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Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

Multilingual support for variables in voice messages

Collectmaxx customers can now send out rich voice messages, including custom variables, in multiple languages. The feature is now a standard option within our payment reminders suite and is available to all customers. 

Multilingual voice scripts

With multilingual voice scripts, your customers can send out payment reminders via voice messages, in different languages, while also including the personal or financial details related to the payment. 

Specific details such as the name of the person, the amount owed and the case number are now natively read aloud in the preferred language of the recipient. This increases the debtor’s understanding of the situation and leads to better conversion rates.

Supported languages

At present time, supported languages are English, Dutch, Flemish, Walloon, French, German, Swiss German and Austrian German. Of course, based on the needs and preferences of your customers, additional languages can be added.

For more information, contact Quinn Ponidjo. As the Collectmaxx Product Owner at Alphacomm, she is looking forward to helping you with any questions you might have.

Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

New payment method: Tikkie

Alphacomm now offers Tikkie as payment method to all partners and customers based or operating in the Netherlands.

What is Tikkie?

Tikkie is a peer-to-peer payment service that allows people and businesses to request payments from others. Since it’s launch in 2016, the app has become so popular that the word ‘Tikkie’ is now synonymous with the term ‘payment request.’ When someone owes you money, you send them a Tikkie.

In the Netherlands, Tikkie is basically the easiest way to ‘go Dutch’ after a night on the town with friends. However, as the service grew in popularity, so did the use cases. Nowadays Tikkie is also a perfect payment method for businesses of any size. 

Payment requests made easy

Tikkie is a payment method that is available as part of our Paymaxx solution, but can also be integrated into our Collectmaxx (dunning) and Checkmaxx (ecommerce) solutions. 

For example, integration with Checkmaxx, our end-to-end ecommerce solution, allows for the use of Tikkie as a payment method when buying prepaid phone credit, digital (gaming) vouchers or any other high-risk digital goods. This is perfect for families with young children. When kids run out of prepaid credit, they can initiate the order themselves and have their parents finalize the payment by sharing the Tikkie. 

Similarly, when integrated with Collectmaxx, if someone is in payment arrears and has an invoice they can’t afford, they can forward the amount owed, as a Tikkie, to a friend or relative who is willing to help them out.  

But the use cases don’t end there. Paymaxx, Collectmaxx and Checkmaxx customers, regardless of vertical, will benefit from the implementation of this incredibly useful payment method within their checkout process.

How to use Tikkie at checkout

In the video below, we illustrate the checkout process when Tikkie is chosen as payment method within Checkmaxx. 

The user specifies which phone number to top-up and the amount of the top-up. Next, the user selects payment method to use. In this case, that’s Tikkie. After choosing Tikkie, the option is presented to share the payment with the person who will make the actual payment. 

Sharing can be done via any communication app on the user’s device. From messaging apps like WhatsApp to Messenger to social media platforms, email and SMS. Moreover, a friendly text is included, so the recipient always informed regarding the goal of the payment and the amount requested. The included text can be customized by the user before sending. 

For more information, contact Lourens Badenhorst. As the Checkmaxx Product Owner at Alphacomm, he is looking forward to helping you with any questions you might have.

How to improve dunning efficiency and get better results

How to improve dunning efficiency and get better results

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 a company’s next USP?

Unexpected phone calls that ruin a perfect day. Arbitrary deadlines that don’t seem to make sense. To the average customer, missing a payment or being reminded about it are not generally regarded as positive experiences. 

However, all companies need to secure their revenues. Getting paid, aside from a profit motive, is also about survival. When late payments and non-payments spiral out of control, the effect can be very detrimental to the balance sheet.

Make dunning a positive experience

How can your clients get more out of their dunning process, while maintaining a great customer experience? There’s often a lack of clarity regarding the best way to approach this problem and get results. In essence, what 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? 

To that end, we’ve developed a framework with an easy-to-remember acronym: UDAP. 

Let’s break it down in just four steps:

Step 1: Understand

First, companies need to know their customer’s preferences when it comes to communication channels. E.g. don’t send letters to customers who prefer emails.

Step 2: Diversify

Secondly, companies need to diversify their 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: Adjust

Thirdly, companies need to meet their customers halfway. In practice, this means delving into their customers’ demographics and behaviour in order to increase the effectiveness of dunning efforts. For example, if a customer segment has trouble reading, the company can supplement its emails, for example,  with audio and video.

