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Change is the Only Constant: It’s All About Moving Forward

Cormac O'Neill | Chief Tempo Officer

We’re a family of dog lovers and sadly just before Christmas, within a few weeks of each other, our two elderly dogs, Rocky and Jess passed away. Broken-hearted as we were, we agreed recently that it was time to move on, so enter Rosie, a cute little terrier puppy with a very big personality. The arrival of Rosie into our family reminded me that the only constant in life is change and no matter how much we may want to retain the status quo, the fact is, everything moves on. 

We all live and work in relationships that have evolved very useful routines. After a while though, these routines can become the bars of a prison to us. Although I very much miss many of my old routines, I have also found an opportunity to reflect on what could change for the better.  What can we expect to change in our own eco-system of credit, collections, and payments in the years to come? 
 
We are hearing a lot about the role that Open Banking and role AI will play in customer engagement within the credit, collections, and payments eco-system. While here at Webio we are actively deploying both of these into our product, I cannot really add anything new or exciting to the discussion that you will not have read elsewhere. So, what I want to do is give you an insight into three different themes that we are exploring at Webio as part of our longer-term strategy. I will dig a little deeper into each one across this series because, if you’re like me, you’ll not read beyond one page. So here we go. 

Theme #1 Shared View to trump One View 

If you’re involved in the area of customer engagement and Conversational AI you will be familiar with the concept of one view of the customer conversation.  One view is the holy grail. Imagine having all your customer engagement history across all channels in one place, magic. Magic as it may be, we now believe that a stronger force will emerge in the years to come with Shared View becoming a more powerful force. Shared View? I hear you say. Let me explain through the eyes of the end consumer. 
 
Having faced my own financial difficulties in the past I know what it’s like to be inundated with communications from lenders. When you’re in that position it is very difficult to have the headspace to track and organise all these communications, the result being no coherent record of what you may or may not have agreed. The situation is exasperated as typically an individual in debt will have between three to five brands to which they owe money, in my case, it was four.  
 
The result is a tsunami of communications across multiple channels. The explosion in conversational messaging now means that communications are switching from traditional channels to messaging.  

Better conversations with more effective outcomes   

In general, I view this as a very positive move, after all, conversational messaging plays a major role in what we do at Webio. However, if you are an individual in debt and most likely have a number of apps on your phone, you are now likely to be receiving frequent messages across SMS, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, the list goes on. While the brand will have a complete history of its communications, the customer is less likely to have such an overview, as most messages are deleted once opened or actioned.  
 
My own experience has led me to have concluded that the reason for this is that messaging apps are primarily used by us as channels for social interaction; we would prefer not to be reminded of our money problems each time we tap on a messaging app to chat with our friends and family. Therefore, deleting messages = out of sight out of mind = some headspace. 
 
This is a shame as it’s in everyone’s interest, the brand and its customer alike, to have a shared history, or a Shared View, of all conversations. Surely this would lead to better, more effective, and efficient outcomes for everyone concerned.  
 
At Webio we are looking at this. The question we are now asking ourselves is “How can we develop a solution that gives people in financial difficulty one place where they can manage all their stressful conversations about money, while at the same time improving the quality of engagement and impact positively on brand experience”?  

Getting the balance right 

We believe that by extracting “the conversation” out of everyday social channels into one purpose-built solution, we will give the end customer that little bit of extra headspace needed to enable them to make better decisions when it comes to their financial wellbeing. In tandem with this, the brand and their customer will now have a Shared View and a shared history of the conversation. Could this lead to a more balanced, healthy, and equitable eco-system? Perhaps time will tell. 

 

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