text messaging In planning Halloween with my kids this year, I am reminded that I am getting old and the world has changed.  My Halloween used to be just about monsters and ghosts – some  fake teeth or a sheet with eye holes and I was all set.  Now, to really get the best “results” or response that my kids are looking for, ghosts and monsters are old news.  Today, it’s costumes of movie characters, like Katniss from Hunger Games.  Or for my son it’s some Ninjago character.  I don’t even know what that is let alone how to come up with that costume.

The point is, more sophistication is needed today to get desired results.  Collections strategies have evolved too.  If your text strategy is still about one-way message blasts, you are the ghost being left behind by Katniss and Ninjago.  You’re not going to get great results.  You need to evolve.

Collections professionals have started to recognize this: consumers are demanding more interaction than ever before, and organizations need to keep up.  Much like the evolution of automated voice communications that once only blasted one-way messages and now handle complex two-way dialogues, text messaging has evolved. Truly interactive mobile messaging provides the ability to interact real-time with a consumer to: resolve a problem, chat with an agent, take or approve a payment, relay balance/account information and respond to a customer’s needs to ensure resolution and satisfaction.  It’s proving to provide significant lift in collections results.

A simple one-way text message alert to drive a callback or remind someone of a payment date can be 10-20x more effective than a voice or email message blast in collections.  However, that strategy doesn’t always drive the desired result.  Why?  Because it does not engage the customer into a conversation.  On Halloween, it seems that ghosts, witches, and monsters can easily be overlooked.  You need to be original and engaging so that you aren’t ignored.

Think about your own personal text messaging.  When you’re sending an SMS to another person to ask them to do something, is that typically a one-way blast with no response, or is it a two-way dialogue which ultimately ends in an action or perhaps a live phone call?  Collections is no different.  Today, you must give customers and debtors choices to generate an interaction.  Some of the largest and most effective collections organizations are using these strategies today:

  • Personalized two-way text messaging or text “chat” where an agent can communicate directly with a customer/debtor
  • Receipt of payments completely through the SMS channel
  • A secure mobile website for customers and debtors to see information about their accounts and amount due
  • Options for customers and debtors to switch immediately from the SMS channel to a live phone call with a representative
  • SMS or email confirmations of a payment or promise made

And arguably most critical of all, once you interact with your customer via the text channel (or any other channel for that matter), you really should be storing that information and using it in future conversations.  The best collections companies are observing, capturing, and honoring customer and debtor preferences for communications.  This is a differentiating strategy that can build relationships and drive results.

Don’t be scared to be different this Halloween.  Creating text conversations  can be a real “treat” when done right. Learn more in, Five Questions About Text Messaging for Collections.