month 01
day 23
year 2017

Power to the people: debt collection in 2017

Debt Collection Challenges

If you’re in the debt purchasing and debt collection world, it can be hard to keep up with the cultural, technological and legislative changes that determine how you interact with customers.

As part of the Esendex financial services team, I’ve seen huge changes in the last few years: from restricting what can (and can’t) be said, controlling and enforcing voice solutions, and even enforcing how Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) policies are installed and implemented.

So, what’s in store for debt collection in 2017?

Demonstrating how we are treating customers fairly has never been more prominent.

How do you know if someone is in a debt management programme? How can you ensure the customer isn’t vulnerable before you send them a reminder?

In an ideal world, your agents shouldn’t have to worry about this, and the effect on how your overall collections strategy is implemented and enforced should be minimal.

Surprisingly the solution is relatively simple – give customers a means of engaging with you in a fair, reasonable and efficient manner.

The first (and golden) rule is: if you are going to send outbound communication to your customer – MAKE IT COUNT!

Each SMS, email or voice call should have routes to self-serve and manage accounts (ideally multiple routes) – without direct involvement from yourself or your staff.

Empower your client base, give them the means of interacting with you at a time, and on a channel, that works for them.

As a simple guide to getting the most from your investments, ensure that:

  • Your dialler is compliant
  • Your emails are mobile friendly and easy to interact with
  • Replies to your SMS messages go straight to agents on standby
  • Customers can access a mobile optimised payment page so they can make payments from their smartphone at their convenience.

Every DCA seeks to reduce internal business costs, deliver an exceptional customer experience, and build a great reputation.

With the impact of challenger banks over the last six to 12 months, improving your customer engagement cycle through the intelligent application of technology isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s essential.

The end goal?

Get your client re-engaging with the market place, transacting, and out of the position they were in – by interacting and engaging with you.

How are you making it easier to do business with yourself?

  • Do you offer free-to-reply SMS services?
  • Interactive mobile-optimised emails?
  • Local rate voice calls that go straight to the department in question rather than five minutes of navigating through painful menu systems?

Whatever it may be, don’t get left behind. This topic is highlighted for a reason – it is firmly on the FCA’s agenda for 2017 (source).

If you’re looking for expert help, get in touch.

Whether your challenge is how mobile technology can help in the collections cycle, or how 24/7 self-serve channels can help you manage internal resources for peak inbound periods – we can help. Learn more or contact the financial services team on 0345 356 5758.

month 03
day 17
year 2016

Is it time to ditch the dialler?

Is your dialler compliant?

It’s estimated that a staggering 1.5 billion silent and 200 million abandoned calls are received from call centres every year (ICO). These calls are often companies who use a dialler to contact customers and followers of their business, enabling them to send out large volumes of outbound calls without the strain on staff.

The effects of this have spurred Ofcom’s latest intervention to knuckle down on abandoned and silent calls, and in doing so have updated a policy originally brought into action in 2010. These are the alterations they plan to make.

  • A reduction in the tolerance for abandoned call rates (ACR), from 3% to 0-1%
  • Expanding the definition of what abandoned and silent calls actually are.

These changes have not been established yet, but if put into effect could have a negative impact for debt collection agencies and their heavy dependence on the use of diallers, where they fail to meet the standards of compliance, such as an increased workload for staff.

Here at Esendex we take silent and abandoned calls very seriously, understanding the benefits Voice services can bring to the debt collection industry and the importance of compliance to avoid hefty fines. We’re able to work with DCA clients in order to proactively research, develop and implement solutions to common issues raised by the use of diallers.

Silent calls are usually caused by a dialler mistaking a human answering for an answer machine and therefore remains silent.

Our systems are 98% accurate in detection. What does this mean? In the event of a misdetection occurring, we offer an inbuilt answer phone function that is triggered when a human answers. Beep detection is offered for the opposite scenario when an answering machine is misdetected as a human and will play a recorded message on the beep.

Abandoned calls are often caused by staffing issues in contact centres, where availability of staff for dialler transfer is a problem, meaning calls are just ended, or abandoned – even when the recipient picks up.

Our Voice Broadcasting enables better control of the amount of outbound calls made at a given time, meaning that the transition between broadcast and transfer is seamless; employees won’t be overwhelmed with calls and your customers won’t be left annoyed.

The implementation of a Voice Broadcasting service can not only help you increase productivity levels, but also ensures you’re compliant with the new regulations with maximum satisfaction for customers.

To speak to a member of our team about ditching your dialler for a more compliant, cost-effective and efficient Voice system, call a member of our team on 0345 356 5758.

month 12
day 29
year 2015

Influence impulse purchases with good communication

Impulse purchases ang good communication in retaIl

Did you know that 90% of consumers have made an impulse purchase while out shopping, and with big sales set to be heavily promoted on this side of Christmas how can you help your business get a piece of the action?

It’s not just about the right sales tactics or clever marketing but about appealing to personality traits, emotional states and timing, which is something good salespeople and knowledgeable marketers are good at.

The average consumer makes approximately 3 impulse purchases in 1 in every 4 shopping trips, with negative emotions such as sadness, anger, boredom or stress having a lot to answer for – 20% of women and 14% of men have fallen victim to impulse purchases when sad.

As we wave goodbye to the holiday season and say hello to 2016, how do you ensure that your high street store or online shop is ready to make your customers feel compelled to make a purchase?

