Delinquencies are not happy affairs. Typically, the missed payment consumer is experiencing some type of issue. Financial institutions are in the business of lending, getting repaid, repeat. Interrupting that flow is an unwelcome, but inevitable reality. For both sides of a delinquency, the experience is unpleasant.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. What if you could elicit a different reaction from delinquent customers? One that doesn’t require an account rep intervention? One that only requires 10 minutes time from your customer?
We’ve previously talked about how BackOnTrackTM improves payment performance months later. This is due to an empathetic approach that substantially differs from the transaction nature of typical communications. There’s another outcome from the BackOnTrack experience:
delighted collections customers
From an analytical perspective, you might draw the conclusion that collections customers are delighted because after experiencing an empathetic approach, they pay better. But we have a more direct source of feedback. Some customers have commented in a survey given after they complete BackOnTrack.
Survey comments: understanding delighted collections customers
At the conclusion of BackOnTrack, consumers are invited to complete a survey. The survey asks a series of questions about the experience, with the final question being an optional text field for “Additional Comments or Feedback”. In this post we examine what people are writing for that question.
Each comment was reviewed, and assigned to a category, with a few cases of being assigned to two categories. Here are the categories we used:
These categorizations illuminate what people feel after completing BackOnTrack (BOT). These categories are examined below, with specific examples.
Helpful (22% of comments)
When we designed BackOnTrack, one key principle was providing actionable advice. We wanted to ensure delinquent customers knew what options they have, what actions they can take, and what the consequences are for not making payments. These BOT completers took the time to express their appreciation for the content.
Two example helpful comments:
- This was fabulous and very informative for 10 minutes
- Very informative and helpful.
In a prior post, we asked this question in relation to the uncertainty attendant with the COVID-19 pandemic:
This presents financial institutions with a conundrum: how to pursue payments while maintaining customer retention during the coronavirus pandemic?
One option: provide a solution that takes an empathetic approach while helping more customers to get current. That’s what BackOnTrack does. A sentiment of gratitude is an expression that the financial institution has met the customer’s needs during a tough time.
Two example grateful comments:
- Thanks for your concern, I seriously didn’t know of minimum payment. Guess I should listen to my wife more when it comes to the bills.
- Thank you for caring enough to offer this opportunity. It certainly gives a positive attitude in getting my payments made.
Generic Positive (13%)
A number of customers made comments that were positive, but fell outside one of the standard categories. For financial institutions, a customer’s positive sentiment while engaging their collections group is a win. It contributes to the success of treating collections like the marketing function it is.
Two example generic positive comments:
- Very good program, easy to understand. I will be applying this information to my life.
- It has been a great experience.
Brand Loyal (4%)
Securing a positive view specifically of your company is a high achievement. The previous categories are all ones that marketers desire for their company’s brands. But to have your brand specifically thought of positively is quite valuable.
These customers came away from BackOnTrack expressing their positive views for the financial institution. Considering this was a collections experience, that’s quite a feat.
Two example brand loyal comments:
- good reminder, I like that [client] is willing to work with me – have not had that with another credit card
- I am extremely impressed with [client] and appreciate their assistance.
At Scorenomics, we think of delinquency as being as much an emotional experience as a financial one. A goal of BackOnTrack is to lower the emotional temperature. This allows the consumer to think clearly about their situation, and what next actions to take to remedy it.
The previous helpful and grateful comments reflect that approach. Comments that indicate BOT has de-stressed the customer are more direct cases of BOT’s success.
Two example de-stresses comments:
- You help me see the result light at the end of the tunnel!
- I think humiliation is a strong reaction when someone gets behind. The video was sympathetic and was able to get the point across without sounding negative.
Responsibility Motivation (2%)
BackOnTrack does indeed use an empathetic approach. But it’s a tough love. It walks in the shoes of delinquent customers, but makes clear they DO need to take some action. BOT is not just a sounding board.It’s a call to action.
Two example responsibility motivation comments:
- Thank you so much for sending me this! This really helped me to understand and has motivated me to get back in good standing with you guys.
- This program honestly made me feel more willing to contact my creditor about my bill. Thank you.
Of course, some comments defied an categorization. The consumer was either terse, or explained something that was outside the bounds of the BackOnTrack experience.
Two example other comments:
- I wish I understood what happened with my payment.
- There should be a additional grace period for people who lives were impacted by a hurricane and lost everything.
Generic Negative (7%)
Inevitably, some delinquent customers did not come away with a positive view after completing BackOnTrack. Some comments relate to BOT experience itself. Others transcend the BackOnTrack engagement, reaching back to an ongoing problem the customer has with the financial institution.
One thing note: even those BackOnTrack completers who expressed a negative sentiment demonstrated superior payment performance in the months that follow. BackOnTrack still made a difference.
Two example generic negative comments:
- The answers you provided did not give an actual real world accounting of what is happening in my life.
- When you don’t have money for food, you don’t have money for the credit card you charged the food on to live in November. I don’t need education, I need money.
Key: having an opinion at end of BackOnTrack
One interesting finding was this: customers who had a distinct opinion – one of the different positive ones or the generic negative one – were better payers than those who didn’t have a definitive opinion afterwards (the “Other” category). The table below shows serious delinquency rates many months later after completing BackOnTrack:
|Comment sentiments||Serious delinquency rate|
|Positive or negative||16.0%|
Of course, financial institutions will prefer getting payments along with positive sentiment!
Make collections a positive experience for your hard-won customers facing tough times. Have more delighted collections customers.
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