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.