The increasing importance of personalised treatment and customer experience in collections

The way a credit provider handles missed payments or financial difficulty is key to customers and their likelihood to stay with and recommend a brand, such as yours.

Research shows that more than half of people would switch to another provider if they experienced bad debt collection processes. While 1 in 3 people would pay more promptly and recommend their provider if they experienced good debt collection practices

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. Even when it comes to debt collection. A missed loan payment or a bill not paid on time could mean your customer was just forgetful. Or, they are facing real financial difficulty. Knowing the difference is important to deciding what the fairest course of action to take is. Putting that knowledge into action is even more critical.

Equally, it’s important to understand the external pressures and trends when it comes to arrears, and debt collection. Despite a relatively stable economy, debt continues to affect a significant number of UK based customers.

And, in line with this, there is an increasing regulatory focus on debt management practices – designed to protect the interests of the customer.

The customer-led landscape

At the same time, customer service expectations are rising with digital channels growing in popularity – people demand an always on, always accessible tailored service. Regardless of what they are doing.

Competition for customers is fierce and new entrants are competing aggressively to grow their customer base, taking custom away from their traditional counterparts.

Customer service is king and while nearly every business (new or old), understands the importance of a good customer experience, current practices could be restraining the ability to meet this need. Especially in times of financial difficulty.

Businesses are having to grapple with many challenges, and many changes. There is an increasing pressure on cost, and margins are squeezed because of competition and the investments being made in new technology that are fit for purpose.

Debt is lost money, and this is one area where many businesses focus their efforts to balance their losses – through increased recoveries. And for those that enhance their collections, they are more likely to collect more.

Costs are being reduced too and automated processes are improving customer-led decisions and adopting best practice collection techniques

It’s not just about recovering money. It’s about increased customer retention. Therefore, delivering higher quality interactions through enhanced customer insight and analytically-driven collections actions can help retain the right customers.

Customer experience and engagement is pivotal even in the debt collection environment. Giving convenient, discreet ways for customers to manage debt will undoubtedly help this and protect your brand by managing collections in a personalised, fair and effective way.

And let’s not dismiss compliance. Consistent and appropriate interactions with customers underpin most regulatory frameworks and should be advocated, at every single stage of customer engagement.

Letting technology inform decisions and strategies

Using a software management system will help you automate your processes and apply actions to customers – the right actions.

The algorithms and analytical capabilities far extend manual skills – instead they enhance your interactions and actions. By integrating a platform that supports your objectives and is driven by customer needs, you can offer more personalised and appropriate actions and solutions, driven by improved customer insight and analytically-driven actions.

In turn your customer experience is enhanced. Not only is it personalised, but could extend into offering a digital self-serve platform that enables your customers to conveniently and discretely manage their debt.

With more and more emphasis on treating customers fairly it is important any action is implemented at the most appropriate contact time, by the right channel and with the most suitable treatment. This is not only best practice. It is compliance.

The answer is…

PowerCurve Collections provides the guidance needed to personalise the collections process, effectively recovering debt whilst preserving long-term customer relationships.

Helping you to make decisions that are underpinned by customer data it can provide collections teams with a process that’s fair and efficient. It enriches customer information with data from multiple sources to create a complete and accurate view of the customer. Then it applies these insights along with analytics to determine personalised collections actions that are proven to increase recoveries.

The best action may be a high touch outreach effort or one that’s more automated, connecting customers to a convenient discreet self-service portal.

Either way, PowerCurve Collections has the operational capabilities that can easily process these actions. In the end, you have a cost-effective and compliant collections process focused on retaining the valuable customers that are such a crucial part of your business.

[1] Counting the Cost of Debt Recovery report – Echo Managed Services May 2016