Here’s a couple of interesting facts for you: 19% of customers pay late and 3% of customers do not pay at all. Yet more than 50% of private customers have excessive debt or pay intentionally late. That’s according to the “European Payment Practices 2017 Survey” by EOS.
So, why not simply remind customers to settle their outstanding debts?
The consensus is that calling with a polite reminder is extremely effective in reducing your Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).
But what’s the best way to make reminder calls that, in the early stage of collection, could be significant in number: call centre agents or automated voice reminders?
Here are six proven reasons why we at Mi-Pay think our automated voice reminder service is the best option for credit managers:
1. Agents can spend 100% of their time on incoming customer calls
Dealing with invalid numbers, engaged signals, no answers and hang-ups is a daily occurrence for both in-house and outsourced call centre agents. What’s more, if the customer can’t be reached, the call simply ends and the agent then moves on to the next customer. The opportunity to leave a reminder has been missed…
Our data shows that when calling manually, the chance of reaching a customer at the first try is just 33%.
That percentage jumps dramatically if calls are made using a dialler because most of those busy signals and rejected calls are filtered out for the agent.
That’s pretty good until you consider that, even with a dialler, call centre agents are still wasting their time speaking to debtors who only need a gentle reminder to pay. So, what if you had an automatic system that leaves gentle reminders for customers who are willing and able to pay?
Precious ‘human’ time wouldn’t have to be set aside to make routine reminder calls. Instead, your staff could concentrate on more complicated issues like addressing billing enquiries or activating payment plans.
2. More calls made, more reminders received, more invoices paid
A trained call centre agent can make approximately 25 calls an hour. The outbound platform of our automated system, however, can send thousands of voice reminders in just one hour. What’s more, our automated reminder system is incredibly persistent. It makes several attempts to leave a message with a customer.
And if the customer has more than one phone number? It will dial those numbers, too.
But what if, after all those attempts, the customer can’t be reached or a voicemail can’t be left? Our system solves that particular problem by following up automatically with reminder texts or emails, depending on your or your customers’ preferences.
This backup system ensures your customers always receive their reminders in a timely fashion. What does this mean for you as a credit manager?
Well, our client database shows that most customers will settle their account when they get a reminder. It means you get to reduce your DSO, accelerate your cash flow, and cut operational costs.
More than 50% of private customers have excessive debt or pay intentionally late.
Source: “European Payment Practices 2017” survey (EOS)
3. Full compliance with debt collection regulations
Many credit managers are rightly concerned about compliance with debt collection regulations, particularly if they perform in-house collection processes. Our automated voice reminder system takes those concerns away.
We recognise that each country has its own set of rules. In Belgium a customer cannot be contacted again in any way until the period of the first reminder has expired. In the US, a consumer debtor cannot be called before 8am or after 9pm.
That is why we have built adaptability into our system.
Just tell us what your country’s rules are and we’ll set the legal parameters. This significantly reduces the risk of customers submitting harassment claims against your company.
4. Far cheaper than a call centre
The cost of employing call centre agents—whether they’re in-house or provided by third party—is a fixed cost. Conversely, with automated voice reminders, you pay only for what you use.
The more calls you make, the less you pay per call (volume discount).
Throw in the much faster processing speed of our digital system, and you can make a huge cost saving.
On average, European companies wait around three weeks after the payment deadline for payments to be made.
Source: “European Payment Practices 2017” survey (EOS)
5. Call success rate analysed and real-time insights visible
All calls made by our automated voice reminder system are analysed and reported, and real-time insights are visible via our advanced web portal. A digital results file is produced at the end of every day and made available to you through our portal or SFTP server.
The report details aspects such as how often and at what time a customer was called, whether a text or email was sent as a follow-up and whether the customer has heard the whole message or not.
A call centre agent, on the other hand, has to enter that data into a CRM, which takes more time and is prone to omission and input error.
6. Personalised messages that match your company’s culture
A risk of making manual calls is that agents may not always communicate with your customers in a way that reflects your corporate image. Credit managers are acutely aware of the importance of maintaining the company’s relationship with its customers.
All our automated messages, which use a human voice in high definition format, can be created to match the tone of your company and the stage of collection, whether that’s friendly and bubbly or serious and professional.
Finally, each message can be personalised to include individual names, invoice numbers, amounts and due dates, all according to your preference.
So, there you have it. Six compelling reasons for using our automated voice reminder system to improve your Days Sales Outstanding figures, accelerate your cash flow and cut operational counts.
Find out more about Mi-Pay’s reminder services by going to our Reminder Services solution page or giving us a call on +31 10 7989 501 and asking to speak to one of our experts.
About Daniël Schurr
I’m Product Owner of our Reminder services and head of Support and Operations at Alphacomm. What I really like at Alphacomm is that we take on complex challenges that force me to stay on top of my game and push me to develop myself and my skillset continuously.