From “Spam Risk” phone calls to incessant emails to intimidating text messages, the overbearing nature of collections can often frighten the end customer. After all, I’m sure we can all agree that many modern methods for debt collection are unpleasant, but from a business perspective, and as an integral part of a customer service strategy, it shouldn’t be.
The core dilemma that organizations face is carrying out collections processes as part of a refined customer service strategy in a compassionate way. It’s a delicate balancing act. But by prioritizing the end customer, you can build stronger, more resilient relationships with them over time, even throughout difficult processes like debt collections.
If we want to take collections to the next level, we must rethink our approach and identify areas where we can humanize the process. Remember, collections is a defining business moment in which delivering an excellent customer service strategy can be the difference between maintaining a loyal customer or a leaving customer severing ties. Utilizing the right technology can also facilitate more meaningful communication, and innovative automation can free up your time to be more human. After all, helping our clients is our main goal.
Here are a few tips to drive a seamless, compassionate debt collections process.
- 1. Instill trust through quality customer service
2. Make use of customer satisfaction surveys
Customer service doesn’t stop when a business falls behind on payments. Creating a quality customer experience by building trust means treating customers with respect, communicating clearly and consistently, and being responsive to their needs through collaborative problem-solving. The way you engage with your customers before, during and after the collections process establishes the trust you need to maintain a positive relationship, and can have an impact on how quickly some customers are willing to pay.
Your customers are an endless, often-untapped resource of feedback and soliciting their suggestions and ideas via surveys will help you pinpoint common customer issues and recognize areas of improvement. It can also be helpful in determining why certain accounts have developed into late payment or delinquency status. This analysis can help determine how to best assist a customer and address potential collections issues before they turn into bigger problems.
Similarly, surveys can help you inquire about ways to make your procedures better, and should help you understand the following essential knowledge: How satisfied are your customers overall? What are some primary customer complaints? How can you make the collections process more pleasant? What methods of communication can be utilized?
3. Customize communication efforts through an automated portal
People who owe money usually don’t want to talk to people that are collecting — they simply want a quick and easy way to interact on a schedule of their own choosing. The good news is an automated portal with pre-collections strategies will support customers’ desires to have the autonomy to make payments, receive individualized communications and more.
It is also more important than ever to adapt to customers’ communication preferences. While older generations may feel more comfortable using snail mail and physical phone calls, the younger population might prefer texting and other automated messaging for the communication that a customer portal offers.4. Understand that life happens
Financial hiccups can happen even for our best customers who have been diligent in on-time payments for years. At one point or another, life-altering, unexpected circumstances can affect business procedures.
The tone for a long-lasting relationship can be set by your capacity to compassionately work with your customers to support them through a tough time like a divorce, job loss or medical issue. Your ability to express empathy during times of trouble can increase the likelihood of quicker repayment, while reducing the risk of customer dissatisfaction. Likewise, providing a clear set of flexible options available for payment arrangements to mitigate unforeseen events can lessen the pain when these things occur.
The Bectran Solution
The Bectran customer-centric collections solution not only helps simplify the collections process, but personalizes the collections and communications strategy for your customers, so you can focus on optimizing your customer service strategy. With the right solution, there is a better way to achieve collections for everyone involved.