Do You Value Your Brand? Then Consider a “Financial Care” Approach to First Party Collections - Alorica - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
How a business interacts with its customers is an important component of building brand perception. Yet, many organizations don’t think about the effect that customer interactions have on their brand while engaging in first party debt collection. And they should.
With 35% of Americans having had a debt referred to a collection agency – representing over 111 million people—it’s fair to say that debt collection efforts touch a lot of consumers. What’s more, first party collections, unlike third party collections, are done under the brand name. This makes ensuring a positive customer interaction imperative not only for reputation management, but also for maintaining the consumer’s brand loyalty after the debt is paid.
Studies also show that consumers are more likely to spread the word about negative interactions over positive ones. According to research by the Customer Contact Council, 48% of consumers who have had a negative interaction with a brand have told 10 or more people about it, while only 23% of consumers who have a positive service interaction have told 10 or more people about it.
As a result, when engaging customers in first party collections, a positive interaction is just as important as when engaging with customers on other service-related issues. Financial care, a customer-centric approach to collection services, can help drive repayment while strengthening customer relationships.
So what are the three most important things to know?
Engage with customers early
Gentle reminders can go a long way. Contacting the consumer early in the delinquency phase in a positive manner reminds the consumer of their financial obligations while still maintaining brand loyalty.
Sometimes referred to as a cure/care approach to financial care, early contact, before the debt enters into bad debt status, can help retain customers while reducing delinquency and increasing collections—a win for both the customer and the client.
Make it easy for consumers
Another aspect of financial care is ensuring there is an easy, straightforward way for consumers to take care of their debt. Research by the Customer Contact Council showed that of consumers who interacted with a contact center:
- 56% of consumers had to re-explain an issue
- 62% had to repeatedly contact a company to resolve their issue
- 59% reported expending moderate to high effort to resolve their issue
To avoid these kinds of customer service struggles, make sure your customer-facing applications and processes require minimal effort on the part of the consumer.
One way to reduce the effort required by your customer is to have self-service options for resolving financial care issues. Web portals, online or mobile payment systems, automated payment reminders and even proactive web chat can all help lower the effort required during financial care interactions.
Empower representatives to solve problems
Providing resolution to consumers during their first financial care interaction helps create a positive experience. A study by Nuance and Wakefield Research showed that 43% of consumers who were late in paying a bill said they were contacted too often and 22% received payment demands for bills they didn’t owe.
Empowering front line representatives to solve different types of customer concerns without transferring to another department or requiring the consumer to call back another time is a key component of financial care. When a consumer’s issue is handled quickly and efficiently, it creates a positive experience and improves the relationship between the consumer and the brand while resolving the financial care issue.
Debt collection is a necessary business function, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant for the consumer or the client. By implementing a financial care approach to your first party debt collections, you can safeguard your brand while increasing your collection success.
Find out more about how EGS approaches this challenge at egscorp.com/solutions/financial-care/
Publish Date: October 12, 2015 5:00 AM
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