Blog & Insights
The Case for an Omnichannel Communication Strategy
It’s hard to fathom, but there are still collection and recovery organizations that have not yet adopted an omnichannel communication strategy. There’s likely a host of reasons why, but many of these reasons are misconceptions. Let’s look at some of these misconceptions, as well as the benefits of an omnichannel communication strategy.
Misconception #1: Customers want reminders by mail or phone
It’s an important part of the process for collections and recovery – having staff send out payment reminders by mail or calling customers to remind them of deadlines. In today’s ultra-busy world, clients appreciate these reminders.
But, with more than 309 million people in the U.S. having smartphones and the average American spending nearly seven hours online per day, consumers are beginning to show a preference for hearing from businesses via text or email.
In fact, 50% of U.S. consumers prefer to receive payment reminders via email while 23% prefer to get payment reminders via text.* This preference isn’t only among the younger generations, who are thought to adapt to the digital world more quickly and easily. Older consumers, often seen as slow to embrace new technology, also have shown a similar preference. Among U.S. consumers 65 and older, 53% prefer to receive payment reminders via email.*
While it might be easier to continue their standard procedures when it comes to reminders, collections and recovery organizations are missing an opportunity to connect with consumers. Adopting an omnichannel communication strategy empowers consumers to choose where, when, and how they want to engage. Incorporating digital channels, such as text and email, will become increasingly critical as agencies strive to improve consumer outreach.
Misconception #2: Consumers want bills mailed to them
The era of receiving a printed statement in the mail, writing a check, and then sending that payment through the mail is coming to an end. With the proliferation of Wi-Fi availability, digital hotspots, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, it is easier than ever to conduct all types of business online.
As the world went digital, consumers quickly embraced online shopping for its convenience. And the same applies to receiving and paying bills. Getting statements via email has proven to be convenient and timelier than via standard “snail mail.” So much so that 40% of U.S. adults prefer to receive bills and statements via email.*
Using the mail system used to be the best way to send statements and receive payments. But, as with just about everything in life, things change. Since customers have moved online, ARM organizations must embrace the efficiency of electronic statements.
Misconception #3: Customers think paying online isn’t secure
One of the biggest barriers to online adoption for many is security. With almost daily reports of hacking, data breaches, and computer viruses, it is easy to understand why consumers might be hesitant to join the online world. As such, collections and recovery organizations have also been hesitant to embrace digital payments or an online payment platform.
However, as consumers have become more comfortable online, their fears have diminished. So much so that 64% of U.S. consumers believe paying online is secure.* That’s higher than the 47% of consumers who believe mailing a check is secure. And it is also higher than the 34% who say paying over the phone is secure.
Again, this trust isn’t only among younger consumers. Among U.S. consumers who are 65 and older, 65% believe that paying online is secure.*
By reaching consumers where they are and providing convenient payment options, collections and recovery organizations not only improve the customer experience but also increase the likelihood of receiving payments.
The benefits of omnichannel communication
An innovative software platform that enables agents to develop and manage a complete omnichannel communication strategy can increase employee efficiency and boost collections. Among the many benefits, an omnichannel communication strategy can:
- Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering convenience, personalization, and relevance. Customers can choose their preferred channel and time to communicate with the organization and receive tailored messages and offers based on their needs and preferences.
- Enhance revenue and cash flow by increasing customer retention, conversion, and collection rates. An omnichannel communication strategy can build trust and loyalty with customers, which can reduce churn. It can also provide timely and relevant incentives to customers, encouraging them to complete their transactions or pay their bills.
- Increase operational efficiency and reduce costs by optimizing self-service options, automation tools, and data analytics. An omnichannel communication strategy can enable customers to resolve their issues or make payments without the need for live agents. This can reduce call volumes and handling times. These agents can then focus on more pressing tasks.
This efficiency can be increased when omnichannel communication functionality is integrated into your workflow system. It becomes even more efficient when your workflow system includes an online payment platform. In an era of consolidation and efficiency, using separate systems for workflow, communication, and payments is inefficient and counterproductive. Companies need a flexible and configurable omnichannel platform that can enhance customer interactions.
Organizations can increase collection rates by contacting customers through their channel of choice whether by email, text, phone, or letter. And employees can be more efficient by creating, executing, and tracking communications through the same system.
Make it personal
Using a unified omnichannel platform allows organizations to create personalized customer treatment strategies. Organizations can tailor self-service journeys to specific customer circumstances. Representatives can use response data and direct customer feedback to determine the preferred channel. And an omnichannel platform can automate follow-ups and program tracking to ensure organizations act as a partner to customers throughout the entire process.
That sounds like case closed to me!
If that’s not enough, click here to learn more about omnichannel collection software.
*Data taken from the Finvi survey report “Understanding Today’s Digital Consumer.”