What do you least like having to put extra time and resources into? I’d hazard a guess that late payment collection would be up there for many.
Whether you’re a financial concern who would rather teams were focused on bringing new customers in, or a local authority looking to free up staff to spend more time on delivering services, chasing payments is never going to be a welcome area of expense.
In an ideal world, customers would pay as soon as the monies owed were due, direct debits would never fail, and card payments would never be rejected.
In the real world, however, and this is perhaps particularly true when your customers are mainly consumers, even your most valued customers can simply forget an instalment is due, short term financial issues can stop a direct debit going through, or an out of date card can prevent a successful card payment.
There hasn’t necessarily been a change in the customers’ intent to pay, but suddenly, in order to prevent a cashflow issue, you need to put resources into making sure the balance is paid, from sending out reminders to, where necessary, involving third parties to help you recover the debt.
Using smart receivables to encourage customers to pay
At Pay360, we were confident technology could help the process of receivables which is why I’m delighted to introduce our new debt management solution: IncomeAI By using the latest artificial intelligence technology with smart automation, IncomeAI ensures payment collection is less costly in terms of your operations and more efficient, so you receive monies due more quickly.
Let’s take the example of someone who has just missed a loan instalment. It’s the first time it’s happened since they took out the loan two years ago, so they’re a particularly valued, and valuable, customer. You need your communications to have a light touch in tone, taking the form of a gentle, friendly reminder, rather than a heavy-handed demand. But to identify and understand your customers in this way takes up valuable staff time.
With a self-learning feature built in, IncomeAI uses artificial intelligence to know exactly what their preferred communication channel is, and even at what time of the day (or night) they’re most likely to open your message.
Asking them nicely…at a time that suits them
The advantages of this are immediate – not only have you ensured your customer continues to feel valued, but you’ve significantly increased your chances of your reminder being opened by choosing to text or email at the time they most welcome your communications – perhaps in the morning on the train to work, during a lunchbreak, or after they’ve got the children to bed in the evening.
And all this being calculated and scheduled more quickly than you or I could read the title of this article. Instead of needing to check balances and generate reminder letters, staff are free to concentrate on other business needs – perhaps on more complex areas of accounts receivable or in helping to deliver your services.
Payment collection that doesn’t eat into your running costs
There are considerable cost benefits to using artificial intelligence for debt collection - the obvious, instant resource savings of not having to use staff time to understand who your debtors are and to follow those monies up.
But there’s also a wider financial incentive for organisations to use AI – that of business solvency. I’ve mentioned how AI considerably raises the chances of receiving a swift payment: the sooner your customers pay, the sooner those funds support your cashflow.
Would IncomeAI benefit you?
For whom is IncomeAI most useful? Certainly, it’s valuable for financial institutions such as banks and building societies, and for companies providing loans, life cover or insurance - whether for cars, homes or mobile phones.
It would also be useful for online services, such as grocery delivery companies, to ensure the customer could complete payment in time not to be disappointed when their order wasn’t fulfilled.
And it’s not just the private sector - local authorities are interested in IncomeAI to support them in collecting revenue, for garden waste collections and other ad hoc payments.
It’s true to say IncomeAI is relevant for any organisation who invoices customers in some way, or who makes arrangements for sums owed to be paid in instalments – that’s probably pretty much anyone collecting payments.