21 April 2020
We’re delighted to announce that Esendex has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2020. Established in 1965, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious award a UK business can win, and demonstrates outstanding success in innovation.
Our Mobile Collections solution was the basis of our entry, which, in short, consists of an automated workflow powered by the Esendex Decision Engine to collect small value debt from both businesses and individuals in a manner that is sensitive to the debtor and makes it easy for them to ‘cure’ their own account.
What problems does Mobile Collections solve?
Consumer debt continues to grow; between January 2019 and January 2020, UK personal debt increased by £1,680 billion, which amounts to an additional £923 per adult (source). For companies trying to recoup unpaid debt, they face multiple challenges: customers’ ability to make payment, their willingness to make payment, and other debtors’ demands taking priority.
From the consumer’s perspective, 1 in 5 people in arrears stated that their service provider made them feel embarrassed about their situation, and 51% will switch providers if they don’t feel they’re being treated well during the debt collection process (source).
As a valued communications partner to thousands of companies across the world, the Esendex team were presented with this challenge: find a means of collecting debt that is sensitive to the consumer, inexpensive for the service provider, and highly effective.
Mobile Collections utilises multiple mobile-first channels, including SMS, RCS and WhatsApp, to cut through the noise and effectively reach consumers. While these channels have a particularly high open rate (95% compared to approx. 20% for email), they are also sensitive to the recipient; they’re discreet, and allow the consumer to respond at their convenience rather than having to take a call at work or in front of their families.
The message and channel through which it’s received will vary depending on the age of the debt, value of the debt, and consumer preferences, and is unique to the company recouping the debt. It’s very important that the language and tone of voice is consistent with their brand’s other applications.
Once the message has successfully reached the recipient, they begin a mobile journey; a dedicated mobile web app that is unique to them, and because of this, needs only simple security verification such as their date of birth. This is far preferable to needing to remember or retrieve an account number and password.
The mobile journey crucially then gives the consumer options: would they like to make full payment, set up a payment plan, make a promise to pay, or speak to an advisor? If they choose the latter, they can converse via text or phone call if they prefer. If they choose a former option, they can complete their payment details completely securely, without leaving the app.
What results can you expect from Mobile Collections?
The results have been spectacular. For one utilities provider, 19% of customers approached made a payment, compared to 4% with the previous workflow. Of these, 82% were for the full amount owed.
It’s highly cost effective: for another customer, a single campaign cost £152, and it recovered a total of £44,776. The actual cost of collecting the payment is just 16% of the cost of sending a letter.
It builds bridges between companies and customers in arrears: 21.4% of the customers who engage in a two-way text conversation with an agent made a ‘promise to pay’, a reliable scheme for ensuring future repayment of the debt owed.