Great customer experience shouldn’t stop when a customer falls behind on payments.
Keeping customers loyal, and happy, becomes difficult once the collections process starts, it is still possible to keep customers during and after collections. Treating customers the right way and preserving your business’ customer service reputation has a ripple effect on your brand and service image.
We’ve all seen what happens when collectors simply focus on the bottom line – reputation damage, brand harm and even compliance breaches. Being in charge of debt collection, you already know that your job is challenging. There is always the need to achieve a recovery whilst maintaining a balanced approach to assert customer behaviour to pay their arrears without being aggressive.
This is where providing good customer engagement can help. When it comes to collecting a debt, companies delivering the most exceptional service remain focused on honest and compliant communication and treating every customer with respect and dignity—regardless of account status.
So how do you make sure that your company is providing great customer engagement? The following are four tactics for delivering quality customer engagement during repayment interactions.
- Make Customer Engagement a No. 1 Priority
Your ability to compassionately work with your customers to help them through a difficult financial period, while also recovering monies, can set the tone for a lasting relationship. You’re not a bill collector so much as a repayment consultant. You provide guidance, insights, advice and valuable information that can help your customer achieve greater financial independence.
Another way to emphasise customer engagement is to tailor communications according to your targets and demographics. There’s a wealth of media and communication tools at your disposal. Make sure that you’re reaching the right customers the right way. Millennials might want to communicate through texting and smart phones, while older customers might be more comfortable with ground mail and physically speaking with someone on the phone.
- Instil Trust
Another significant component to enhancing customer engagement is to establish trust. Successful strategies are based on transparency as well as collaborative problem-solving with consumers to preserve what could otherwise be a troubled relationship. Get a full and complete picture of the consumer’s situation. There is always a reason each debt has gone to collections. This is your best opportunity to understand the consumer’s reason for the situation and whether they can resolve their account. Use conversational intelligence and open-ended questions in each call to find out about outgoing expenses, income, or other points that might impact repaying a debt.
- Understand That There’s Life After Collection
The customer relationship does not end after the debt is recovered; that’s a common misconception. Customer engagement should be a priority when initially contacting customers who are delinquent, during the process of collecting, and after the debt is paid. In fact, customers with late payments may need even more help. Remember, think of yourself as a problem-solver who is there to help the customer. They could be facing issues well beyond their control. Businesses would do better to see the situation for what it typically is—a hiccup in an otherwise good customer’s financial life that requires education, support, flexibility and patience to help them get back on track.
- Pay Attention to customer sentiment
Make sure to pay close attention to what’s being said by customers. Recorded customer interactions contain a vast amount of untapped data that gets to the heart of your customers’ concerns and reason for non-payment that provides valuable insights and learning for our clients. Use technology to gather and analyse these interactions and use them to develop and optimise your collections process.
These are just a few examples of how attention to detail can help to preserve customer relationships for the long term and can enhance the customer’s view of your company and brand.
About Access Mercantile Services
We understand that debt collection can sometimes be challenging and complex, getting it right, first time for our clients and the debtor is paramount, we strive for the best outcome by balancing the needs and interests of both the debtor and the client. We do this through customer engagement – the way we communicate with debtors is critical in achieving our success rate.
Experts in the credit management ecosystem, Access Mercantile Services have knowledgeable, dedicated and specialised resources to ensure we keep your customer engaged and protect your brand. With a fully integrated end to end credit management model, underpinned by innovation and technology, we act quickly and with agility to deliver a high success rate for your business. With teams across Australia and New Zealand, we can reach your customer no matter where they are. Access Mercantile is ISO accredited, fully compliant and industry affiliated.