Getting clients to settle accounts on time or pay overdue invoices is a standard part of debt collection. Traditionally, it is extremely labor-intensive for companies; establishing a first contact with clients, incessantly chasing them down with e-mails and phone calls, and then following up to make sure debts have been paid is very time consuming, not to mention, emotionally and mentally draining.
Clients on the receiving end of this interaction can also be very intimidated by this experience. However, settling a debt should be easy and painless. Most customers don’t plan to be in debt, but instead, fall victim to circumstances outside of their immediate control– something we can all relate to as COVID-19 began to take its toll.
Automation has proved to be a great driver of productivity and growth for many industries, and debt collection is no exception. Advanced analytics, behavioral science, and machine learning allow companies to seamlessly automate credit lending and debt collection.
The general shift in how consumers expect to interact with companies as they undergo a digital transformation means that providing a personalized experience through digital channels is increasingly becoming an industry standard.
Automation and artificial intelligence present many clear benefits to the way the financial services industry handles consumer credit and debt collection.
Unburden human agents
Being the bearer of bad news is never an easy task. Oftentimes, it can take an emotional toll on the collection agents. Automation through the use of chatbots and AI voice assistants can lessen the load on human agents in this sense. Logistically, these technologies are also able to seamlessly process vast amounts of data– including a customer’s complex financial history and needs– to further understand consumer debt as well as increase profitability from managing receivables. These valuable insights can help human agents design better repayment plans.
Create a personalized experience
To treat all debtors the same through automation in a company’s collection strategy is to miss out on an opportunity to go one step further to create a personalized experience at scale. There are many reasons why a person is not able to pay their outstanding debt: lack of experience in financial planning, missed communications, or even a pandemic. About 26 million people in Latin America lost their jobs during the pandemic year, with many falling into debt as a result.
Every debtor has a unique set of circumstances which makes using a standardized strategy for debt collection ineffective. AI voice assistants, like Vozy’s Lili, actively listen to clients and based on the interaction can offer different options that best meet their needs for settling the debt. While this interaction is taking place, Lili is also gathering information that can help financial entities predict how much will be collected and which clients will require more monitoring.
AI voice assistants also have the advantage of using conversational AI to create a human-like interaction that can take on different accents. For example, Lili is able to understand and speak eight different Spanish accents from across Latin America to provide a unique experience to customers.
A judgment free zone
Talking about money doesn’t have to be difficult. There can be a lot of shame associated with having debt, resulting in customers not wanting to talk to human agents and therefore avoiding any interaction at all costs.
Chatbots and voice assistants are impartial by design, which means they can create a safe space for customers to open up about their debt. With neural text-to-speech technology, voice assistants can also be programmed to use a certain tone and deliver empathetic messages when communicating with clients.
Automation also makes it easier for clients to manage their debt through their preferred channel– whether that is with the help of a human agent or through a self-service option.
More secure transactions
Every interaction with a credit lender or a debt collector involves gathering highly personal and sensitive information. Therefore, it is essential for agents to protect that information from unauthorized access. Voice biometrics are a great way of adding an extra layer of protection in the authentication process.
Settling a debt
For many companies, the debt collection process is more complicated than it needs to be. Advances in artificial intelligence can help simplify that process and allow companies to optimize processes and maintain a customer-centric approach. These AI-based tools hold great power in helping companies understand customers on a deeper and more personal level, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like settling a debt.