The financial industry has been undergoing a digital transformation. From waiting in queues outside bank to getting most things done online, the industry has come a long way. Automation has been at the very center of this transformation, always. The priority for eradicating any scope for human error is very high here.
Financial enterprises deal with a lot of sensitive information, performing certain crucial tasks all through it, on which masses are dependent. History has proved that no matter how careful we are, people commit errors resulting in regular mishaps. Automation has essentially changed the landscape. It has smoothened the process leading to better data management, heightened security and importantly, hassle free customer support.
Now, one of the challenges that financial enterprises face is during debt collection. It is a tedious task for them, especially when it requires a certain level of personalisation. The debt collection process heavily relies on outbound calling from the collection department / call center. Using a chatbot for the same becomes a better solution for the first level of outreach. Calling a debtor who does not require human persuasion is a wasted effort and can be smartly handled by AI powered chatbots.
What is a Chatbot?
Chatbot is an AI-driven conversational bot that can hold any human-like interaction, while accessing all the data at their disposal in real-time. The chatbot is a highly efficient solution which can be integrated with any interactive platform including social media, apps, SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber etc.
Chatbots work by prompting commands that might be relevant to the customer. Once the customer responds to the prompt, the chatbot will reveal series of information and commands as per requirement. The entire flow of the conversation is trained into the bot. In case the bot fails to resolve a query, it is smart enough to suggest self-serving alternatives or hand-over to a human agent.
For example: On a bank’s website, you might want to check your balance. The bot will serve relevant commands including “Account Balance”. Upon clicking on it, it will ask you to verify your identity and then showcase the result. All of this can be conducted within few minutes, ensuring frictionless customer support.
How Chatbots Can Enable Debt Collection?
Debt collection, as mentioned before, is a tedious task. The customer might need frequent support which might cost lots of time and effort. It is difficult to expend so much attention on each customer every month. The manpower and the operational cost will be extremely high. Automating this process with chatbots, that are available around the clock is a smarter choice.
Debt collection requires a lot of legal attention. It requires verification of the defaulter, reason behind non-payment, when the customer can pay and more. While most customers will pay when reminded, some might see an opportunity to evade. To have a complete error-free conversation with the debtors every day is hectic.
Chatbots can however, non-consequentially remind the debtor about their unpaid dues. They can do so on conversational interfaces like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Viber or SMS. At the same time, it can offer the customer multiple integrated options to pay the debt. You will no longer need to assign an agent to consistently pursue a customer until they pay, cause it is taxing for your team.
These chatbots can be tuned as per your company personality and requirements. It can be trained to remind the customer after a certain interval and send notifications as per protocol. Such notifications can be sent out across all the touchpoints, via an omnichannel platform.
Why Use Chatbots For Collecting Debts?
Debt collection usually relies on frequent calling and intimidation. But it does not improve the debt collection rates. Understanding the psychology of the debtors and creating proper strategy for debt collection is vital. Because of the stigma associated with debt and financial problems, a segment of debtors is not comfortable to discuss it over call.
Deploying a digital first strategy is more customer centric and relieves the debtor of any guilt while interacting over a chatbot. Also the chatbot does not exhibit a bias or judgement which is demonstrated by a human collection agent.
Obviously the chatbots are always available. They take no breaks and never quits. They can pursue your debtors relentlessly, without expending time or effort. That being said, many fraudulent debtors might want to avoid debt collection calls. It is easier for them to block your company number or ignore the messages or even talk down an agent. However, they cannot do the same with a bot. The bot will send out regular reminders and offer different options to the debtor to select from. It can do so, once it is integrated with your existing data management system or CRM. Upon identification, it can update the customer accordingly.
Some smart persuasion techniques like showcasing how credit score gets impacted because of bad debt or debt and its impact on health and well-being can be prompted by the chatbot. It can also arrange a call or chat with an advisor if required.
Once a customer clears their debt, the chatbot can greet them with personalised thank you messages and encourage them for staying for more hassle-free support.
Debt collection is a delicate matter, and a bias free approach is most appropriate. Debt collection chatbots should use machine learning, behavioral engineering, and human psychology to humanize the debt collection process.
Designing debt collection chatbots is both an art and science. While it should not be intimidating it should be persuasive and be more personalized so that the debtors feel comfortable to interact and eventually improve the debt collection rates.