How to keep collections performance at a high level during the COVID-19 era

We have all faced the same issues with the outbreak of COVID-19 crisis. Impossibility to maintain communication with customers in past due, due to disruptions in the operations of the traditional channels, resulting in poorer recoveries and increased figures in NPLs.
How to respond to this challenge? With our call centers running slow and branches at limited capacity, the use of an alternative channel becomes a necessity.
Digital communications permits banks to secure an uninterrupted, scalable and cost-saving way of servicing of their customers in past due, thus maintaining operational performance at a high level and reducing NPLs.

New tools for a new world

The world banking sector has been revolutionized over the last years by an onslaught of new technologies and alternative banking channels in order to increase contact levels with customers in past due and achieve their targets in collections. In the same way, Banks are looking to decrease the cost of performing collections.

After COVID-19, banking will be much different than it was before. The outbreak has accelerated the changes that were already on the track. With the customers being at home, the call centers closed or understaffed, branches running at minimum servicing levels, Collections Departments found their performance being threatened.

In the previous months we have seen a significant change in the way people bank and the use of new technologies is now becoming the new normal. New channels and approaches have been set up in many banks around the world, with projects multiplying in order not to lose the pace on collections and respond to the extraordinary requests rising up from the payment holidays and other measures taken by governments and regulators to protect debtors.

But how to communicate with customers in this period and what solutions to offer?

Innovative approaches have been centered around three major issues:

  • How to deal with increased volumes?
  • How to treat new to collections customers?
  • How to offer solutions without using human interaction?


Two alternative answers can be explored to cover those questions.

2-way Digital Channel Communication

EFS has introduced in its latest version a new communications channel with customers in delinquency.

Two Way Digital Communication Channels “2DC” is a cost effective, modern and non-intrusive way for communicating with the customers. 2DC implements a chat-like interactive service with customers, utilizing a multitude of non-voice communication channels such as Email, Viber, WhatsApp, SMS etc.

Customers are presented with a number of available options to select in order to resolve an outstanding debt, give a promise to pay or to be informed in general.

Definition of message types in EFS

Definition of various response types in EFS

The communication scenarios (response-reply) are designed as State – Transition diagrams through the EFS Workflow Engine. This allows interacting with the customer, in real time, without any human action / intervention.

Example of workflow for sending various messages to customers using digital channels

Through this channel, customers and collections teams can interact, through a non-intrusive but never the less performing channel for customers in the early buckets.

Customer Self Service module

A Customer Self Service (CSS) aims to complement the tools and channels that the Collections Teams can use in order to achieve their targets. It can also be used as a stand-alone tool for collections.

Through its automation and scalability, it responds to the reduced agent capacity and the permits to diminish the number of incoming calls from customers.


Campaign monitoring screen in CSS


From a business perspective:

CSS can serve to prevent inbound traffic and let customers self-arrange their outstanding debts

Handle both delinquent products and current ones

Inform customers on available options on their products ex. Debt Settlement, Payment holiday, Rescheduling, restructuring etc.

Available options to the end customer

The customers in past due have the ability to upload documents that they would like to communicate to the Bank

Easy to use for the end customer, non-intrusive and at the same time secure, Collections Teams can use this channel to rapidly distinguish those between their customers are responsive and willing to find a solution to their past dues from those that will necessitate more intensive actions to recover amounts in collections.

Offered in an OOTB integration or as SaaS for all customers having EFS this channel can be set up in some weeks.

These new communications channels offers alternative ways for contacting customers, taking advantage of modern technology, through channels that are familiar to our customers and do not rely on human effort, offering at the same time a supplementary and low cost solution for collections teams.

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