the stigma around debt

Sandton Debt Counselling

Feb 19, 2021 9:42:46 AM

The company

Sandton Debt Counselling (SDC) was founded as a passion product by three highly creative and empathic individuals Nadia de Weerdt, Jo Stone and Candice de Mendonça.

Every person who works at SDC has at some point or another struggled financially too - and overcome it by dedication, drive and some miracles. We know that life happens and not everyone is familiar with the laws designed to protect them. 

We’ve made it our vision to build not only a reputable company- but a legacy that will remain for years to come. Our aim is to treat every client with only the highest level of respect and care that their financial situation deserves, and to walk along the road with them while keeping to exceptionally high service standards. This is not our job, this is our calling.

The initial challenge

We've never had extreme funds to throw into marketing or advertising, so we followed the advice of our now main Debt Counsellor’s wise grandfather- who stated: “Earn the reputation and the money will follow.” We believe that trust is hard-earned with blood, sweat and tears. Learning everything there is to know about our industry, and built through years of interactive experiences with our clientele and industry experts. 

Being over-indebted is an intensely overwhelming situation, and our first challenges in the early days were simply overcoming the stigma associated with being financially strained. The second challenge was that there used to be a lot of unregistered persons posing as debt counsellors and unfortunately scamming people out of their hard-earned money. Proving your worth to a sceptical public is not easy - especially when it comes to finances. 

The early days had our Debt Counsellors meeting people face to face, doing workshops, and relying a lot on word-of-mouth referrals. There were so many people in need and not enough time to meet them all in person! 

The final challenge is that debt review being a legal process, “the customer is always right” sense does not always apply, so a lot of our service is also based on consumer education of the National Credit Act and the laws that govern this process.

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The solution

The solution was for us to build a strong online presence that can be tracked, rated and transparently examined over the course of the years. The path was slow and steady, never expanding faster than our capabilities could handle - so that we could continue to deliver excellent service at all times. Because debt review is not a product we sell, but rather a service we deliver. 

We still get a lot of compliments via email - and encourage those clients to write reviews for us publicly. To honestly and authentically relay their personal experiences not only at the beginning of the debt review process with the initial relief, but throughout. To break the stigma associated with debt burdens, and to encourage financially strained consumers to ask for help. 

Sometimes, one single authentic review can inspire many more people to reach out. We also learnt that by transparently informing our clients and helping them understand and interact with the process, they gain financial control during and valuable lessons afterwards. This gratitude is evident when relaying their experiences on this public platform.

The results

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We woke up one day and realised we had accidentally hit the number one spot in Financial Services on Hellopeter when a consumer phoned in and told us we had achieved the hard-earned reputation we had been building for years! It was quite a shock, and a very proud moment for our company! When clients are happy, and they offer us chocolates or flowers or some other gifts, we ask them to rather review our services. It costs them nothing, and their gratitude keeps us in business by inspiring others to reach out for help with a company that has proven itself trustworthy over the years. 

Our hard-earned reputation did pay off and our client rate nearly doubled as a result. Hellopeter has lifted our humble business up to new heights and given us a chance to showcase our talents to the public, and for that, we'll be forever grateful!

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