How Would Your Customers Rate Your Collection Process? Your Revenue Depends on It7/28/2023
When you think of a traditional collection agency, what words come to mind? A recent survey conducted by CCMR3 revealed that for most American consumers, “harassment,” “rude,” and “stress” topped the list. Additionally, among those contacted by an original creditor or collection agency, 58% say their experience was negative. Considering the antiquated and aggressive tactics that most collection agencies use, this isn’t a surprise. For businesses, this poor customer experience can’t be written off as collateral damage of the process–it needs to be addressed directly in order to minimize major harm to your brand, and your bottom line.
Implications of Poor Customer Experience
- Brand Reputation: A negative experience with your collection team, whether internal or managed through a third-party, can be highly detrimental to your brand. With consumers more active than ever on review websites, your company reputation can take a major hit in a public way.
- Recovery Success: The subject of collection is often an embarrassing or stressful topic on its own. If you add “rude” or “annoying” behavior from collection specialists, the odds of defensive, evasive or combative behavior from customers can increase. Inversely, your chances of successful revenue recovery can decrease as a result.
Steps for Improvement
The solution to this often lose-lose scenario? Empathy. A truly consultative approach that seeks to understand why customers are having difficulty meeting financial responsibilities, and then working with them to find actionable solutions. This approach is made possible by combining people-first attitude with cutting-edge technology, collection compliance expertise, and a focus on brand protection. Here are the main points of your collection process that you should review with this framework:
- Initial Contact
When making initial contact with customers whose accounts are past due, your account managers should be clear and compassionate with their communication. Clearly stating why you’re getting in contact, setting a compassionate precedent by asking non-judgmental questions to help you understand why a customer is having difficulty making payments. Understanding the unique situation of each customer can help you collaborate on a long-term solution that addresses their issue and maximizes revenue for you.
Truly understanding where your customers are, and where they’re coming from is critical for successful revenue collection. This is where a technology upgrade paired with highly trained collection experts can make a difference. Top collection agencies, like CCMR3, have custom software that ensures our collection team is abiding by the collection laws and regulations from all 50 states. It also incorporates advanced analytics and machine learning to better understand behavioral patterns. Combined, these technologies help our team identify the optimal outreach strategy for maximum recovery.
Upgrading your communication technology can also help customers feel more comfortable during collection. Using phone, text and email in addition to traditional mail can put your team in a better position to engage customers in a two-way dialogue, so that they can provide education as well as customized support to your customers.
- Payment Collection
An often-overlooked opportunity to provide a better and less “stressful” or “annoying” experience to your customers is to modernize your payment collection methods by offering a self-service online portal. Providing a simple, secure way to remit payment online instead of asking consumers to dig up their checkbook can eliminate excuses for delayed payment and help you recover revenue faster. There are many third-party payment options available, but you may also consider developing your own for maximum customization and control.
From beginning to end, your customers’ experience with your debt collection team can affect your brand reputation as well as your success in collecting revenue. Simple adjustments in approach as well as investments in modern technology will benefit you now and in the long run. To learn more about how to make your collection process as effective as possible, reach out to the experts at CCMR3 today by visiting https://ccmr3.com/get-started or calling 866.272.4035.
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Rethink your collection strategy: How a digital-first mentality can boost collections
Customer preferences evolve. Whether due to the development of new technologies or significant events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers today prefer digital experiences over traditional communication methods like phone calls and letters. This extends to the collection industry. According to a McKinsey study on the customer experience of credit delinquency, customers prefer communicating digitally, primarily over email and then texting. However, despite this preference, many businesses and collection agencies haven’t adopted a digital-first approach—potentially impacting their collection rates and customer sentiment. Analyzing the current landscape of collections Many collection agencies see the usage of digital communications as a risk. They’re concerned about possible litigation. As such, many businesses have yet to implement them. However, through their establishment of Regulation F, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has laid out clear guidelines that help agencies to leverage digital channels (like email and text message), so long as they provide instructions to consumers on how to opt-out of future communications. Regulation F also puts new restrictions on collection practices that used to be allowed. For example, before this regulation, a collection agency could call a debtor as many times as they wanted between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Now, a debt collector may call an individual seven times within seven days, but—after speaking with that person over the phone—the same debt collector isn’t allowed to call again for seven days. This change makes it impossible for debt collectors to operate like they did in the past. It also requires them to rethink their strategies to optimize revenue recovery. However, based on customer data, this realignment could be a positive opportunity. Evaluating consumer trends in repayment The same McKinsey report we mentioned above demonstrates that digital channels have a substantially better success rate for collecting payments than traditional contact methods. 58% of customers in the study made full or partial payments after getting an email 77% made payments after getting a text message 88% made payments after getting a push notification 92% made payments after seeing an online pop-up In comparison, only 48% of customers made full or partial payments after getting a phone call from a collector, and only 50% made payments after receiving a physical letter. Customers are clearly showing their preference for online transactions, and collection agencies have the opportunity to act on this data to decrease the accounts receivable for their clients. Choose a customer-centric partner that puts digital first Consumer preferences are already having an impact on the accounts receivable industry. Collection partners not prioritizing customer feedback are missing a big opportunity to positively impact the bottom lines and reputations of their clients. At CCMR3, we utilize a digital-first approach. Driven by data, we email and text our clients’ customers. CCMR3 leverages a full omni-channel communication strategy. We connect with customers based on their preferences, creating a uniquely positive experience built around empathy. Both in relation to consumer preferences and regulatory expectations, the collections environment continues to change dramatically. Our team moves quickly to stay ahead of shifts in the landscape—and we can help your business thrive by taking advantage of new technologies today.Read Article
Two Types of Collection Services—And How They Benefit Your Practice
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Mastering the First 30 Days of the Healthcare Revenue Cycle
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