How to make collection calls? Cash in on the right technology.

“A customer who is delinquent on a loan is, first and foremost, a customer. If handled correctly, a collections customer can still yield new sales. If handled incorrectly, current and future sales could be lost.” Chris Maranis* As most contact centers for financial institutions, products and services know, debt collection calls constitute a large volume of agent work. This includes loan or credit card payment reminders, upcoming payments, and overdue bill collections. These calls are rarely pleasant. This controversial and potentially confrontational topic needs to be tackled with sensitivity, speed, and most importantly, loads of tact! Let’s consider some possible scenarios:  Call 1 Agent: “Mr. X, we are calling from Y Bank to remind you of your overdue payment of $$ towards your home loan repayment. Customer: “I can’t talk, I’m busy.” The customer hangs up. Call 2 Agent: Good morning mam, I’m calling on behalf of Moneybags Bank. Have you made the payment on your Gold Credit Card for the month of January? Customer: I am doing it today. Stop bothering me. The customer hangs up. Sound familiar? Our research data suggests that to convey 1,000 collection messages you need to make 2,500 calls. This means that to get a live connect you must dial an average of dial 2.5 times. And after that, customers rarely answer on the first try! Reasons like customers asking for a callback, noncooperation or wrong numbers, mean that almost 60% of the connected calls don’t serve the intended purpose. This is a huge drain on time and manpower. Furthermore, due to the sensitive nature of debt collection, customers mostly prefer indirect communication. It enables convenient, informational and less emotionally charged experiences. The 3 most effective technologies for collection calls The first step to improving your collection call process is to select the right communication channels. You want to choose these channels based on a deep understanding of your customer. The aim is to make the whole process as stress-free as possible. From the contact center’s point of view, you want to maximize reach and minimize time wastage. 1. Voice bots Using voice bots for collections is the way of the future. Efficient, unbiased, and enhanced with NLP, these AI-powered voice bots can be, ironically, just the right tool needed to humanize the debt collection process. Voice bots integrate with your dialer APIs to call your entire database in a matter of minutes. They reduce unproductive agent time and connect agents only to those customers who actually want to speak to one. Voice bots don’t just relay the message, they use NLP and intent recognition to understand what the customer says, even if they don’t give direct yes/no answers. They can reschedule calls, create and save dispositions, or divert calls to agents if needed. In cases where a customer turns hostile over a call, the bot can relay a statutory warning message and “intuitively” gauge when human intervention is needed. The bot advantage Bots give businesses both a productivity edge and a CX [...]

How to make collection calls? Cash in on the right technology. 2019-11-14T12:53:49+00:00

A Quick & Easy Guide to ‘Automatic Call Distribution’

ACD, aka Automatic Call Distribution, is a telephony software tool that automates incoming call distribution amongst your staff. A business can define rules for how this distribution takes place, based on their needs.  Generally, an ACD works with your call routing parameters to connect callers to the right department; and then follows another set of rules to determine how these calls are distributed amongst your workforce. First, Understand Call Routing There are two steps to distributing your calls perfectly amongst your workforce.  The first step is call routing. Call Routing is a set of rules that determine which agent, or group of agents, should answer your call, at which time.   This could be based on agent skills, timings, or customer priority.   Suppose, your customer needs to speak with someone who has a particular expertise; this system will route their call to this expert agent. Or, if someone needs a person who speaks their language, the call routing system helps them connect with the apt person. (Also Read: Skill Routing.) You can even ensure that a customer is routed to the same agent every single time.  Apart from this, you have multiple ways to route calls as per customer priority or customer category. (Also Read:  How to make your customer feel like a VIP) Second, Decode ACD At Ozonetel, we consider ACD or Automatic Call Distribution, as the second feature that comes into play when routing calls.  Let’s say your call has routed to the correct department, based on your routing rules. Now, how do you distribute these calls amongst all the agents qualified to take the call? That’s where you use your ACD, or automatic call distributor, to take care of things. Here are the two different ways in which you can set up your ACD: Idle Agent First In this kind of call distribution, the system sends the call to the agent who has handled the least duration of calls so far.  How does your system calculate this? Simple. Every agent logs in to receive calls, so the system keeps track of both talk time and idle times for each agent. Based on this, it sends calls to the agent with the maximum idle time. This means that, suppose Agent 1 has answered three calls so far, totaling 20 minutes; and Agent 2 has answered two calls totaling 30 minutes, the call goes to Agent 1. In other words, work is not distributed based on the number of calls, but on total call duration. Result: Total talk time is evenly distributed amongst your workforce.   Round Robin  The other way to distribute calls is via Round Robin. In this system, we have a fixed sequence for distributing calls. Let’s say you have assigned a sequence: Agent 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on. When a call comes in, if Agent 1 does not answer, it passes on to Agent 2, and so on, until the call is finally answered. Let’s say Agent 3 answers this call. Then the next call [...]

