It’s at least 5x more expensive to create a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. That's why maintaining excellent customer service throughout an account’s lifecycle, even when the account is delinquent or charged off, is critical to reducing costs and increasing revenue.
That means that customer service is critical for delinquent and charged off accounts, too. But there is no single “right way” to provide excellent customer service. It varies based on what the consumer wants.
So, what do customers consider excellent customer service when it comes to delinquent and charged-off accounts?
In their recent survey, Understanding the Modern Consumer, TCN asked consumers exactly what makes an excellent customer experience, and what they value when they’re trying to pay their bills.
Here are the top three things you can take away from the survey results.
1. Consumers value convenience & knowledge
Customer experience can be ruined before the consumer even gets on the phone with someone at your organization. 48% of respondents to the survey reported that it must be easy to get through to a live agent when they need someone, and 41% value having easy access to the contact information they need to get through.
Once the consumer has reached someone, the focus must turn to well-trained agents. 52% of respondents reported that the most important factor to a positive customer experience is the ability of the agent to solve the issue at hand, and 41% value knowledge about the product or service. Agents should be trained to understand the types of accounts they are working on, and they should be able to easily solve most consumer problems without much escalation or back and forth.
2. Human interaction is still important, but make it quick
The survey found that 49% of respondents still want to talk to an agent by phone, and 45% prefer to chat online with a live agent. However, consumers are increasingly less likely to wait on hold for the opportunity to interact with an agent. 35% of respondents said they are willing to wait on hold for 5-7 minutes, and 39% reported that they would prefer to be put in a queue for a call back when someone is available, as opposed to waiting on hold.
Respondents also reported frustration with having to talk to several people/departments before an issue gets resolved, and 41% reported frustrations with having to deal with an agent who couldn’t resolve their issue. Again, well-trained agents with authority can resolve a number of potential customer service issues.
3. Customer service is critical, especially when it comes to brand loyalty
A whopping 55% of respondents said they have posted an online review about a great customer experience with a company, which is up from 33% last year. Additionally, 50% of respondents reported posting about a negative experience, up from 42% last year. Consumers are absolutely willing to share their experience with a company online.
If consumers sharing their experience with your brand publicly isn’t enough to motivate you to focus on customer service in your collections process, consider this, too: a majority (66%!) of consumers report that they are likely to abandon a brand after a poor customer experience.
Remember. It’s at least 5x more expensive to create a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, which means that lenders and creditors should not neglect customer service throughout an account’s lifecycle, even when the account is delinquent or charged off, if they are at all focused on reducing costs and increasing revenue.
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