More than half of all Americans own a smartphone – in fact, 56 percent of us are connected via mobile devices. Considering the growing ubiquity of smartphones, collectors need to ensure that they consider this trend and build it into their collections strategy, using account holders’ smart and non-smart mobile devices as a channel to reach them. Text has become the preferred channel for millions of consumers due to its convenience, immediacy, and ease-of use.
Leveraging the immediacy of mobile can be transformative for collectors’ outreach processes because it is fast and drives results – 83 percent of text messages are opened within three minutes and tend to return a response in only 90 seconds. Texting (SMS) customers regarding collections certainly beats “snail mail” or calling with no answer, doesn’t it? What’s more, contacting individuals though the mobile channel can increase contact rates, reduce agent costs and increase collections. Some tactics to consider to ensure a successful collection strategy include:
- Being “cross” can be good in collections: Increase contacts, promise-to-pay, and payments by adding in a cross-channel strategy. But don’t stop there…reduce costs by promoting auto-pay and self-service payment options across multiple channels like outbound IVR and SMS. Create customer dialogs that require live follow-up are escalated to agents. Transfer of sensitive information can link from text to SSL web pages.
- “Chat” with debtors on their mobile device: maximize results and possibly reduce costs to collect by ensuring you create a two-way text conversation. A two-way text conversation is accessible by everyone, and can be automated and/or agent-assisted. Similar to a web chat, agents can chat with debtors via text messaging. Although the number of smartphones with the ability to reach the Internet are over half, 80 percent of mobile phone users text message.
- “Opt” for being compliant: It can be easy to ensure compliance, but you need a strategy that is more robust than just sending FTEU messages or gaining opt-in. While it is clear that conducting collections via mobile has many benefits, it is important for organizations that they are always messaging in a compliant manner at the state and federal level. Working with an experienced partner who makes navigating lesser-known regulations such as mobile consent, contact attempt controls, and carrier deactivation list processing can help reduce risk.
With six billion SMS messages sent every day in the US, capitalizing on the power and immediacy of the mobile channel provides clear benefits for both collectors and account holders. That’s why it is crucial for collections agents to put strategies in place that help increase portfolio penetration, collect more debt faster, reach more people, and improve the account holder experience.
Want to learn more? Download, Five Questions About Text Messaging for Collections.