Collections specialist, Hoist Finance is one of the first in the debt collections sector to use Rich Communications Service (RCS), a new messaging technology which will replace SMS (texting) on Android smartphones. The new technology provides customers with a two-way conversational and transactional interaction.

Hoist says RCS will enable better engagement with its customers via automated chatbots to propose settlement offers, issue payment reminders, and other conversational communications using a channel with which many customers are becoming familiar and prefer to use.

Peter Mounsey, Group Head of Digital for Hoist Finance said “Services that were once only available through the call centre or self-service portal can now be delivered through RCS, giving customers the choice in how they wish to engage with us in a way that is most convenient to them. In the retail environment, customers take it for granted that they can interact in this way and they expect us to offer similar solutions. Furthermore, the ability for a customer to self-serve in both our portal and through our messaging channels leads to some customers engaging who would not normally do so.”

“For many of our customers who have originated their loans in a digital environment we believe we need to maintain and further enhance that experience for them with our Digital by Default strategy.”

Michael Power, Future Messaging Product Manager at Esendex said: “Hoist have used our new chatbot platform to create a fantastic and personalised customer experience that is available to customers 24/7. Companies like Hoist that put customer experience at the heart of their communications strategy are driving the debt collection industry forward, and it has been very rewarding to work with them on this critical project.”

To complement the release of the RCS messaging channel, Hoist Finance has also deployed a chatbot enabled Web Chat. This is the first phase of providing conversational chatbot technology behind all omni-channels to support customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This AI powered chatbot uses the latest Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology and is provided by Norwegian Fintech company Boost AI.

Mounsey also said “Analysis of the content of our inbound calls and existing two-way omni–channel interactions have highlighted that a significant percentage of our customer conversations are information-only requests. It has therefore been a natural part of our Digital Strategy to find ways to automate this. This both provides a quick and efficient service to the customer as well as allowing our agents time to be more focused on the more complex customer interaction and needs.”