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How Multichannel Conversational AI Can Reduce Collection Cost

What is Multichannel Conversational AI in Debt Collection?

Multichannel Conversational AI automates interactions across various communication channels—such as voice, text, chat, and email—to engage with consumers through their preferred mode of communication and assist them in resolving their debt.

This significantly improves the consumer experience throughout the recovery journey. Consumers can seamlessly switch between channels without losing the context of their previous interactions.

The Multichannel Advantage

What benefits have early adopters of Multichannel AI seen in the accounts receivables industry?

Implementing a multichannel strategy has enabled industry-leading organizations to drastically reduce the cost of collections. Thanks to the technology, live agents can focus on more complex, revenue-generating tasks, while AI handles the most repetitive and routine tasks. This strategy boosts agent productivity and decreases agent dependency, solving the staffing and resource challenges many financial services organizations face.

Here are some examples of the overall improvements in collections a Missouri-based collection agency experienced by leveraging Skit.ai’s suite of Multichannel Conversational AI.

Automate Early-Out RCM Collections with Conversational AI

The complex world of healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) and patient billing is evolving rapidly. New digital tools are enabling providers to tackle early-out collections, prevent charge-offs, and improve recovery strategies. For healthcare organizations’ patient billing and RCM providers, early-out collections are a crucial piece of the patient billing puzzle, and AI is here to help.

By contacting patients early and kindly after sending a bill, early-out practices encourage patients to make a payment before the bill is charged off and handed over to collections. This practice can significantly improve an organization’s cash flow as well as the customer experience. However, RCM businesses and divisions often lack the necessary resources to consistently implement early-out collections on a widespread scale.

In this article, we’ll explore how Conversational AI technology can streamline the revenue cycle management (RCM) process. This technology can significantly reduce the revenue cycle duration by automating two-way, human-like conversations with patients, engaging them effectively, and sending reminders through a multichannel approach. Ultimately, these advancements aim to enhance profit margins for healthcare providers.

Early-Out Collections for Healthcare RCM and Billing: Common Challenges and Pain Points

Early-out collection practices help prevent bad debt, encouraging patients to pay their bills in a timely manner. From the provider’s perspective, early-out practices help improve cash flow through revenue recovery.

However, that’s easier said than done. Here are some of the most common challenges and pain points faced by healthcare RCM and patient billing providers:

Patient outreach and follow-ups: The recentness of the bills presents an opportunity for collectors since the consumer is usually easier to reach. But to accomplish the goal, patients must be contacted timely and regular follow-ups must be conducted. The need for multiple engagements and touchpoints can represent a challenge when your business doesn’t have enough staff to handle all these calls manually.

Agent staffing: Agent bandwidth and staffing present a serious challenge for RCM providers. In the last few years, hiring and retaining staff has become very expensive for businesses, with attrition and training costs adding to the strain.

Thin profit margins: Due to low payments and high expenses, RCM businesses are seeing their profit margins shrink. Additionally, due to the rise of High Deductible Healthcare Plans, the average balance of self-pay accounts is higher, making it more difficult for patients to complete their minimum deductible payments.

Debt breakdowns and complex disputes: Patients may inquire into bill breakdowns and insurance intricacies. RCM agents are required to provide the bill breakdown, adding an extra layer of complexity to the recovery cycle.

Long recovery cycles: When it comes to healthcare bills, the clock ticks due to stringent deadlines. Failure to meet these deadlines will cause the bills to go delinquent. If insurance billing is not closed within 90 days of bill generation, insurers can reject any claims against the accounts later, impacting the healthcare provider. When the bill goes to collections, the involvement of third-party collection agencies will reduce the RCM provider’s margins. Additionally, if too many bills are charged off, the healthcare provider will likely stop working with the RCM provider.

What Is Multichannel Conversational AI for Patient Billing Collections

RCM providers are no strangers to software that can simplify and automate many day-to-day tasks. Conversational AI powered by large language models can transform early-out patient billing collections by automating patient outreach through multiple channels, such as phone calls, text messages, emails, and chatbots.

Outbound collections with intelligent bots enable RCM providers to reach as many patients as needed, engage them in human-like conversations, and encourage them to make a payment. This approach allows for effective patient outreach while optimizing the collection process and generating cash flow. Here’s what a bot can do:

  1. Initiate a call or send a text message to engage the patient.
  2. Authenticate the patient by verifying their identity.
  3. Provide bill breakdown and answer questions.
  4. Collect payments on-call or direct patients to a payment portal.
  5. Set up payment plans when needed, especially for high-amount bills.
  6. Transfer the call to a live agent when requested.

Skit.ai’s solution is compliant with all federal and state regulations, including the following laws: TCPA, HIPAA, and more.

The Benefits of AI in Early-Out Collections

Collect more payments: With Conversational AI, you can automate and schedule patient outreach at the right time and using multiple channels (e.g., phone and text messaging). This extensive outreach will generate more engagement and connectivity, driving more timely payments to your business.

