From Over-Dunn to Well-Dunn:
A Win-Win Consumer-centric Approach Rooted in Compassionate Communication
Effective communication and connection have always been at the forefront of every industry. However, the advent of the digital age, as well as the new norms pandemic life has thrust upon us, has led to many forms of communication feeling cold, impersonal, and uncustomized. This is especially true in the dunning sector. The good news is that there is a remedy to this problem that benefits healthcare collection agencies and consumers alike: compassionate communication. To tackle this approach in a universal sense, let’s examine some key takeaways of compassionate communication:
- Treat each debtor as an individual with unique circumstances to understand and assess their situation.
- Invest in the tools that result in successful account representatives: build trust through empathetic communication; bolster critical thinking skills to reach alternative solutions; and promote effective top-down negotiations.
- Foster a connection and build trust with the debtor so you’re seen as an ally.
- Establish credibility through customer service training, standing by your mission statements, and ensuring patient satisfaction.
Now to give a more detailed example of how compassionate communication works, let’s examine one of the consumer archetypes determined through the analytics of data scientists. Identifying these various archetypes, based upon behavioral patterns, enables us to ditch the old “one size fits all” dogma and adopt a more targeted approach. In turn, this customization increases engagement and trust among our consumers. Let’s focus on the highly prevalent “Hustler” archetype. “Hustlers” are debtors living paycheck to paycheck who want to pay their bills, but usually focus their spending on tangibles, thus accruing balances they cannot pay off right away. In the past, a “Hustler” may feel stressed or overwhelmed upon receiving an unexpected bill. This anxiety often leads to avoidance or payment delays in hopes of balance reduction. After conducting patient outreach, and consulting experts, a new method was conceived to address these hurdles using empathetic language. There were three main components to this new approach. The first to is eliminate any threatening or intrusive language and replace them with non-forceful reminders. The second key is to use communication that contains more warmth instead of just numbers and facts. The final tactic was to adjust the tone of the written communications using compassionate language such as, “we’re here for you” and pointing out collaborative solutions. As a result of the new compassionate communication model, collections were increased by 3% by “Hustlers.” Consumer-centric billing doesn’t need to be a source of frustration and anxiety. By offering a customized, empathetic, and helpful experience, debtor experiences are improved and better financial results are achieved for all parties involved.
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