Lending and debt collection can often be a tricky path to navigate. It takes a keen understanding of both technology and people. So how can lenders manage their collections more effectively, leverage technology for better results, and still keep the process customer-friendly? The answers lie in adopting a strategic, omnichannel approach to collections that balances the practicality of business with empathy towards customers.
Through this article, we’ll delve into ten key insights offering new perspectives on the art of collections management. From harnessing the power of cloud solutions to building compassionate relationships with customers – these takeaways are sure to enlighten you!
These insights have been pulled directly from our enriching webinar featuring industry experts who shared their vast experience and knowledge on this topic. The panelists included:
- Ravish Gupta, Business Head, Capri Global Capital Ltd
- Tushar Nijhawan, Product Head, Godrej Capital
- Swapnil Jadhav, Head, Project Management, India Shelter Finance Corp
- Pawan Goyal, Head, Regional Collections, Navi Finserv
- Vineet Kumar Tiwari, Assistant, Vice President, LeadSquared
- Sagar Rane, VP, Sales at Ozonetel
- Prerna Ramesh, Product Manager, Ozonetel
In the webinar, experts shared insights on technology for tracking, customer-centricity, cloud solutions, agent training, digital payments, compliance, and field agent productivity, all contributing to enhanced debt recovery through automation. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
Use Data to Track Defaulter Behavior
The first aspect to consider is how technology can help you tracking customer behavior more effectively. Use this data to tailor your communication strategies for digital debt collection.
Tools like AI, messaging platforms, and omnichannel systems allow collectors to understand customer behavior through data and reach them on their preferred platforms.Use these tools to analyze your customer interactions and identify signals that can help you design more effective collection flows.
It is also important for you to integrate your systems, channels, and data sources to get a 360-degree customer view. This unified view of your customer can help you create consistent messsaging and equip your agents and debt collectors with the information they need to communicate more effectively.
As Ravish said, “Technology is playing a role where I can see which of my customers is paying to someone else and denying me. Or which of my customers has an income but is intentionally defaulting. Or which of my customers is avoiding calls at a particular time frame but is picking up my call at a certain time frame.”
Be Empathetic. Understand Why Your Customer is Defaulting
Multiple panelists emphasized adopting a customer-centric, empathetic approach to digital debt collection. This is especially important given the stringent regulations around debt collections. Taking time to understand customers’ financial situations and reasons for default enables better resolution.
As Ravi mentioned, “The regulations are getting more stringent, but the customer is also getting more knowledgeable and aware about the effects if he is not paying on time.”
When you establish a two-way dialogue to identify pain points and concerns, it builds rapport and trust. As Ravi said, recovery is about establishing a relationship, not just demanding repayment. While the goal is recovering debts, the process matters. Thus, collectors should focus on resolving defaults through mutual understanding and transparent communication, not aggressive tactics. Technology enables customization at scale, but human empathy remains vital.
Use Cloud Solutions To Become Agile, Resilient
Resilience, business continuity, and compliance are essential for regulated lending. More and more banking, insurance, and financial services companies are finding that the cloud offers higher dependability and flexibility than on-premise systems..
Specifically, the cloud enables easy integration between data, channels, and touchpoints. It allows rapid implementation of omnichannel collection processes and adaptations like increased capacity. AI tools to extract signals from data also often leverage cloud infrastructure. Hence, the cloud delivers key capabilities like scalability, disaster recovery, and rapid integration that are pivotal for digital debt collection.
As per Sagar, “Most of the solutions that we have in the cloud space are compliant now, be it ISO, PCDS, or a DGPR. What we have seen post-pandemic across the collection and lending spaces is that businesses are looking for resilience.”
Train Agents to Preserve Customer Relationships During Collections
Conversations around collections and defaults are tricky. You need to train your agents to be sensitive, yet assertive. Tushar explains, “If the agents are a little bit more empathetic with the clients rather than being stunned or being arrogant with them, that also helps.”
