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Customer Mobility and Accounts Receivable Management, Part 2

Account Receivable Management Article

July 29, 2013

Customer Mobility and Accounts Receivable Management, Part 2

By Art Rosenberg


Part 1 of this series introduced the of the new mobile paradigm in AR management. In this installment, we further discuss this topic.

Automating Payment Management with Mobile Customers

There have always been several basic problems in interacting with customers for business purposes, especially if those customers are on the move. These include:

  • Automating timely customer contact

Not knowing where a consumer is at the moment or what real-time communication constraints he or she may have makes it difficult to notify that customer of a time-sensitive situation. Calling a voice-only cell phone is very limited for informational access, and is also disruptive, and therefore usually restricted by various regulatory constraints.

  • Personalizing the contact for the customer’s current situation

It is important that any outbound notification be accurate about the current status of the customer payment situation. Utilizing a personalized mobile device dramatically increases the chance of a “right party” contact.

  • Simplifying a customer’s response to any important automated notification

A customer response can range from simple acknowledgement to wanting more information to wanting to perform a transaction to wanting to discuss the issue with a live person. Those kinds of choices need to be available to the customer in order to bring faster closure and greater satisfaction in the customer experience.

  • Provide easy and flexible access to appropriate live assistance, as required

At any point in a customer self-service interaction, there must always be the option for live assistance, if needed. Ideally, that will include capturing all contextual information about the customer’s activity up to that point, so that assistance personnel will not have to question the customer unnecessarily.

“Click-for-Assistance” Options in Mobile Self-service Applications

One of the benefits that mobile customers now have with new smartphones is that the users can change communication modalities easily. In particular, switching from online, visual self-services to live assistance can be simple and seamless, since a multi-modal endpoint device can handle all types of voice, video, or text interactions. This makes for a very cost-effective way of interacting with consumers for any business process, including payment management and collections.

Assistance options include any form of communications, such as:

  • E-mail
  • Text chat (IM)
  • Voice connection
  • Video connection
  • Voice message
  • Social post

For mobile users who will find it easier to speak than to type text, e.g., while walking or driving a car, the technology for voice-to-text options will allow a message to be created in voice, but delivered to the recipient in text for more efficient retrieval.

One of the biggest frustrations that customers find in dealing with call centers is that they have to wait in queue for the right person to talk to. This situation can be averted easily by providing a callback or “virtual queue” option, whereby mobile customers can be called back ASAP or at a preferred time. Having a mobile smartphone increases the user’s accessibility significantly, and makes access to live assistance more flexible, efficient and convenient.

Part 3 of this series discusses security and compliance issues and more.

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