A Quick & Easy Guide to ‘Automatic Call Distribution’ 2019-10-17T13:19:55+00:00

Everything call centers should know about HIPAA

Does your healthcare practice use a VOIP a cloud telephony system to communicate with patients, forward or answer calls? Or does your call center cater to the healthcare vertical? In either case, HIPAA awareness is critical for you. We’ve compiled an exhaustive blog on everything you need to know about HIPAA compliance for your call center or phone communications. What is HIPAA? HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a United States legislation. It offers data privacy and security for the safe upkeep of the medical information. This act came into being after a series of health data breaches that were caused by ransomware attacks and cyberattacks on various healthcare providers and insurers.  What does HIPAA do? HIPAA safeguards patients’ medical records and other personal information.  It protects patients’ privacy and gives them more control over their health information. It holds violators accountable. With civil and criminal penalties if they violate patients’ privacy rights. It sets boundaries on the use and release of health records. Establishes safeguards for the confidential handling of health information Who needs to be HIPAA compliant? If you are a US-based healthcare provider, healthcare clearinghouse or health plan, your business, and everyone who handles your data, needs to be HIPAA compliant. This includes your call centers too—wherever they may be located. HIPAA & Patient Telephone Calls HIPAA changes the way you answer customer calls, store their information, and communicate key data. Your call center needs to encrypt and secure all customer data.  HIPAA & Outbound Calls If the patient has given you their telephone number as contact detail,  then as per FCC, this can be considered express consent for telephone calls to be made. But you can make these outbound calls only for the following reasons:  Provision of treatment. Health checkup. Appointments and reminders. Test reports. Pre-operative instructions. Post-discharge follow-up calls. Intimations on prescriptions. Home healthcare instructions. Hospital pre-registration instructions. During these calls, you need to ensure that: Your call center agent should provide their name and contact details to the customer.  Every call should be short and precise.  Test messages should not exceed more than 160. Call Centers cannot call patients more than two to three times a week. Text messages can be sent just once in a day The calls and text messages cannot be charged to the client. The calls and messages must adhere to the plan limits. When you leave messages on answering machines, provide patients with a toll-free number to contact again. HIPAA & Automated calls You will need written consent from the patient to make outbound calls to them via an auto-dialing device.  HIPAA & SMS Physicians and pharmacists can continue to remind patients about appointments or medicine refills via SMS. Texts that fall under minimum necessary standards” are allowed. You need to follow some technical safeguards:  The text must not contain any personal identifiers.  Patient health information should be accessible only to authorized users. Ensure that whatever software you use to send SMS can only [...]

Everything call centers should know about HIPAA 2019-09-13T08:24:28+00:00

Can an IVR be part of a work of art?

