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Chris Smith | 07 November, 2023

Finding the right balance between self-service and human connection

Self-service is becoming more and more prominent in modern collections as a way for customers to resolve their debt on their own terms. But can it truly replace the direct human-to-human contact that has been integral to collections for decades?

In this article, we explore the balance of self-service capabilities in context with direct customer contact from a podcast conversation between Christina Fisher (Manager, Growth Marketing) of C&R Software and Austin Keate (Director of Collections) of Texas Dealer Solutions.

Self-service: an efficient solution that suits specific customers

Engagement is the basis of any collections relationship, but it can become a challenge when every customer has a different preference from the next. One may respond to SMS, another a phone call, and the next may not like either. In the case of the latter, these customers are facing understandably difficult circumstances, and probably feel uncomfortable with most forms of engagement.

Self-service is a solution for customers that are unresponsive for whatever reason. Whether they feel embarrassed or in a tricky situation, self-service opportunities allow them to resolve their debt on their own terms. Chat bots, dedicated portals and automated payment plans let customers self-resolve without any contact from your team.

The balance of self-service and human-to-human contact

It’s proven that self-service features directly enhance collections performance, but this only works for the group of your customers that it suits. On the other side of the scale, there are customers that are unresponsive to almost every form of electronic engagement (SMS, email, chat bots, portals etc.).

Instead, these customers value and engage with human-to-human interactions with your team. To help them resolve, you need to create a consistent channel of communication that ideally starts before they are delinquent. This creates a strong base of data and healthy relationships where they engage with you, and you can create data-driven strategies to help them self-resolve. The fact is, you need to support both self-service opportunities and human-to-human contact to truly enhance your resolution rates.

Up-to-date software is the key to maximizing engagement

Technology is the key to accommodating the engagement preferences of your customers. But not just any technology; if you’re using legacy software that cannot support features like chat bot capabilities, your team will end up doing the rest of the manual work!

You need a configurable collections platform to provide a balance of self-service, direct contact and omnichannel communications for your customers. That way, all of your customers are accommodated with an equal level of service and support across each channel. Better yet, they automate manual tasks and analysis so that your team has more time to focus on customers that prefer facetime over chat bots. Everyone’s happy.

Find the perfect balance of customer engagement with Debt Manager

There is no single simple solution to improving engagement and resolution rates with your customers. You need to accommodate the preferences of each, whether it be through self-service or direct contact. This sounds like more work for your team, but a configurable platform can actually make it less.

C&R Software’s industry leading Debt Manager utilizes AI and automation to seamlessly balance self-service capabilities and direct engagement with your customers. Data-driven processes and omnichannel support makes it simple for your team to engage with customers to enhance resolution rates and efficiently hit KPI’s.

To find out more details about the conversation between Christina and Austin, watch the podcast here. To learn more about the capabilities of Debt Manager and how it can optimize the engagement with your customers, contact a member of our team today.

 Chris Smith
About the author

Chris Smith

Having spent his entire career in the credit and collections space, Chris Smith started out building and implementing collection strategies before leading product teams. Now the Vice President of Product at C&R Software, he supports organizations in a variety of countries and industries achieve their ROI goals. Chris is an analytically-driven product leader, specializing in defining and executing product strategy and positioning to drive business growth.

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