Author: Sarah Britton
Banks are becoming well-versed in adopting digital technology. It makes banking slicker and easier for customers, which improves engagement and retention. Many of these technologies also have a role to play in enhancing digital collections software.
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Technology that is already in use by banks could also help improve usability and convenience for collections’ customers.
Take scanning technology, for instance, which is being used more and more widely to pre-populate forms, or scan a card to make a payment. The user simply uses the built-in camera on their smartphone to take a snap of a document and the relevant information is instantly filled in with the help of character recognition software. Already being used to pre-populate passport, driving licence and credit card information and saving the user from having to manually type information. Meanwhile, some digital banking solutions are already taking data feeds from data providers and the banks themselves to pre-populate transaction data.
In digital collections, where customers are offered a non-confrontational debt recovery service by means of a self-serve option, this sort of tech can also be applied to enhance the user experience. Similar data feeds could be used to pre-populate income and expenditure fields, or even use the customers banking data to pre-fill information such as monthly mortgage payments. Scanning bills for form population and cards for easy payment, again, make the customer journey as seamless and possible, and of course, removes barriers to use.
Biometric technologies are now everyday tools, providing a secure and easy-to-use means of identifying ourselves on our smart devices. Banks are using biometrics to allow customers to authorise actions as well as gain access to apps and information. Face, fingerprint, hand geometry, vein and iris recognition… Voice, signature, typing, gait, odour and even DNA… The possibilities are continually growing.
As customers become more accustomed to this method of authenticating themselves, digital collections software is likey to follow the banks’ example, to ease the authentication process and streamline payments for their customers.
Chatting with bots
Chat bots: this increasingly popular technology is already being used by banks to have conversations with their clients.
As Tom described in his Chat bots: The new face of digital collections? post:
“Chat bots are intelligent computer programs that can take part in meaningful written or spoken conversations with people. They use technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to understand what we want, answer naturally and learn from their conversations with us.”
Banks are using chat bots to engage with customers through standalone apps on their mobiles, messaging apps, web chat browser apps and smart personal assistants as Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa.
Digital collections software users could make payments, check their outstanding balance, get suggestions whilst progressing through the user journey, or even get help with managing their situation by simply chatting with the bot.
Video for face-to-face conversations
While new digital technology offers customers in collections the opportunity to self-serve, at a time convenient to them, in a non-confrontational manner, we must also acknowledge that there will always be customers who prefer face-to-face conversations.
Video chat, a face-to-face conversation over the internet via a computer, tablet or smartphone device, is already in use in banking, with virtual mortgage advisors using mortgage software for example. Lloyds and Barclays are just two of the banks offering video chat to customers to allow them to hold a secure conversation from anywhere, on their device, rather than having to come into the branch for a face-to-face conversation
In digital collections, video chat would allow customers to utilise the digital channel, with all the benefits it provides, with the option of a ‘real person’ to talk to should it be required. With this approach, the agent or advisor has the benefit of being able to view all the information the customer has inputted and see the same screens the customer is seeing, enabling personalised and informed advice.
Getting in touch
Lastly, when we first reach out to customers in collections we need to reach out on a digital channel they know they can trust. If we don’t, customers may simply ignore our communications thinking they are spam or phishing.
Currently, we tend to use SMS or email. But there are other messaging technologies emerging, that have an application in banking and collections alike, to get in touch with the customer in a way they can trust.
Take WhatsApp as an example. Already popular as a personal smartphone instant messaging service with over one billion people using it daily, WhatsApp is currently gearing up to offer business messaging services. With verified profiles for businesses, this could prove a real benefit in building trust with the customer that any message asking them to visit the self-serve collections portal are legitimate.
But WhatsApp isn’t the only messenger service looking to offer enterprise-grade services that can help in this customer contact enhancement: Facebook’s Messenger, Apple’s Business Chat, WeChat and others offer similar services.
Taking full advantage
We understand how important it is for you to be able to quickly integrate these new technologies into your digital collections software and explore contact strategies – so please reach out if you’d like us to help.