There has never been a time in human history when it has been easier to pay a bill. Where once people were forced to queue at a bank to withdraw cash and then traipse across town to hand that cash to their landlord/mechanic/energy provider, these days it’s as simple as clicking a button on a phone.
Which is great news for businesses - except for the fact many have failed to tick every box when it comes to payment options and do not appreciate how vital it is to know the payment option of choice for individual customers.
At a time when financial stress is rising on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly vital businesses provide convenient solutions for customers to pay debts and, as importantly, have multiple communication channels in place for early arrears management.
It goes without saying that businesses should do everything in their power to avoid any impairment for a customer to make a payment. Modern technology has ensured a suite of Click & Pay options through a variety of channels, be it SMS, messaging services, online apps and email. Further integration through the likes of Apple Pay and PayPal is also providing new and innovative ways to make financial resolutions as easy and seamless as possible.
Of course there will always be a segment of the community who prefer traditional means of paying bills. While I would happily never receive another paper bill in my life, there are those who demand the option and full power to them.
For businesses, this is where the significance of data analytics comes into play, with the more capable they are of determining customer behaviour, the more they are able to tailor their payment options to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Dollars and Sense
While offering every channel of choice for customers to pay their bills or communicate is ideal, that clearly needs to be balanced with the cost implications of opening the floodgates. It is at this point that our attention turns to the use of chatbots and their ability to facilitate early arrears management on behalf of organisations needing to manage costs and balance budgets.
By building a chatbot that can respond to the typical objections a debtor will use – and transfer them to a human when needed - businesses are able to ensure their agents are focusing on more important issues such as talking to those customers who are higher risk or in more sensitive situations. Highly capable staff coupled with the correct training are also able to deal with them appropriately and strive for a positive outcome.
It’s a given that businesses want as many of their staff as possible focusing on higher value tasks and when it comes to them working with high-risk customers - and leaving standard enquiries to chatbots - the reward will be a better rate of recovery return for the organisation.