Step 4: Provide

Lastly, companies need to provide options rather than ultimatums. Assuming that a company’s customers like the service it provides and actually 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, companies need to make sure they offer all the payment methods customers use and expect, including local and regional payment methods. Moreover, customers need to be provided 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.

Moreover, companies 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 payment and involves them in the resolution. How? By allowing customers to make their own decisions, at their own pace in a non-threatening digital environment.

Bonus tip: Set the right tone

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 a bill collector. 

Therefore, it is crucial that managers take a good look at their dunning process and assess how they are addressing their customers. This means taking a look at the tone of voice used in company communications and asking if that is how they would like to be spoken to.

Moreover, how helpful are these messages? To what extent are companies pre-filling or providing information that customers would otherwise need to go search for themselves? 

Win-win situation

By using a personalized and positive approach throughout the 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. 

In the end, it is important that customers feel a company is on the same page as they are. By applying these steps, your clients will:

  • help their 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

If you’d like to spar about how to improve the dunning process within organizations, reach out to us anytime. 

How to help your customers manage credit risk in 2021

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on consumers’ personal finances in 2020. Unfortunately, it is now clear that the real economic impact will only be felt in 2021. How are you going to help your customers vaccinate against the financial symptoms of COVID-19?

Income, savings and the lack thereof

European consumers are spending a lot less. Still, it’s not necessarily that the money isn’t there. Overall, European consumers are fairly cautious about what the future will bring. This is evident in their spending patterns. In the Euro area, consumer savings have actually skyrocketed to almost 25% of gross disposable income during the first wave of the pandemic and remained as high as 22% in Q3.

However, this is not the case across the board. While many Europeans have kept their jobs and have actually been able to pay off debts more easily during the pandemic, others have been made redundant and are facing an uphill battle against mounting bills. The latter group of individuals causes worry. It is estimated that, without a month’s income, 29.6 million people in Europe (8.7% of Europeans) would not be able to afford the payment of basic utilities nor a month’s supply of food (Bruegel, 2020). If the income drought lasts two months, that figure jumps to 41.6 million individuals or 12.2% of Europeans.

Where consumers live also greatly affects the direness of their personal situation. In countries like Croatia, Latvia and Lithuania, a 50% salary cut for two months means that individuals have trouble paying their bills. On the other hand, in countries like Belgium and Finland, a similar pay cut would only see 0.5% of individuals end up in vulnerable situations.

Moreover, at the time of writing, there are 15.6 million unemployed in Europe of which it is believed that 1.7 million were added during the pandemic and that another 14 million could be added, if countries were to suspend emergency work schemes that keep people employed by subsidizing salaries. 

Credit management in times of COVID-19

The corona crisis has done a great deal of damage to the European economy. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have disappeared and a large part of the European population is struggling to make ends meet. A second wave is currently raging and there is a good chance that a third wave will follow before any of the very promising vaccines start to have an effect. The predictions for 2021 are therefore grim.

It is inevitable that the number of customers in arrears will increase in 2021. It is therefore important that companies review their debtor management in good time.

How do you ensure that, in times of crisis, customers continue to pay on time? How do you ensure that the dunning process increases loyalty instead of costing you customers?

The appropriate strategy should place the customer at its centre. Businesses must provide customers with personalized payment experiences. Furthermore, it is essential that debt collectors anticipate difficult situations and think along with customers preemptively, in order to come up with customer-friendly solutions that work.

3 steps to achieve better collection results in 2021

With over two decades of experience in the customer-friendly collection of outstanding invoices, Alphacomm is a trusted veteran and a proven specialist within the field. That’s why we’re confident that 2021 can still be a pretty good year for credit management, if the right approach is taken.
By following these steps, you can help your customers develop payment reminder strategies that deliver results.

Step 1 – Put the customer first
Make it more efficient and more user-friendly for your customers to pay by digitizing your credit management processes.

Step 2 – Personalize your approach
The next step is to increase your odds of success by offering multiple types of payment reminders that are personalized based on customer demographics, payment history and even literacy level. 

Step 3 – Think like your customer

Finally, but at least as important, is the availability of payment options. Provide your customers with a wide choice of payment methods (from debit card to Apple Pay) as well as the choice to either pay later or pay in instalments. This way, there will always be a solution that works out, no matter the situation.

How are you planning to help your customers develop COVID-proof debt collection strategies for 2021? I would like to hear what your ideas are.

 

Rick Kraaijeveld

Product Owner Collectmaxx

To paylink or not to paylink? The pros and cons revealed

Businesses, increasingly concerned with the deliverability and effectiveness of their invoices, have been turning to paylinks. How do paylinks work? And are they really that effective? Read on and find out. 

