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Advantis

Automated, integrated services boost customer and client satisfaction

As a leading debt collection and credit management agency, Advantis was spending too much agent time on basic tasks like taking payments and answering simple queries. By implementing MaxContact’s IVR, auto-payments, and webchat solutions, Advantis freed up their agents to focus on more valuable customer conversations and negotiations. This automated, integrated approach boosted satisfaction for both Advantis’ customers and agents.

Meet Advantis

Advantis is a leading debt collection and credit management agency employing around 190 collection agents and 60 backroom staff. The business works with customers to create realistic and affordable repayment plans, allowing client brands to confidently outsource debt collection to a trusted, reliable and always compliant third party provider.

Advantis’ sympathetic, customer-focused approach is as much about rehabilitating customer accounts as collecting money, prioritising both debt recovery and the preservation of customer goodwill. It’s also very much based on data collection and analysis, giving clients valuable insight that leads to better debt recovery outcomes in future.

The company was founded on telecoms and utility company debt and this is still the core of the business. But current growth is focused on financial services, with Advantis now fully accredited to offer debt collection and credit management solutions to this heavily regulated sector.

We spoke to Advantis’ IT director Brian Roscoe about the company’s growing ambitions and increasingly sophisticated communications requirements.

The challenge: the need to free up time

What drove Advantis to seek a new solution?

Advantis agents spend a lot of time helping customers manage debt, set up realistic repayment plans and keep to repayment schedules. Agents offer useful information and represent a reassuring, sympathetic presence for customers struggling with debt. Agents offer useful information and represent a reassuring, sympathetic presence for customers struggling with debt – they don’t simply collect cash.

For that reason, Advantis has long collected payments through a self-serve function on the company website. The challenge has always been getting customers to use that facility.

  

Many customers prefer to call in to make payments, meaning that a significant amount of agent time was taken up with the time-consuming task of collecting details, checking accounts and authorising payments.

Freeing up agent time would allow the company to offer an even more personal and comprehensive service to customers, which would, in turn, help clients manage credit without losing business or risking reputational damage.

The solution: IVR and auto payments for more efficient service

Advantis has been a MaxContact customer for many years, and the company has always been more than happy with the contact centre platform and MaxContact’s attentive service. When it wanted to expand that service to maximise results, it didn’t need to look anywhere else.

“We’ve always had an excellent relationship with MaxContact, and as a key supplier, the team has always kept us informed about upcoming developments and suggested features that might be useful to us,” says Brian. “We naturally went to them when we wanted better payment options for customers.”

The obvious solution was to adopt MaxContact’s easy-to-use and intuitive interactive voice response (IVR) and auto-payments feature. IVR allows customers to interact with a business without an agent being present, letting callers check accounts and make payments while sidestepping contact centre queues.

The company had implemented MaxContact’s webchat a couple of years ago, which also helps agents focus on more complex or sensitive calls by fulfilling basic requests online. In the last six months, Advantis has increased the function’s utility by signposting customers to its online auto-payment feature.

Results: Communications technology becomes a point of difference

These innovations have made a huge difference to the service Advantis is able to offer. When they’re not taking payments or checking accounts, agents have more time to spend on conversations and negotiation, to the benefit of both customers and clients.

The ability to take payments automatically via IVR also gives customers a 24/7 voice payment option, which means they can make payments when they have the time to do so, reducing the number of missed payments.

The result is that 100% of payments are now channelled through the voice IVR platform, saving the business considerable time and resources. Webchat has had a similar impact. The number of webchats has grown from 20,000 to 31,000 in the last year. The feature was originally managed by a small dedicated team, but the business is now rolling it out into the contact centre.

“We’re currently upskilling our agents to be able to take calls and also answer webchats,” says Brian. “Again, it’s a way for us as a business to maximise skill sets and optimise how we interact with customers. The feedback we’ve had has been extremely positive. Customers love having the options we’re now able to offer.”

There is much more to come. Brian says the company will offer WhatsApp and other omnichannel communication options as part of its service in the near future. The business is also in the middle of adopting MaxContact’s powerful workforce management (WFM) platform, which will add further to contact centre efficiency and, ultimately, customer experience.

“The relationship we have with MaxContact, their own commitment to innovation and the fact that, through regular reviews, they’re aware of what we want to do as a business, has helped technology become a point of difference for us,” says Brian.“

“We’re leading edge in our sector when it comes to the options we can offer customers and the service this technology allows us to provide. That’s one of the reasons why clients come to us, because we’re offering features they can’t offer themselves and that they can’t easily get elsewhere.”   

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