In a previous article I noted that one of the hardest things for companies to do is get paid in a timely fashion. Collections is one of those areas that C-levels focus on, but few like to talk about except in the context of cash flow on the B2B side, and can be a disconcerting subject on the B2C side of things where current accounts and especially pass due one can be particularly difficult to:
As a former entrepreneur, I still cringe about the challenges of getting the attention of the individual holding my invoice and then working the system so that accounts payable had processed that invoice according to the timeframes agreed upon in my contract. It never ceased to amaze me how long just reaching somebody took. That was then before the BYOD era and the proliferation of smartphones.
The good news is that the explosion of personal devices has given those in the collections business an invaluable way to not just contact those who owe them money, but motivate them to pay. The answer is text messaging. But having a strategy for leveraging mobile messaging is critical since this really is a case where you will not get a second chance to make a first impression.
Thanks to a webinar I recently moderated, Mobilizing Your Collections Strategy, SoundBite Communications SVP and GM of the Contact Center Business Unit, and Director of Product Management, John Keyes, provided myself and participants the opportunity to find out about not just the benefits of going mobile as a key part of your collections, but the best practices to follow when doing so.
Effective and efficient
Obviously it is highly recommended that you download the archived version of the webinar, however, if you are sitting on the fence as to whether to spend the time, you might wish to think about the two graphics from the session below.
The first one speaks to the effectiveness of text messaging as a tool.
The thing that grabbed my attention was the point about response rates. If you’re a marketing person, you know that this is nothing short of spectacular performance. In an age when voice messages go to voicemail jail, and e-mails go to spam filters and/or get deleted once the header is read, the bottom line here is that you’re going to have a very high probability of getting your customers’ attention.
The second like goes to the benefits of going mobile.
The top two items can be backed up with hard data as to why they are true. However, it is the last three that are excellent food for thought.
The customer experience obviously is important because you not only want to get paid, but you want to be able to continue the conversation by treating the customer with respect and proving you are trustworthy. Debtors are essentially in a comfort zone. They get convenience in communications, immediacy, ease of use, control of the pace of interactions, and do not have to wait on hold to interact. Creditors get to leverage the ability to communicate with debtors over a preferred channel, ensure that they’re reaching the right person, get to use an inexpensive tool, meld mobile into a holistic view of their outreach programs, and engage in powerful analytics to track what is going on, facilitating further actions when necessary.
Compliance is critical because consumer protection laws are specific as to what constitutes an existing relationship and when the terms and conditions of engagement have been violated. And needless to say, there is a growing part of the legal community itching for a fight on compliance issues that is doing a nice business in stopping what they interpret as harassment. Mobile is turning out to be a great way to get debtors to opt-in (have a compliant relationship) and stay in.
Finally, as mentioned having analytics, especially those relating to who your best collectors are and how to retain them is literally money in the bank.
A lot more than just a sound bite
SoundBite has built an impressive business based on providing cloud-based customer experience management solutions that enable personalized, multichannel interactions across the consumer’s lifecycle. Their cloud-based mobile marketing capabilities help improve acquisition rates, engender both engagement and increased loyalty, and provide creditors with a real-time view of their business.
In fact, the SoundBite Engage multichannel communications platform has earned the Customer Magazine 2012 Product of the Year Award.
When it comes to customer interactions, clearly mobility needs to be a part of the equation. And as the webinar illustrates, if you are in the collections business, you might wish to follow the lead of your competitors if mobility is not in your plans since this is a tool that pays.