 

The decline of the ‘traditional post office’ is a universal theme all over the world. If your payment collection process is primarily based on sending out traditional letters via the post, you’re probably seeing the effectiveness of your strategy declining year over year. 

 

Consumers, especially younger generations, have either adopted or have grown up with a digital-first mindset. They travel a lot, they often move from city to city in search of job opportunities and see homeownership as less of a priority when compared to their parents’ generation. 

 

Paylinks – digital payment made easy

For many people nowadays, the last thing they need is a paper envelope in the mail containing ‘important information.’ As far as they are concerned, if your message was really that important, you could have reached them in better, more immediate ways. 

 

One strategy for improving the effectiveness of invoices is to embrace the digital experience and send payment links instead. Payment links or simply paylinks for short, are personalized URLs embedded in email, SMS messages or printed in letters as scannable QR-codes. Once clicked or scanned, the links redirect the customers to a secure online environment where the payment can be made.

 

Are paylinks the ultimate solution for payment requests? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sending out paylinks through e-mail.

 

The pros of using paylinks

 

Cost reduction

Sending out paper letters costs money, both in terms of postage and the raw materials required. By comparison, going paperless means getting similar results at only a fraction of the cost. 

 

Lower DSO

A paylink redirects the customer to a payment page for the specific invoice in question. Since all the information is pre-filled, a paylink saves the customer a lot of time. Moreover, when customers pay via paylink, businesses are instantly made aware of the payment. With digital paylinks, keeping admin up to date is a breeze.  

 

More payment methods

When a customer enters the payment page, they are presented with a wide range of payment methods. These include the local, regional and international payment methods customers know and trust. Customers may be delighted to find out that they can use a credit card or Paypal when making a payment to a local company. 

Sustainability

Sending out traditional letters isn’t very good for the environment. Most companies nowadays are aware of their ecological impact and many have even aligned themselves to some extent with the sustainable development goals put forth by the United Nations. By going digital, companies reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener planet.

 

Broader strategic options

Though paylinks are often used in e-mail, it’s important to realize that paylinks come in various forms. For example, a paylink can be sent via SMS or presented to the customer when they engage with a chatbot.  Another benefit is the fact that e-mail paylinks can provide businesses with the opportunity to properly register more customers – in accordance with GDPR – by driving them towards creating an online account. 

 

Wide adoption 

Paylinks are also an opportunity when it comes to reaching older demographics. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought everybody together in the online world an accelerated the process of digital adoption. Older demographics are now also creating SaaS accounts, paying their bills online and engaging with others via video calls, emails and social media platforms. 

 

The cons of using paylinks

 

Permission

Sending out digital invoices isn’t something companies can do from one day to the next. European businesses are legally bound by GDPR. This means they need to acquire a customer’s explicit permission before sending them a paylink via e-mail or SMS. Some businesses, as part of their general business practices, may have already acquired permission from some customers, but not for others. 

 

Luckily, as previously mentioned, a major benefit of paylinks is the ability to drive customers to create online accounts. In other words, the proper implementation of paylinks accelerates customer registration and helps businesses remain GDPR compliant. 

 

Trust issues

Everybody with an e-mail inbox receives SPAM or phishing emails. Some are savvy enough to tell the difference instantly, others may not know what the signs are and how to separate legitimate emails from scams. Companies need to make sure their e-mails are consistent with their brand and tone of voice. 

 

Deliverability

Sending out thousands of transactional emails as a business is not the same as sending out marketing newsletters to customers. To ensure deliverability of transactional emails, SMTP servers and IP addresses need to be whitelisted and list maintenance needs to be carried out regularly. 

 

Open rates

Inbox fatigue is a real issue. Many people receive hundreds of emails per day. It’s totally conceivable that a message could slip through the cracks and never be seen.   

 

Paylinks – a must-have tool

When it comes to paylinks, the pros outnumber, outweigh and resolve the cons. In fact, when implemented correctly, the personalized paylink is a cost-efficient and highly effective must-have tool in a company’s payment collection arsenal. 

 

From lowering costs and improving GDPR compliance to making the payment experience quicker and more customer-friendly, it’s safe to say that the benefits of implementing paylinks within a dunning strategy are clear.

 

My advice? Align yourself with a partner who can help you navigate the legal and technological hurdles your customers face. The potential pitfalls, though notable, can easily be mitigated by working on the implementation of a paylink strategy alongside experienced professionals. 

