From the early-stage to late-stage collections, we need to be on the same team and look out for consumers’ best interests. Helping them get through these difficult financial times by finding a way to assist them at all stages of collections together is the key to transforming the collection experience.
With the end of the pandemic within reach, 2021 presents a new opportunity to transform the collection process and make the past-due customer experience more positive.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, our CEO Amir Tajkarimi and two industry leaders, Nathan Slee, CEO of Progressa, and Bryan Szemenyei, President of Canaccede Financial Group, participated in a webinar panel discussion on how to transform the collection experience in 2021. Below we outline 4 key takeaways we learned from the discussion:
1. Early-stage and late-stage collections require different approaches
Although the fundamentals of dealing with past-due customers are the same at all stages of collections, the experience when collecting may differ between early-stage and late-stage.
Early-stage collections can be described as fishing with a fishing pole; You’re working with each past-due customer and can reach out to them to see what their ability to pay is, so you can develop a solution that works best for everyone. Late-stage collections can be described as fishing with a wide net. It may be harder to establish contact as there may be minimal contract information. There could be some difficulty locating past-due customers as they may have moved, or the current contact information may not be updated or accurate. There is also no relationship established at this stage, so it can be difficult to establish one, especially if you are having trouble locating them.
2. Consumers can be placed into two categories
Transforming into a digital-first world has been put in hyperdrive due to the pandemic, and we need to offer past-due customers a flexible, easy way to repay amounts owing. This comes in the form of providing self-service options where they can pay on their terms in a simplified manner.
By digitizing the collection process, you can collect past-due amounts 24/7 online using tools like a self-service payment portal to encourage payments. It’s also important to offer flexible payment options such as making a payment arrangement in these uncertain financial times. Past-due customers are much more comfortable with digital communication now, so all future contact and payment options should be digitized.
3. Provide flexible options to collect past-due accounts
Past-due customers don't intentionally try to be late on payments, so concessions need to be offered to help them through this holiday season to make the experience as friendly as possible. Flexible offerings can include deferring a required payment or moving a payment or two to next year. Because deferrals from the beginning of the pandemic have ended, that doesn't mean customers are no longer struggling; it's likely the opposite.
4. 2021 will see a rise in past-due customers
From early-stage to late-stage collections, 2021 is going to look different. As government financial assistance programs and deferrals end, there will be a large increase in past-due customers that will need more help than ever to settle their accounts. By providing empathetic, understanding messaging using digital reminders and self-service, flexible online payment options, we can stand by them and work with them to come to a solution together. 2021 will undoubtedly be a challenging year for some, but helping alleviate some of that stress with the flexible options may help past-due customers get through it.
This year, we have an opportunity to transform the collection experience to provide a more positive experience for past-due customers.
Download the webinar here to watch the full discussion!