Before humanity confronted the realities of the Covid Pandemic, the digital revolution of communications was already spreading globally. Cell phones overtook landlines, emails became the primary internal communication tool for businesses, and SMS became a viable channel for advertising.

Though the adoption of these digital communication channels was historically fast, like many burgeoning technologies and concepts, Covid put this transition into hyperdrive. If your business hasn’t already embraced digital communications in reaching customers by now, it’s well behind the curve.

Reaching consumers now depends on your business’s use of email and SMS text messaging. These are not new technologies, but the tools by which they are used en masse have changed significantly over the last three years. In addition, American consumers have come to depend on them.

Considering that by 2025 an estimated 376.4 billion emails will be sent in a single year, the ubiquitous use of email in business and personal communications is already a known quantity. Additionally, as many as 75% of users are checking their email on a mobile device. This now makes the dynamics of email delivery and readability on mobile devices paramount to successful communications strategies.

At the same time, SMS text messaging has also become an ideal platform for advertising and consumer outreach with brands seizing the opportunity of opt-in texting to reach their customers directly. With 97% of Americans owning cell phones, SMS is an efficient and effective tool that businesses can leverage to reach consumers quickly. Text messaging has long since been the preferred communication platform of one generation, and today, consumer inclination toward texting is one of the few areas of common ground across the Boomer, Gen-X, Millennial, and Gen-Z generations.

Now consumers are doing even more with their mobile devices. While the U.S. is trailing the rest of the industrialized world in mobile payments at point-of-sale locations, the use of credit and debit cards for online transactions and the migration to online bill pay has skyrocketed.

Since the vast majority of Americans have a credit card (to a tune of 182 million), their use is the number one transactional tool for all purchases in the U.S. Naturally, with the proliferation of smartphones, mobile wallets are gaining steam in the U.S. as well. With a projected increase from $662.3 Billion spent in 2019 to $1.33 Trillion in 2023, it’s no wonder that nearly one-third of e-commerce transactions in North America are driven by mobile wallets.

However, in recent years the focus of digital communications has been on customer interaction, acquisition, and support. Little attention has been given to the tail end of the customer experience, collections. With call centers heavily impacted by the pandemic and increased delinquencies around the corner, it’s more important than ever to utilize digital strategies throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

But it is important to understand that not all digital solutions are created equally. Simply adopting SMS and email is no longer enough. The incorporation of AI and behavioral analytics along with the ability for customers to self-serve are fundamental pieces of a successful digital strategy.

The ability to track, analyze, customize, and forecast consumer payments, behavior, and interactions only increase the success rate of these digital strategies. As companies begin to apply AI to respond to this data, there is no ceiling to enriching the customer experience, especially as AI-enhanced responsiveness will only create more favorable strategies for businesses by embracing consumers on their terms.

Now more than ever, companies need a holistic solution that utilizes AI, analytics, and self-serve functionality to optimize performance and enhance the consumer experience.

To be continued in The Case for Digital Debt Collection Part II of III: Consumer Debt Adds-up Post-Covid.