Early collections: Uncovering the industry secrets to success
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This famous quote from American Statesman and Scientist, Benjamin Franklin is said to emphasise that someone who gets enough sleep and starts work early in the day will have a successful day.
The quote is beautiful in its simplicity but when it comes to ‘Early Collections’ there’s quite a few more moving parts we need to consider than just getting in early and making the first contact to see success.
Following a review of 1000s of clients and over 2 million live customer accounts we’ve used the feedback to identify the 6 crucial stages of the collections process:
Pooling anecdotal and data-driven findings we’ve developed a Collections cross-industry common timeline and themes series of blog posts and in this, the 4th post, we tackle head-on the who, the why, the when and the how of Early Collections.
Short on time and want to read all 6 phases at your convenience? To download the Collections Timelines Whitepaper
The Early Collections stage is the most important for maintaining a relationship with a Customer. At this point, missed payments could be accidental (new payment details, expired cards, forgetfulness, timing), due to short term financial issues or changes in circumstances.
The sooner the engagement occurs between the customer and the creditor the better the outcome is for both parties.
We see that processes at this stage run for an average of either 30 or 60 days (up to 2 or 3 missed payments).
From our experience, any account that is in an internal procedure for longer than this (say, throughout 3-6 missed payment) suffers because of the clear impetus on rehabilitating the newer defaults. We often find that moving these to a third party for a stepped approach will generate a greater return versus leaving the accounts in process.
From a commercial perspective, feedback suggests that Managers and Directors need to consider their FIXED COST of internal teams, expertise and systems management against outsourcing. Fixed costs are replaced with variable costs based on success with the added benefit of the expertise, experience and collections specific technology available for your customers without the complications or R&D costs.
From a branding standpoint, white-label strategy design is an immersive and complete replication of the partner’s brand look, tone and values to allow for a seamless customer journey.
CRS in Action
At CRS our White Label service offers an attractive alternative to what can be a very costly internal early collections process. We have a strong record of using our bespoke collections technology to create fully branded communications strategies which, when issued to customers via Email, SMS, letter and voice channels, ensure that the seamless journey is maintained throughout.
Typically, we use our clients’ own CRM systems, so transaction and engagement information is instantly recorded on customer accounts at the source. This also enables us to actively rehabilitate ongoing Direct Debits to cover future consumption or scheduled payments whilst addressing the arrears balance on the account that has kicked off the collections cycle in the first place.
Introducing the potential escalation to ‘Late Collections’ and a Debt Collection Agency towards the end of this strategy effectively warns the customer of the potential consequences of non-payment and generates a good response from those who haven’t reacted to earlier communications.
Final words from CRS
We hoped you’ve enjoyed this post. If you’d like to read through all of the 6 phases of the collections process in your own time then you can download the COLLECTIONS TIMELINES White Paper here or if you’d like to find out more about our technology and services you can download our brochure here.