I have a close friend who routinely dismisses all offers of lower premiums from property casualty companies. Why? His insurance provider took great care of him when his Florida home was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. That was nearly 30 years ago, and he’s still not interested in even considering switching insurers!
For those of us in customer communications management (CCM) and billing solutions, the COVID-19 pandemic is reinforcing this lesson: How you work with customers during a crisis – by quickly providing needed information or helping with payment terms — can build enduring trust and loyalty.
Of course, in today’s world of social distancing and work from home, taking good care of customers includes offering digital and self-service options that empower consumers to access critical and time-sensitive account information, manage bills and make payments at any time, from any device.
Recent surveys show that consumers are indeed embracing digital for banking, shopping, bill pay and other activities during the pandemic—and they will continue to do so once businesses reopen.
- McKinsey says consumers plan to continue to increase online shopping for groceries, food takeout and delivery, household supplies and personal care.
- Fintech provider Novantas said young and older Americans flocked to online and mobile banking and only 40% plan to return to using bank branches.
CCM is built for self-service
Fortunately, CCM technology is designed for self-service, both for users developing and producing customer bills, letters and other documents and for the recipients of those communications. Some CCM systems like Expresso® also easily support omnichannel communications delivery.
These systems give companies control to create messages and edit content in a matter of minutes. During the pandemic, companies have been taking advantage by:
- Customizing information such as social distancing rules state by state
- Distributing information about remote hotel check-ins, restaurant re-openings and resuming non-COVID medical care
- Waiving fees or extending payments depending upon need
Digital and self-service go hand-in-hand for billing and payments. Using CCM and electronic bill presentment and payments systems such as ExpressoPay®, companies can give their customers more control to manage their bills and payments, improving the customer experience:
- Adding email, SMS/texting, digital wallets and other electronic delivery channels
- Offering online support including chatbots, tutorials, FAQs, and videos
- Providing branded portals that make it easy to view statements, set up automatic payments or payment plans, and make one-time payments using ACH, credit or debit cards, ApplePay, PayPal and more
- Sending payment alerts via digital wallets, texts and/or emails with a tap-to-pay option
- Ensuring websites and documents are optimized for smartphones and other mobile devices
Of course, it’s also critical to offer customer support, communications and payment options that don’t depend on self-service. There are times people need to talk to a service representative and many still prefer receiving paper statements and mailing checks.
It’s never too late to serve your customers so they will always remember how you worked with them during a crisis. Use this opportunity to continue investing in digital and self-service experiences. By doing so, you’ll be able to meet growing customer expectations even when the pandemic is long behind us.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.
Bryan Ten Broek
Vice President Business Development & Marketing