Shorten the recovery cycle: Targeted outbound campaigns powered by AI will shorten the average recovery cycle, boosting cash flow.

Reduce charge-offs: Early-out collections enable you to reduce the number of charge-offs, i.e., bills that go into collections and become bad debt. Avoiding charge-offs will help you avoid additional headaches.

Solve staffing challenges: AI is not here to substitute humans but to augment their work. By adding AI to your current team, you’ll help them focus on disputes and complex cases and enable them to service a larger number of bills.

Save $$$: Leveraging artificial intelligence and automation can significantly drive down expenses and help you promote a healthy flow of payments.

Are you interested in learning how Skit.ai’s suite of multichannel solutions can benefit your business? Click here to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

The Debt Collection Industry Is Going Multichannel with AI: Here’s Why

Over the past two years, the accounts receivables industry underwent a notable transformation, marked by a booming demand for AI and digital solutions in what has traditionally been a cautious marketplace. At Skit.ai, we witnessed and helped drive this shift.

Over 70 U.S. third and first-party debt collection agencies and lenders have adopted our Voice AI solution to automate collection calls and augment the work of live agents. As we approached this milestone, we became aware of a growing demand for more: more automation, more channels. While phone calls, whether manual or led by artificial intelligence, are still essential to any debt collection strategy, we’ve been seeing demand for additional channels to engage and interact with consumers.

The research supports this shift. A McKinsey study found that reaching out to consumers through their preferred digital channels boosts payment results. Traditional contact strategies, such as phone calls, letters, and voicemails, may still be prominent, but consumers often prefer to be contacted via digital channels, such as email and text message, especially among younger demographics.

Leveraging a Multichannel Strategy for Better Consumer Engagement and Recovery

Multi- and omnichannel strategies are not new and have already been successfully adopted in customer service, marketing, and retail; they are now coming to the accounts receivables industry, promising to accelerate collections processes and improve consumer engagement.

The use of digital channels to perform activities such as opening a bank account, applying for a credit card, applying for loans, and managing investments is virtually ubiquitous in today’s society. It’s only about time that the collections industry offers consumers those same digital channels to engage with lenders and collectors.

A multichannel strategy caters to consumer preferences by offering multiple communication channels, such as voice, chat, email, and text messaging, both for outbound and inbound interactions, so that each consumer and demographic can interact using the channel of their choice. A multichannel strategy is context-based, meaning that consumers can utilize any channel without losing the context of their previous interactions.

For outbound use cases, a multichannel strategy enables consumers to engage through multiple communication channels at all stages of the delinquency cycle, maximizing account penetration and ensuring compliant outreach frequency through rigorous compliance filters. The technology offers the ability to follow up with unengaged consumers via new channels for incremental penetration.

For inbound use cases, the case for multichannel is just as strong, as it enables companies to offer 24/7 availability, including nighttime, weekends, and holidays, eliminate wait times, and never miss a payment opportunity.

The Success of Voice AI in the Collections Industry

Traditional communication channels such as phone calls are not always working, especially among younger demographics. Different consumers prefer to utilize different channels; now is the time to start tapping into the unimaginable potential that AI-powered conversations can offer.

The success of Voice AI in the accounts receivables industry has shown that consumers are comfortable with the use of bots to resolve debts, and in some cases prefer interacting with a bot rather than a human. Voice AI is far more intelligent than legacy IVR systems, which are unable to handle multi-turn, two-way interactions in a way that is comparable to human conversations. Thanks to technological advances in speech recognition, natural language understanding, and the advent of large language models, Conversational AI has made IVRs a thing of the past.

But Conversational AI has more to offer beyond automated voice conversations—there are chatbots, SMS bots, and email bots, and in a digital-first landscape that highly favors self-service portals, consumers are eager to adopt these additional channels in their interactions with lenders and collectors.

Financial services organizations that have embraced a multichannel strategy have already seen significant success in their collection efforts. By offering consumers the flexibility to interact through various channels, these businesses cater to individual preferences and facilitate more positive interactions. One of our clients saw a 213% boost in recoveries after augmenting their voice-only strategy with additional AI channels.

Paving the Way for Consumer-centric Collections

The relationship between ARM organizations and consumers is evolving. Technology is playing a pivotal role in ensuring that this evolution benefits both parties involved. A multichannel strategy is not about replacing human interactions; it’s about enhancing it by offering multiple touchpoints that meet the diverse needs of consumers and optimizing the resources available to collection entities.

By leveraging cutting-edge technology, businesses can pave the way for a more consumer-centric approach to debt collection, one that is efficient, compliant, and effective. Thanks to the benefits provided by various communication channels, lenders and collection agencies can personalize campaigns, streamline processes, and ultimately improve business results.

Do you want to learn how you can optimize your business with Conversational AI? Use the tool below to schedule a free demo with one of our experts.