A national energy company was experiencing significant call volumes because unnecessary payment reminder notices were sent to customers when they had already paid, advising them to call to make payment. These calls represented about 10 percent of the company’s call volumes and were a top driver of calls. Customers were annoyed by these unwarranted reminders and were rapidly losing trust in the company.
The system was designed to give customers a discount for early payment. But because of the broken feature, the discount was not applied on the back end when customers paid in advance or on time. They instead received a notice demanding payment for the difference between the discount and the full rate. In addition to customer frustration and support resources, the mistake generated unnecessary printing and mailing costs for the notices.
As a customer support partner of the company, TTEC realized that fixing the broken reminder could save a lot of time, money, and customer frustration.
TTEC’s call volume analysis and demand profile approach identified specific system and process failures that led to unnecessary late payment notices being sent to customers.
The knowledgebase had no standard solution, so TTEC gathered a cross-functional team internally to brainstorm what could be done. Members from quality assurance, knowledge management, operations, and training and development got together to work on a fix. Rather than lead with an operational improvement, the team realized it needed to change employee mindset to prioritize the customer experience. By considering the customer’s point of view, the team offered a solution to the client that would improve operations and customer satisfaction.
The easiest solution was to reduce the mailing costs. The team recommended sending notices via text/SMS rather than paper. The messages were timed to ensure they were only generated after payments had passed the bank clearing period. The wording in the notice was also softened to elicit more action.
The program saw immediate results. Call volume dropped and that call type dropped from three to 10 in call rankings.
System changes were then implemented by the client to permanently fix the way the system handles payment collections and late payment reminders. Prior to this fix being implemented, workarounds were put in place to minimize erroneous reminders being sent.
Since switching to text messaging and adjusting the trigger logic, call volume relating to payment reminder notices decreased by 60 percent and customer satisfaction has recovered. This reduction represents approximately 4,700 calls at a cost saving of around A$11k dollars.
Our ability to bring proactive solutions to the client strengthened our relationship as a value-oriented partner. It has led to other proactive solutions to improve business performance and customer satisfaction, such enhancements to its account website and the content of bills to further enhance customer understanding and experience. Insights from the TTEC team continue to be highly valued and appreciated by the client, leading to high ratings for the TTEC team in a recent client satisfaction survey.