We’ve all experienced the evolution of digital debt collection over the past decade, from early technology in its nascent stages to today, where digital is a required component of any financial institution’s contact strategy. These days, the question is not whether digital drives success for consumers and lenders—but rather how institutions can leverage digital collections to maximize their success. Without the right tools and infrastructure to successfully execute a seamless customer journey across all platforms, it’s a sure bet that customer contact rates will decrease.
In a perfect world, when a consumer falls behind, the lender has all the data to do three key things: Get the full picture that only a complete data set can bring. Use that comprehensive data to gain predictive insights into consumer patterns and delinquency or fraud patterns. And lastly, use those insights to inform a robust strategy that allows the lender to effectively reach and engage that customer.
This blog is the first in a three-part series that delves into the strategy behind the data: how to gather it, how to understand it, and how to properly act on it to engage your customers through your digital collections strategy.
Today we’re tackling how (and why) to gather full, accurate data on your customers.
First, let’s start with the “why” of data collection. We often approach data collection by focusing on the end goal—our ability to achieve a positive outcome with the consumer. To do that well, your data collections strategy needs to capture the right data at the beginning of the customer journey—the on-boarding process. Otherwise, any conclusions you draw may be based on inaccurate or incomplete data. And those faulty assumptions can lead to a digital engagement strategy that misses the mark with your customer.
But don’t stop at the onboarding process. As a lender, approach data collection by asking yourself which data you’ll need to create a positive customer experience at every step in the process. For example, during the originations process, you can go beyond demographic and bureau information and focus on obtaining a customer’s preferred contact methods (as well as any other data that will maximize personalization). Don’t be tempted to take a shortcut and avoid the work of gathering robust data—it may result in consumer confusion or disappointment.
As a lender, you should be continuously maintaining and assessing the customer data that you’re collecting across all channels. Not only is it important to ensure that you capture and update customer information, but also reflect this data collection across all channels—both at originations and on an ongoing basis as part of customer relationship management.
Mitigating disparities across channels and systems sets the foundational building blocks for a consistent and positive customer experience—ensuring that your customer receives consistent messages across every channel (including the agent) with which they engage. For instance, perform a robust portfolio analysis up front to understand what additional information you need to ensure that you have a customer-centric focus as part of your digital engagement strategy. Look to your data analytics team or business analysts to support this activity.
I agree with Precisely’s way of assessing quality and share their six considerations on how to measure the ongoing quality of your data management processes.
Spending time up front to understand the customer, and translating that understanding into a robust data capture, will ensure that you’ll be well prepared to better glean insights and analysis on what your customers need from you in order to respond positively, wherever and however they engage.
Our next blog in this series will focus on the step after data collection: how to interpret and analyze the rich insights that your data capture efforts yield.