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Digital UX in collections - how much does it matter? (Answer: a lot) 20 MAY 2021

Digital UX in collections - how much does it matter? (Answer: a lot)
5 minute read

When you think about the 100,000 customers sitting in your collections streams, what are their basic needs? What stops them from engaging? Do you know or have you asked the customers? And does this topic come up as often as payment rates, wait time and dialler penetration KPIs?

In this blog, I'll explore how digital user experience (UX) underpins all high performing collections operations. 

How has digital UX in collections evolved?

The way collections works is changing. The overall goal with digital is to develop such simple processes that mean only customers that genuinely need to talk will route to an agent and that they have multiple, easy ways to pay. 

At Arum, we've seen redesigned customer journeys (payments, plans and income and expenditure) placing a mobile/digital-first user experience firmly as the charge. This has included portal wireframes for different devices, ensuring the minimum number of clicks to reach the desired outcomes, and automated omnichannel chat conversations working through thousands of messages across channels to get the right level of tonality and humility needed for each risk segment and the particular micro journey. 

And it worked. This type of thinking enables automation in between 70-90% of collections customer engagements and business cases realised with ROIs up to 30:1.

What happens when you have a poor UX?

Suppose you are held back on digital channel automation, and you suspect it could be the UX on your self-service options. This means your customers see your requests as challenging; they avoid the associated mental or physical labour asked of them, and you chase, again. The cycle continues, all of which burning resources, whilst your customers are thinking:

  • "I can't pay this; I feel so embarrassed and worried. I do not want to speak to anyone right now."
  • "I don't want someone to overhear me speaking about this; maybe I'll call at the weekend."
  • "Argh, I have to call this number back; I bet I’ll be on hold."
  • "Great, they email me, but I can't email back?"
  • "This chatbot does nothing useful."
  • "I want to log in, but I don't have the customer reference number from the letter; what letter?"
  • "Should I reply to this SMS? Maybe it is Fraud?"
  • "I would press OK if I could even see it on my screen."
  • “I don’t have mobile service here, why don’t they use WhatsApp or Apple Messaging?”

If you resolve to fix bad UX and customer concerns like the ones above, you'll stand to see one of the most significant shifts in customer behaviour you will have probably witnessed in your department. When you have accomplished UX excellence, your business can absolutely be between 70-90% self-service levels.

Also, the millions of automatic responses and payments that happen will occur much faster than they do today. As a reward, the remainder of agent interactions will be fulfilling to your staff, and your customers will sense this. You will see that both agent and customer satisfaction scores significantly increase and, in some cases, multiply.

So, how can you improve your digital UX?

Getting to 70-90% automation is a challenge; to name a few considerations, you must:

  • Know which are the highest impact items that will fix collections UX (leading to material levels of automation).
  • Plan the proper design for your business and systems, e.g., where the digital customer journey rules or brain will reside.
  • As the business leader, you should personally ensure each and all micro journeys created have UX as a critical measure, as you would want it if you had to use the service yourself.
  • Be careful to work with the right vendors and tools; the digital technology landscape has become increasingly competitive and varied, with new diverse and essential technologies across channels, payments, dialogue management and digital integration with agent chat, to name a few.
  • Scan the payments market adequately; open banking and Apple Pay are two examples that have changed what's on offer for customer payments and efficient real-time reconciliation.
  • Set up systems with agility in mind and possibly a low code/no-code environment. Especially for champion challenger or A/B testing.
  • Remember, competent execution of these first items, along with a well-documented and communicated ROI, will pave the way to gain Exec support to do much more.

Where should you start?

If you find this type of program a challenge, reach out to me at Arum. We offer design and CX/UX assessments and plans, digital business case and ROI development, digital strategy plans for broad collections transformation or specific microservices such as authentication, payments, or broken plans to name a few, and digital collections competitor bench marketing. We also specialise in delivering digital collections programmes with your teams in the form of sprints and a compressed timeline to digital collections ROI realisation. We understand the digital blueprint and the technology available in today's market to make it happen. It is what we do.  

Russell Robinson
Principal Consultant and Digital Specialist

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