Twenty years ago, who would have believed we would no longer want to talk on the phone?
Conversations are intrinsically linked with how we work as societies, but let’s face it, over the last 10 to 15 years there has been a seismic shift in how we communicate and now our go-to mode is digital messaging.
But why is that? We’ll dive deeper in to see why.
The simplicity of just getting things done without talking to anyone is now preferred. Even in an office, colleagues will email or Slack each other rather than talk face-to-face. It's seen as faster and easier, there are no unnecessary ramblings, but rather we get to the heart of what you want to say sooner rather than later.
But where does that leave businesses, especially those who really need to talk to customers like collections and recovery teams? How is this shift to conversational customer engagement using digital conversational texting affecting creditors reaching customers and getting them to engage?
In the collections arena, talking about debt can be difficult for people due to feelings of shame and anxiety, but addressing it can bring them relief. According to a survey conducted by Lowell, over half of the respondents (69%) do not discuss their debt, with embarrassment being the primary reason.
However, conversational text messaging can provide a more comfortable and convenient way for customers to discuss their debt and find a way out of it.
Here’s why customers turn to texting rather than phone calls:
Customers feel more in control and less fearful.
They can respond at their own pace and don’t feel pressured.
Their answers are more considered.
They don’t feel as embarrassed or judged about their debt.
They are less likely to ignore the message and to respond.
Immediacy - customers don’t want to wait on hold for an agent or for a reply.
Sometimes, they need to find out something simply and quickly: texting is direct and precise.
People feel familiar with and comfortable texting (In the USA, people text 5x more than make calls)
Customers like the conversational feel of two-way texting.
Texting is not as intrusive as a phone call and doesn’t interrupt a person in the same way.
Text messages can be personalised with accurate customer information.
Customers can perform transactions from within a text conversation and upload files or images.
People just like texting (75% of Millennials prefer texting over talking on a phone).
Text messaging works for customers who are hard of hearing.
Calls are more time consuming than texting.
The days of ordering customers to ‘CALL’ to ‘PAY’ are coming to end. Adopting a conversational tone in customer engagement, and certainly for a collections conversation, makes all the difference.
The wording of an outbound message, be it from an AI chatbot or a conversational SMS from an agent, sets the tone. It is obvious, if a customer is struggling to make a payment and receives a ‘Hello John, we are trying to contact you, I am here to help, can we talk about how to work on your outstanding balance? ” is much more likely to result in a customer responding.
The answer is: absolutely!
Webio clients have seen customer engagement rates of up to 50% for ‘unresponsive’ customers - that is customers they were chasing, chasing and chasing some more, and within a short time were having successful conversations.
Another retail client saw a 52% increase in payment arrangements achieved through conversational messaging. Results that surpassed even their expectations.
So even though customers don’t want to talk to your business anymore, that doesn’t mean they won’t have a conversation.
If you need to improve your customer engagement, talk to us and we'll show you how AI automation via digital messaging apps works.
You will love the Webio experience.