Collector - May 2017 - 16
Self-service options have
infiltrated almost every
industry in the world, and
healthcare is no exception-
albeit at a slower pace.
While you may see a touchscreen
check-in kiosk here and there, today
healthcare self-service mainly looks
like this: On their computer at home, or
on their smartphone in their doctor's
waiting room, patients can create
an online account on the provider's
website (or its external partner's site).
Once logged in, patients can look
up price information on medical
procedures, check the current balance
on their account, make a payment,
view or download past statements,
check the payment status of other
family members and even determine if
they qualify for financial assistance.
"These intuitive, self-service tools give
providers the ability to collect money
without having staff make collection
calls," said Jason Considine, senior
vice president of patient collections
and engagement at Experian.
"Providers typically see a huge
increase in both collections and patient
satisfaction scores because it removes
a lot of the stress from that customer
process and their rights before they actually
talk to somebody."
That's why Convergent revamped
its website a few years ago to address
common consumer questions, providing
a comprehensive FAQ with detailed
information about the company, the debt
collection process and payment options.
"We see quite a few consumers who come
to our website strictly for information and
there's no other conversion," Collins said.
"They get the information they need and
go someplace else. The people who are our
customers, they get the information they
want and go to our payment portal because
now they feel comfortable about who we
are-we're not a scam. We've seen payments
go up dramatically because of those changes
on our website."
Collins said he doesn't mind that
noncustomers use Convergent's website as
a source of information on debt collection.
In fact, he said he'd love to see this type
of information on all ACA International
"When you're as transparent as you can
be, when you give people the resources and
information they need, it gives your website
credibility and that builds on itself," he said.
"It helps the whole industry."
Where should you start?
Identify 10 or so of the most common
questions you hear from consumers, write
up answers, have your legal counsel approve
them and put them up on the consumer
section of your website-which, Collins
notes, should constitute at least 80 percent of
Or even better: create a whole new
website just for consumers, filled with useful
information and links to other resources,
such as ACA International, the National
Student Loan Data System and even the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Make it searchable, too, so consumers can
type in a keyword to see all the related
information you have.
Your website should also give consumers
a convenient place to ask questions or even
lodge a complaint against your agency.
Millennials, especially, expect companies'