We must train agents to build customer relationships and trust to help them repay. Rather than antagonizing customers with aggressive collection tactics, use an empathetic and positive engagement strategy. Understanding the customer’s situation and why they have defaulted empathetically right from the first call can actually resolve many issues. Conduct communication training to ensure that your agents use tactics that maintain compliance and the company’s reputation. Like in many other businesses, you must provide consistent feedback to agents on improving interactions. The right skills and approach will not only ensure successful collections, but also preserve customer relationships.
Use Digital Payments To Transform Cash Collection
Digital payments via UPI, payment banks, and aggregators are simplifying cash collection. They make payment instant and easy. Companies can consider options like dynamic QR codes for self-service repayments to minimize operational overheads.
Payment banks and aggregators can also provide cash collection points nearby for customers, eliminating the need to send agents for pick-up. Digital payments allow convenient options for customers to repay and save significant time and costs for lenders. This is a notable transformation from the earlier high-friction cash collection processes.
As Ravi mentioned, “Now, even for cash collection, you don’t have to send your person. A lot of payment banks and aggregators are available in the market through which you can actually get the collection done in cash form from a nearby shop within his geography.”
Maintain Compliance through Communication Oversight
Maintaining compliance is difficult enough, but it doesn’t have to be. Align your communications to regulations around timing, channels, language, and tone. We caution against the usage of public social media platforms. Once again, recording interactions and oversight mechanisms help ensure compliance.
Companies must also ensure strict access control when it comes to communications. Restrict access to prevent unauthorized outreach. Overall, careful usage of technology coupled with monitoring of collection communication is essential for compliance. This protects customers and the brand’s reputation.
While talking about using social media and other tools to find customers, Ravi said, “You cannot communicate with the client on any open platform or because, again, the regulator comes there. You cannot again harass anyone.”
Maximize Collections for Field Agents with Location Data
Next, use location data to optimize routing and planning for field agents. Use proximity-based sequencing of collection visits within defined geographies to improves productivity. This helps agents to plan their collection visits accordingly and make optimum use of their time on the field.
As Tushar said, “He knows that within the span of, let’s say, 5 km or 10 km, there are 15 or 20 clients who have done some default within this organization.”
Route optimization algorithms help maximize collections per day for each agent. Thus, location data and analytics help increase operational efficiency and resolution rates of field-based collections.
Create Targeted Collection Strategies with Customer Segmentation
Analytics and data intelligence support granular segmentation of customers, enabling tailored collection strategies. Identifying intentional defaulters early and understanding their concerns is vital. It prevents a one-size-fits-all approach.
Customized strategies adapted to customer profiles and behaviors improve results. Mine the extensive data available on lending customers to derive insights and tailor optimal collection flows.
According to Ravi, “Tools are giving us filtered information. Tools are guiding us. They tell us with whom you have to talk and in which way.” That means we can identify the most effective channel and provide a personalized experience to customers.
Through segmentation, companies can decide which field collection agents must be assigned to a specific customer segment. This helps them to adopt the most suitable approach when interacting with a customer. It also gives them an opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge on how to handle different types of customers.
To conclude, it’s clear that effective and empathetic debt collection is a multifaceted process, enhanced by balancing technology and human touch.
Adopting a strategic, omnichannel collections approach that is both business-centric and people-friendly is pivotal. It strikes a balance between business requirements and treating customers with care during challenging financial situations.
The future of digital debt collection will undoubtedly continue to evolve as emerging technologies meet customer needs. It promises an era where debt recovery is not only more efficient but also respectful and empathetic towards every individual at the other end of the line.
This conversation doesn’t have to end here! Stay tuned as we continue our exploration into this topic in our upcoming webinars.
Ozonetel For Effective Debt Collection
With Ozonetel’s powerful omnichannel CX platform, you can enhance your collections and strengthen debt recovery efforts. This includes proactive follow-ups, efficient field visits, and targeted call campaigns. Ozonetel offers rapid deployment, allowing you to set up a contact center in days. Collection agents can schedule calls and notifications promptly, utilizing debt collection automation and customer segmentation. Want to see what Ozonetel can do for your company? Sign up today for a free 21-day trial.