Would you ever imagine that an Interactive Voice Response can be part of a work of art? Yes, the very same IVR, or voice response that greets you when you call businesses to book appointments (or complain).  In the right hands (and with the right voices) apparently, it can. Project “On Her Own” is one of the grant winners of the Gender Bender Project 2019— a joint venture by the Sandbox Collective and the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.  The project encourages women to call a phone number where they can listen to a story, and then leave a story of their own. On 1st August, we got a tweet from Thejesh GN thanking KOOKOO for its reliable and affordable API’s that he used for the project. Now, when your company provides technology solutions, you know your chances of being part of an art project are slim to zero. So, knowing our tech helped actualise one, was exciting news for us. A nice break from thinking about sales and customer support issues. (Don’t get us wrong, we do love thinking about sales and support issues too!) Anyway, we didn’t waste much time in catching up with Thejesh about the project. Our first question was, why did you choose us? As in, why did you choose telephony to be part of an art project? Thejesh explained, “when we were thinking about the best way was to get women to tell their story, we thought: why not a phone call? The phone gives the caller both privacy and a feeling of intimacy.” It is, as he pointed out, a place where we are used to sharing stories — with our friends and family — about events that take place in our lives and others lives. Sure enough, when I called into +91-80660-84304 the story I heard, though fictionalised, was narrated like someone talking to a friend. And the sound quality is excellent. I hear every tonal nuance as my narrator moves between witty comebacks to her husband and anxious fears for her daughter. We’ve always wanted our KOOKOO API’s to free creative minds to develop and run innovative solutions. We love how easily Thejesh was able to whip together a solution with KOOKOO. The architecture is explained by Thejesh in his blog, and basically does this: When you call, the IVR captures your language preference, and runs you through the basic concept of Project On Her Own, encouraging you to leave a story of your own. It will then pick a story for you to listen to. After you listen, it will allow you to record a story you leave behind. When you press # your recording is accepted, and the line disconnects. The system, created over 35 days, accepts stories in English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. “KOOKOO makes it easy and is friendly to work with” says Thejesh, who has worked with our platform before on the innovative Nextdrop campaign. You can catch our IVR’s brush with art “On Her [...]

Can an IVR be part of a work of art? 2019-08-09T06:15:11+00:00

9 Strategies to integrate Social Media with your Customer Care

Learn how social media can help you deliver better support than ever before. Social media platforms provide customers with more power and influence than ever. When they are happy with a brand, they take to their favorite platforms to express their delight. Likewise, a disgruntled customer will also take to social channels to express disappointment. And this has a wide-ranging impact: 45% of consumers share bad customer service experiences via social media. 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.   Therefore, it makes sense for businesses to aim for stellar customer service over social media platforms too. In time, this could be the channel at the forefront of customer care.  But you probably already have a robust customer care strategy built around an all-star contact center team that follows established processes. In that scenario, are you concerned about how to integrate social into your customer care strategy? Here are some pointers: Choose the Right Channels Just because your competitors are making their mark on a social media channel, you don’t have to follow suit! You need to make the most of the channels on which your audience spends its time. For instance, if you serve the Gen-Z, then Instagram may be your channel. If you serve an older audience, then Facebook may be more appropriate. Know Your Voice When you have several executives managing your brand’s social profiles, there’s the chance of your brand’s voice becoming fragmented and the message getting diluted. Therefore, it is essential for all your social posts, ads, service responses, and comments to be consistent and in-sync with your brand’s values. This will allow you to create a uniform perception of your unique voice. Set Guidelines Set stringent guidelines that drive impeccable social customer support. Like the brand voice, each point in the guideline should align with the core values of your company. The guidelines can include points like response times for each channel, language and tone, escalation protocols and message approval and moderation procedures. Which basically means that all the processes you set in place for your contact center just need to be fine-tuned for social media. A key challenge here is to set customer expectations. For eg., social media is 24*7 but your customer support need not be so. It’s perfectly ok to prominently let your customers know your hours of operation and define by which time you will address their query. Of course, it’s then critically important to do so as committed.  Use Chatbots to Address DM Queries Direct messages are a prominent feature on most social media platforms. Many customers post their queries directly. And they expect a specific and timely response. According to a report, one-third of customers expect brands to respond in less than 30 minutes. A modern way to handle the incoming messages and respond to them in real-time is to create a chatbot. The bot will help address and solve most of the queries on the [...]

9 Strategies to integrate Social Media with your Customer Care 2019-07-29T13:43:06+00:00