When companies talk about having a customer-centric vision, they are usually referring to the quality of customer service. This is certainly an important factor; however, if companies want to truly put the customer at the center of their business, they need a broader vision which encompasses all customer-facing processes and considers how they can be leveraged to provide a better overall experience.
According to a research by Deloitte and Touche, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to those not focused on the customer(1). With this in mind, it is no wonder why companies around the world are concentrating their efforts on applying a customer-centric philosophy across a wide range of business areas. Some of the processes being enhanced by this new vision may be surprising; in fact, the rather unpleasant business of debt collection is long overdue for a shake-up, which is why utilities are looking to turn this pain-point into a source of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To turn their words into action, forward-thinking service providers are upgrading these key processes with a new paradigm known as Customer-centric Collection. Unlike the traditional approach, this strategy involves treating customers as individuals by considering their unique financial situations and taking the appropriate steps to make sure they can stay on top of their bills. Furthermore, companies use this philosophy to become more proactive about user experience thanks to their improved understanding of customer decisions and behavior.
Customer-centric Collection involves using advanced technology to increase the efficiency of collections while also ensuring a more positive experience for all parties involved. When service providers enhance their interaction and communication strategies in this key area, customers are less likely to get into debt, more likely to get out of debt, and will generally feel more positive towards the company. This is clearly a win-win situation, as service providers reduce bad debt while improving customer relationships.
Figure 1. Customer-centric collection actions.
There are many steps that service providers can take to make interactions more personal. By understanding and listening to their customers, making them feel special, building strong relationships and working out the best way to communicate with them, utilities can push their customer centricity to the next level.
Debt collection provides a great opportunity for developing a customer-centric vision because customers are very sensitive to how they are treated during this essential part of the commercial cycle. After listening to customers and finding out how they feel about existing debt collections processes, companies can review their approach and ensure they are using the right communication strategy with the right mix of contact channels. In this way, customer-centric companies can create effective collection processes which correspond better to customer needs and preferences. With a customer-centric collection strategy in place, customers are more easily persuaded to pay their obligations while they continue building positive relationships with their service provider.