 

At Alphacomm, we’re happy to help manage risks and provide you with the means to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. If you’d like to spar about how to improve the dunning process within large organizations, reach out to us anytime. 

 

Catalin Draghici

Product Owner Paymaxx

Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

Major upgrade for Voice Reminders service

We’re pleased to announce that the upgrade is now official. Key improvements are the new API and increased flexibility of call paths. With the new API, customers can integrate our solution into their own services, enabling them to monitor the steps their debtors are taking. 

 

Moreover, with the increased flexibility of call paths, we’re able to integrate voice calls into different features and situations. For example, our customers can now allow their debtors to start a call by clicking a button on a web page. Another added benefit is that we can also match the call speeds or forwards depending on the activity and availability of call centers. 

 

To find out more about other technical benefits and real-world applications, we recommend you get in touch with the product owner of our Reminders service Rick Kraaijeveld (rick[at]alphacomm.nl).

 

Here’s a list of all the updated features:

 

* API accessibility. The voice service is ready for integration in client services.

* Better tracking of call results, which are updated during a call, where we can follow all results.

* More flexibility in the usage of variables in voice scripts.

* Increased scalability. Scale up when the traffic peaks and scale down once it reduces.

* Easier to add new voices and languages due to automatic conversion of sound files.

* Possibility to add web hooks to give customers real-time information via API and faster result handling.

* Possibilities to handle scheduling better and more flexible.

Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

Introducing SMS Dashboard

Collectmaxx, our reminder & dunning solution, already offers a dashboard overview of outbound calls. Today we present the SMS dashboard. If you are using SMS scripts you can find insights in our new dashboard.

 

 

In this overview, you can see the total amount of created, failed and delivered events of the current day. It is also possible to search in past days for clear overviews and details.

If you are not currently using our SMS service, but you are interested to do so, then you can contact us to discuss your options. With the SMS service, you can send paylinks very easily and your customers will be re-directed to the payment page in a blink of an eye.

 

 

Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

New Currencies added to our Reminders platform

As European companies continue to expand beyond their own borders, the ability to ‘speak the same currency’ becomes more important.

We’ve recently added new currencies to our Reminders platform. Your customers can now use the Czech Crown and US Dollar in their forecasts, reports, quotes and other currency fields.

The US Dollar can be used in the following countries:

  • United States of America
  • Puerto Rico
  • Ecuador
  • Republic of El Salvador
  • Zimbabwe
  • Guam
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Palau
  • Marshall Islands

If you want to offer these new currencies to your customers, you can contact us, and we will set it up for you.

Additionally, if any other currency is requested from your customers, we can add it! Contact us, and we will make their reminders as international as their organization.

Understaffed Call centres?

We offer you a solution for all those calls coming in at the same time

Most emails and SMS with pay links are being sent at the same time in the morning. For some companies, this comes paired with a lot of calls with questions from customers. Taking into account COVID-19, some call centres are understaffed. This can cause a problem for all the incoming calls from customers.

So we offer you a solution. We can configure your campaigns to spread the sending of emails/SMS over the day, instead of sending them all at the beginning of the day. This will result in customer calls being spread throughout the day and your call centres will be able to answer all of your customers’ questions.

If you are interested in this solution please contact us, and we will arrange it for you.

 

Are you already an Alphacomm customer?

You can check your current Delivery times as follows: Go to the Scripts overview page and click on the script name. Then open the PayMail or SMS tab. There you can view the “Delivery time start“ and “Delivery time end“ settings.

Note: Only people with the manager role can view the configuration of campaigns.

Additional language support added to Checkmaxx

New payment method: Carte Bancair

Are you active in France and do you want to offer your French customers an optimal payment experience? Then you can not do it without Carte Bancaire.

Carte Bancaire has more than 60 million cardholders

Carte Bancaire is the most used payment method in France. Before Carte Bancaire it was called Carte Bleue. The payment card is still popularly known as Carte Bleue.

Carte Bancaire is a Visa-branded debit card and is the most popular payment method in France. This is evident from the fact that Carte Bancaire has more than 60 million cardholders, which makes the payment card indispensable for an entrepreneur. This popular payment card is issued by all major French banks. Half of all payment cards are suitable for making online payments. This concerns all Carte Bancaire cards on which the “Verified by Visa” logo can be found.

Carte Bancaire is now added to our payment methods and all customers with these payment cards can pay securely online through our 130R Platform.