Human beings thrive on emotions and similarly when we look at our customers, we should never forget that they are the most important stakeholders of the company and the sole reason we are doing business is to ensure that we respect them as well as our company. The reason for them not able to make the payments can be a temporary setback or bottleneck from which they will eventually recover, and it is at this time that it is important to understand that our behaviour goes a long way in setting the goodwill of the company.
Hence, empathy becomes one of the strongest communication parameters for a company. At the start of the pandemic, a lot of brands showed their support to their customers, by telling them how they are there for them. Those who did not do it, hampered their relationship with the customers. Empathy by a business is basically being able to understand another person’s perspective, their feelings, being in their shoes and then taking a decision accordingly.
To unlock the true power of empathy, the brand needs to consistently deliver personalized messaging, interactions and offers. When this is done effectively, engaging with empathy builds trust, increases satisfaction, and drives positive outcomes – creating a win-win for the company and the customer. Let us now look at it from the customer point of view:
- Most people do not want a pending bill hanging over their head or getting continuous reminders from the collection agents, basically debt can make them feel bad
- At a time of difficulty, if the company shows that they understand the situation of their customer, then they are creating brand advocates for a lifetime
Here’s what companies can do to gain a deeper understanding of your customers:
- Review research on what is driving changing behaviours, needs and preferences
- Create the opportunity for open feedback through surveys and outreach responses
- Conduct sentiment analysis based on responses to your outreaches
- Analyse and extract insights based on patterns in customer behaviour
With the right methods used, the company will be able to gather and analyze insights from every interaction and leverage them to optimize engagement for every customer. It is possible to develop and execute digital engagement strategies as unique as your customers if AI and ML is used optimally.
We would say that for a debt collection firm to handle collections for past due accounts while still protecting their company from any negative fallout would have a simple answer. The answer is empathy. To be able to do this and to effectively build trust, companies must provide empathy paired with a solution or offering that helps meet the unique needs of the customer. Here, the customer insights can help guide the company’s digital engagement strategies and messaging and offers should always be tested for effectiveness to ensure they are appropriate for different groups of customers and suit the context.
Outcomes must be consistent as well as individually fair. Appropriate systems, processes, and control frameworks must be in place to ensure the solutions lead to consistent outcomes over time.
How to exhibit empathy during a debt collection process?
Field agents and violence should completely be avoided. Rather the collection agents should be trained to be empathetic in these different ways:
- Companies should educate customers: A lot of times the billing statements and interest rates could be confusing. Hence, a collection agent who is able to explain the customer the due amount and the interest levied in case he is missing the same and giving options on how he can manage it, is someone who is regarded well in the eyes of the customer.
- Show friendliness: A collection company/ agent basically represents the ethics and values of the company. It is obviously difficult to deal with a rude and irritating customer, however, still being able to diplomatically take the call ahead is a skill that they can learn. After all, kindness goes a long way.
- Listen to the customers: Understand where the customer is coming from, understand what the customer is going through and then find a viable solution to the same. This will help the company in strengthening the bond with their customers.
Empathy is a very important factor in every business which caters to customer service and hence being a debt collection company, which understands this becomes an imperative.