Saving money

The biggest motivation for impulse purchases, that accounts for 88% of impulse purchases are sales and promotions, which give the impression of saving money. The idea of “value” is the main motivation for consumers and with wording like “20% bigger”, “50% more” or “10% off” it’s not surprising it works.

As the holidays pass us by, we arrive at the peak season for impulse purchases.  45% of impulse purchases are made after receiving a promotional SMS, with mobile coupons achieving a 10 times higher redemption rate than paper or email coupons – your customers want to save money.

Pleasure

Rarely things we need, impulse buys are often things that make us feel good. The term ‘retail therapy’ is testament to that, whereby the act of acquiring something new is empowering and liberating. We all want to experience pleasure and after the first time we experience it after a purchase it’s something we want to continue.

Could this be why single adults make 45% more impulse purchases than married adults?

Surroundings such as smells and sounds also contribute which could be a good reason to bring people in store. Differentiate yourselves from your competitors by sending voice broadcasts about new in-store product launches or demos and make your customer feel special.

Loss Aversion

Stores have learnt that consumer’s purchase decisions are affected by attempts to avoid negative emotions in the future, often triggered when they miss out on a potentially good opportunity or sale.

Strategically placed items, more often than not, in a sale or promotion trigger this fear of loss and as a result prompt the click of “add to basket” or action to purchase. Mobile Journeys offer a subtle opportunity to promote products with a hint of personalisation. This could be why 75% of consumers feel happy after making an impulse purchase. (Brandon Gaille).

To find out more about our products and services and how they can benefit your business call us on 0345 356 5758.

month 12
day 10
year 2015

Ease New Year debt collection issues with Interactive Voice

Business IVR
The first few months of the New Year see consumers worrying more about the pounds on their scales than the pounds in their bank accounts. British shoppers are estimated to have racked up around £5 billion in debt over the 2014 Christmas season and it seems that the start of 2016 will be a busy time for debt collection.

The high costs associated with attempting to collect payments from your customers can often outweigh the results. Staff wages, call costs and time are just some of the expenses associated, which is why understanding the needs of your customers and their activities will help to improve your collection operations and make them more personal and targeted.

90% of UK shoppers are willing to pay more for better service, and that service extends to the finance sector, even if it is self-serve. So how can you play to your customer’s needs to improve your collection rates?

Interactive self-service

Debt is a very touchy subject, not many people like to openly admit that they have debts, let alone discuss them with strangers. The thought of openly discussing debts and repayments with a stranger on the telephone can seem very alien to some customer’s. This is where 24hr Interactive Payment Solutions (IVR) can be effective when dealing with early stage repayments or even later stage collections.

55% of customers prefer automated self-service and are more likely to interact with an automated message than with a person, mainly because it seems less intrusive. The person paying their debts can find out their balances, choose to pay a specified amount or be choose to be transferred to a call centre agent.

This also opens up the opportunity to operate in extended opening hours without the need to extend your staffing budget, improving collection rates and efficiency and is one performed at a significantly lower cost than it would to employ an agent.

Automated alerts

During the early stages of debt, customers often forget or are unaware of the debt the organisation is contacting them about. Customers may go overdrawn over Christmas, miss one payment and not know. This is where a simple automated SMS or an ‘Interactive Voice Solution” can give them instructions on how the problem can be best resolved. In addition, our SMS-Chat platform can open additional lines for communication and allow agents to hold multiple conversations maximising the agents time.

Did you know call centre agents account for 70% of the expenditure on call centres? Using automation frees up the most expensive cost of debt collection, leaving staff to deal with the more complex cases making collection rates higher.

If you are looking for solutions to improve your debt collection rates over the toughest months following Christmas, call our team on 0345 356 5758 who will be happy to discuss our range of products and services for the finance sector.

month 11
day 17
year 2015

Enhance your click + collect service with Voice and SMS

click and collect voice and SMS communicationsBuying online may be popular at all times of year, but waiting at home for deliveries is not always convenient. 45% of online consumers in the UK used click-and-collect for Christmas shopping in 2014 which has made it the third most popular purchasing service in the UK.

A retailer’s job is to ensure their products as well as the customers’ experience is as smooth and efficient as possible in order to promote repeat visits and purchases, but are you optimising your click and collect service to encourage that?

Not only convenient for the customers, but free of charge too, click and collect means more people in store and more opportunities to benefit from impulse buying. A great win win scenario.

Complement your service

Reach your customers with the most convenient form of contact through interactive voice broadcasting. Sending a pre-recorded voice message eliminates the need for your staff members to spend time calling endless lists of telephone numbers and making manual calls, saving both their time and the company’s money. Proven to gain three times the response rate of traditional sales calls or email confirmations it is one of the most efficient services to exchange information over.

More personalised with specific, detailed information that the customer wants including where they can collect their delivery right through to stock updates when a desired item has reached their chosen branch, voice broadcasting makes for a well informed customer and an even better type of service to accompany it.

Showcase Your Services

Using a combination of both voice and SMS can enhance a customer’s experience of your brand, making their transaction one that is personalised and rich in customer value.

Consider using a two-tier process. Send an SMS once their order is confirmed by integrating with our API, or if you use Magento via our SMS plugin, then broadcast an automated voice message when it arrives in store. Keeping your customer up to date with a fresh and varied approach and one which puts to rest their shopping worries during holiday season.
For more information on utilising the power of Voice broadcasting and bulk SMS to aid click and collect please contact the team on 0345 356 5758 or sign up here for a free trial.