How to make it easier to collect debt in the utility sector

Topic: Utilities

The way we use and manage our money is changing: billions of cashless transactions are now taking place every day, one in five Brits does not carry any cash and over half of Brits state that ‘cash is on the way out’ (Source: First Bus).
It’s not only the physical form of money that is changing, but also how we manage our money; online and mobile banking is becoming richer with new tools and features, allowing us to carry out most of our banking needs.
This mindset and directional change to digital and mobile has opened the door for many businesses to engage with customers through their smartphone, and utilities in particular can benefit from this – especially for small balance final debt collection.
The ratio of UK household gross debt to income is growing – currently 140.2%, it’s expected to increase to 143.1% within 5 years (source). This could indicate that consumers will find it harder to repay their debt – and so ensuring that you have an effective collections mechanism now will pay dividends well into the next decade.
Fortunately, the smartphone takes debt collection into the next level, providing instant, convenient and more engaging ways to communicate, that ultimately end up being more effective in collecting payments.

Different ways the utilities sector can collect debt through the smartphone

Simple SMS
SMS has an unrivalled 95% open rate, so it’s much more likely that your payment request or reminder will be read, compared to email or letters. It’s also more effective at driving action, with a 32% conversion rate compared to 3.26% for email (source). Sending a text is also scalable and cost-effective, particularly compared to direct mail or outbound calls.
SMS chat
SMS chat, or conversational SMS, is particularly effective when it comes to debt collection, as it allows a single agent to manage multiple conversions simultaneously, delivering not only a more effective method in collecting debt, but also delivering significant cost savings.
From an initial prompt to a conversation about repayment options, to providing a link to a payment portal, the whole process can be managed without the need for a call, without needing to access a website, and without over-burdening the call centre agent.
Mobile payments
A user-friendly mobile payment experience will improve engagement and increase payment conversions – and also helps build trust in your brand because of the excellent user experience this delivers.
A fully branded, bespoke and personalised payment environment gives your customers confidence, while also providing a completely self-serve payment platform that can be used at your customer’s convenience.
RCS Messaging
The evolution of SMS messaging, RCS gives you the power of SMS together with rich content to deliver an exceptional customer experience. RCS allows customers to make payments through a bespoke branded, personalised, engaging and feature-rich filled mobile message, thus increasing payment collections.

What are the next steps?

All these services combined can deliver a comprehensive multichannel strategy to debt collection – one which has won national awards for innovation and efficacy, while ensuring that customers are treated fairly. To find out more about how other utility providers successfully collect debt, please get in touch with our team on 0345 356 5758 or email [email protected].

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