Debbie Nolan, Commercial Director at Arvato Financial Solutions, spoke to Capacity magazine to explain how artificial intelligence (AI) can help telecoms businesses maximise their collections, tackle bad debt and protect relationships with their most vulnerable customers.
Recovering bad debt is a continuous challenge for the telecoms industry. Recent estimates from risk analysts Neural Technologies show that globally, telecoms operators face a loss of $300 billion annually as a result of uncollected revenue and fraud.
This places significant financial pressure on an industry already grappling with diminishing profits as consumers’ communications habits change. UK telecoms revenues dropped one per cent in 2017 to £35.6 billion due customers spending less on traditional voice calls, favouring internet-based messaging platforms instead. This not only impacts the bottom line, but means the fundamental operations of telecoms businesses themselves, particularly their customer services, must change. As customers demand flexibility across a variety of platforms to solve their queries, telecoms companies must be ready to adopt new solutions to cater for these shifting expectations.
Debbie says: “AI is emerging as a key solution to the challenges facing telecoms companies, enabling providers to create platforms that bring together disparate customer data and provide a snapshot of a customer’s habits, circumstances, outstanding debt and contact history.
“This technology can be integrated into new, intelligent online solutions such as chatbots, which can be the ideal medium for handling some of the most difficult or sensitive customer cases. Stripping away the need for customers to share information directly with an advisor, it can reduce the stigma surrounding collections and allow customers to settle their debts discretely.
“In our own trial of this technology with a number of businesses in Brazil, we were able to create a fully-personalised, truly omnichannel user experience. Known as NOC.AI, it can be integrated with online messaging platforms such as WeChat, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, allowing customers the flexibility to communicate through the channels that are most familiar to them”
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