How to digitise your collections process

How efficient is your payments collection process? Well, in this context, ‘efficiency’ can mean many different things. At its core, it’s a measure of how effective your organisation is at securing payments from customers, accurately and on time – or, when overdue, as quickly as possible after that due date.

But efficiency can also relate to how much your collections process costs you. That’s everything from the customer journey you offer, to how environmentally impactful you are. A truly efficient collections process optimises all of these areas – collecting payments effectively, at a low cost, whilst also minimising environmental impact and ensuring a positive experience for customers.

Digitising your collections process can achieve all this. Here’s how.

 

The challenges of a legacy approach

First, let’s remind ourselves what legacy approaches to payment collections typically look like. Many large organisations rely on the traditional approach of sending out letters when payments are upcoming or overdue, in which customers are provided with a particular time period in which to pay. Maybe they’ll include an SMS reminder – though this will typically just advise the customer to call a contact centre. Alternatively, they may have a team of contact centre agents, placing outbound calls through a dialler and requesting payments which is very inefficient and expensive.

All these approaches are very resource-intensive. Sending out letters alone can cost around 40p to 50p every time. Then you need to staff a contact centre with agents, who will typically be able to process three to four customers per hour if they are making proactive outbound calls chasing payments, or slightly more if they are managing inbound queries. Remember, the agent needs to manually update the CRM system each time they make or receive a call. We calculate agent cost at around £20 per agent per hour, based on both their flat cost, the call cost, and the hardware and software they depend on – so perhaps £5 or £8 per customer if they are very efficient.

So it’s an expensive way of chasing payments. It also uses up a great deal of paper when letters are involved – which translates directly to carbon footprint. Furthermore, it’s not the smoothest and simplest experience for customers. There are several stages involved. They may need to search out their account details each time. And that’s assuming that the information on the alert was accurate in the first place.

 

Digitised collections: a transformative innovation

Digitised payment collections, by contrast, focus on delivering a joined-up, paper-free collections process, which in many cases can be entirely self-service on the part of the customer.

They receive an email or SMS which has been automatically generated by the payments platform, meaning greater accuracy, and greater efficiency inside the company. From there, they can click straight through to a payments portal or tool, and make their payment within seconds of receiving the alert. Again, this is far quicker and more efficient than a paper-based process – both for the customer and the business in question. The entire process can even be tailored to be bespoke to the organisation’s branding.

Should the amount requested be incorrect, or the customer have a more complex query such as a change of address or a requirement for extra help, they can still go through the process of speaking to an agent – and this frees up that agent resource to be focused precisely where it is most needed.

In short, then, digitised payments collections deliver improved efficiency in multiple ways. They deliver greater environmental efficiency – Revive managed to reduce one customer’s lettering by 20%. They also deliver greater resource efficiency, freeing up agents to focus only on complex queries, and automating previously manual processes. They deliver greater cost efficiency – the cost of a collection with Revive is less than 40p per payment, as opposed to £5 or more with an agent. And ultimately, they enable customers to make payments faster.

Are you ready to digitise your collections process? Contact Revive today to find out more.

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