How to turn dunning into a positive customer experience

Pesky emails and messages regarding outstanding payments. Unexpected phone calls ruin a perfect day. Arbitrary deadlines that don’t seem to make sense. Indeed, dunning often gets a bad rap. But, what if there was a way to change the perception of dunning? What if the dunning process could become your next USP?

In essence, to turn dunning into a positive customer experience all companies need to do is take a good look and evaluate their communication process. Is the message being received by the recipient? Is it being understood? Does it lead to the desired action?

Getting more out of your dunning, while maintaining a great customer experience isn’t too hard. Let’s break it down into four steps.

Step 1: Know your audience
First, you need to know your customer’s preferences when it comes to communication channels. For example, don’t send letters to customers who prefer emails.

Step 2: Diversify your approach
Secondly, diversify your approach. Multiple communication channels work better than one. The customer journey, whether it’s for purchasing new products or paying old bills, will benefit from the inclusion of multiple touchpoints.

Step 3: Meet your customers halfway
Thirdly, meet your customers halfway. Inform yourself about your customers’ demographics and behaviour to increase the effectiveness of your efforts. For example, if a customer segment has trouble reading, supplement your emails with audio and/or video.

Step 4: Empower your customers with self-service
Lastly, provide options rather than ultimatums. Assume that your customers like the service you provide and want to pay to keep making use of it. The question then becomes, how do you make sure the customer always feels empowered to resolve the outstanding debt?

For starters, make sure you offer all the payment methods they use and expect, including local and regional payment methods. Moreover, provide them with flexible self-service options, all within a few clicks. One such option is allowing them to select a future due date on which to pay. Another is offering the option of starting a custom payment plan so customers can pay a certain amount per month until the debt is paid in full.

You can either incorporate a self-service strategy within traditional communication methods or opt for more high-end solutions. For example, at Alphacomm, we created an interactive video reminders platform that informs customers regarding late payments and involves them in its resolution by allowing customers to make their own decisions, at their own pace in a non-threatening digital environment.

Bonus tip: Get personal
When it comes to getting late invoices paid, establishing personal contact can prove quite tricky. First off, customers value being in control of the solution to their financial woes. Moreover, there is often also a deep sense of shame associated with debt. A shame that is only exacerbated by having to discuss it in detail with a total stranger.

Paying outstanding bills should be as simple as making an online purchase. Customers should be able to do this easily and without the ‘help of’ bill collectors.

So, take a good look at your dunning process and assess how you are addressing your customers. Look at the tone of voice used throughout your texts and ask yourself if that is how you would like to be spoken to. Moreover, how helpful are your messages? To what extent are you pre-filling or providing information that they would otherwise need to go search for themselves?

By using a personalized and positive approach throughout your dunning process, a ‘sense’  of personal contact is established long before the actual deed. Though customers may not want to get on the phone, merely knowing that it would be a non-threatening experience if they did, goes a long way in terms of establishing a healthy relationship.

Also, the upshot of empowering customers to help themselves is that employees have more time to handle the cases that require personal attention.

Turn dunning into a win-win situation
In the end, it is important that customers feel you are both on the same page. So, get to know who your customers are and apply proper customer segmentation, communicate with them through the most effective channels per customer group, meet vulnerable customers halfway whenever necessary by providing additional support and always empower your customers to resolve their debts on their way.

By applying these steps, you will:

  • help customers take care of their finances without feeling overwhelmed or pressured,
  • boost customer loyalty by adopting a customer-friendly stance
  • cut the overall costs of dunning, by reducing the need for intervention by live customer service representatives.

Sounds like a win-win right?

Get in touch

What is your business doing to turn dunning into a positive customer experience? If you’d like to spar about how to improve the dunning process within your organization, reach out to us anytime.

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3011 VH Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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