Good Saturday evening and grew restless watching the news this evening....needed to get away and do something productive. So on that note, sharing some thoughts and recommendations for my servicing colleagues and clients related to the focus on the CUSTOMER!
Some of my thoughts on the topic are as follows:
Identify Risk by Segments
Analyze your customer data to understand which segments have a higher chance of needing help, such as those who work in the gig economy or hospitality industry. Your freelancer segments in hospitality and leisure will likely be the first ones affected. You’ll also want to pinpoint segments with large debt-to-income ratios, as they’ll likely be struggling as well.
Identify at-risk geographies. Monitor CDC and John Hopkins data (Tableau.com offers a free data source as well) to keep track of the geographic areas most affected by the outbreak. Examine locations of large event cancellations, regardless of whether the virus has impacted that area or not. Identify locations that rely heavily on tourism.
Combine at-risk segments with at-risk geographies. Overlap findings of the two analyses and evaluate individual employment, mortgage, loan, and credit customer circumstances to determine who should qualify for forbearance or other types of payment assistance. Consider modeling various “what if” scenarios.
Plan customer-centric measures for distressed borrowers
Know how you’ll handle late and missed payments. For affected customers, develop guidelines that outline how you’ll handle forgiveness for late and missed payments. How long will you suspend credit reporting for payment arrearages? How long will you suspend auto repossessions and home foreclosures? Will you waive late fees on credit card payments?
Develop loss mitigation strategies. You’ll need to decide how you’ll handle loss mitigation. These should include short- and long-term considerations, including when you’ll move from payment deferrals to loan restructures.
Remember key traits of customer service excellence includes:
Defining a clear compelling value proposition – delivered through Journeys
Know the Journeys that matter and why they matter
Continuously innovate the end-to-end Journey experience
Use Journeys to reinforce the front-line culture (remote vs. non-remote)
Optimize operational processes and systems to ensure consistent delivery
Develop a plan to help and engage customers
Develop consistent criteria for assistance programs. Consult with your legal and compliance partners to confirm appropriate and consistent measures in providing assistance. How many programs will you offer? Who will qualify for which program? How will you make sure that you’re treating all customers consistently, regardless of protected class status? You don’t want your hastiness today to lead to fair-lending issues later.
Develop and implement processes for assistance programs. Document steps employees are authorized to take when assisting customers, such as overdraft or late charge reversals. Tailor interactive voice response (IVR) messaging/call campaigns to direct affected customers to dedicated employees who can discuss assistance options. Provide additional training for those employees. Develop job aids/FAQ documentation for single point of contact (SPOC) agents.
Create a communications strategy for affected customers. Once you understand the at-risk customer segments, you should plan your outreach. How will you explain your programs? What regulatory disclosures are necessary? And once you’ve crafted those messages, how will you deliver them? Will you place a banner at the top of your mobile app? Will you mail instructions to borrowers on how to reach out for help? You’ll probably need to do both of these, and send emails as well. Make sure that the messaging is consistent across channels, and that you’re “living your brand” with every communication.
In closing, leverage your suppliers/partners and engage with them in these exercises. Transparency and teamwork is more important than ever. We’re here to assist!
Good night folks.