Like any debt repayment method, debt resolution can bring up feelings of restlessness and fatigue. For our clients, once the initial high of finding a solution for debt has waned, post-enrollment relief can give way to more practical concerns. Our clients may, for example, experience anxiety while awaiting their first resolution offer, or desire to look ahead to the next steps in their program.
We designed our Client Dashboard to address our clients’ needs at every stage of the debt resolution process, offering them a hub with self-service options, program resources and direct access to our team whenever they need to talk. The Dashboard has been instrumental in providing a transparent experience that gives our clients real-time insights into their programs and control over their success. Late last year, we elevated that experience further with the rollout of the Beyond Finance app.
Debt Relief Anywhere: What Our Clients Want
A mobile application isn’t the only way to engage with and empower clients, but it has its advantages. In 2021, Beyond Finance’s business leaders weighed our options for expanding access to the Client Dashboard.
Driven by consumer data, our operations team kept the increasing popularity of smartphones in mind as they chose a direction for this project. Cell phone usage is projected to continue rising in the next two years and in 2021, cell users spent approximately 90% of their mobile time on apps. Based on these trends, the app seemed a future-focused solution that would align with long-term consumer habits. It also aligned with our clients’ preferences today. “Many clients just prefer to make adjustments to their program in an app,” explained Lou Antonelli, chief operating officer at Beyond Finance.
Ultimately, a mobile app stood out far and above other web-based solutions because of three factors: ease of access, portability and autonomy. “The primary motivation for creating an app is to provide our clients with the information they need when it’s convenient for them,” emphasized Antonelli, who championed the project. “Managing debt can be stressful, and we believe it should be easy to access the information that helps clients succeed in our program.”
Antonelli added that giving clients the tools to manage their programs independently was a top priority for the business. ”Simple changes shouldn’t require our clients to drop everything and call us,” he noted. “We want to allow clients to self-manage their success. I would question a company that claims to be my partner, but forces me to call them anytime I need to make an adjustment.”
First in Class: Developing Our App from the Ground Up
With plans for an app in place, the organization needed to source top talent who could bring the project to life. “We didn’t have a mobile team in place at all,” laughed Sergio Rabiela, VP of technology at Beyond Finance. The team got crafty and used the technical expertise they already had to sculpt out a vision for the application. “We were able to do a proof of concept with a web engineer who was interested in learning more about React Native.”
With a proof of concept squared away, the technology department used Beyond Finance’s talent philosophy to expand their team. What did they look for, specifically? “We value communication and influence skills just as much as we do technical skills,” said Rabiela. “The main thing on the technical side is making sure new hires are motivated by using technology to solve business problems instead of building tech for tech’s sake.”
According to Rabiela, the team had “a ton to learn” from the start. They went into the development process with a desire not to simply jam the Dashboard into the app’s interface, but to create a mobile-first experience. On the Beyond Finance App, the Dashboard is enhanced by improved navigation, biometric access and push notifications for pivotal points in a client’s program, like new resolution offers.
The biggest takeaway for our people was that building a team that cares about providing real results for clients in financial distress paid off. “Our team is passionate about delivering a best-in-class client experience, and that passion fuels great projects,” said Antonelli.
Debt Relief In Your Hands: Taking the Beyond Finance App to Launch
The Beyond Finance App is the first debt resolution app available to consumers, and it was created, in part, with our clients’ feedback. Our technology and operations teams made it a point to find out what information and features were most important to enrollees to drive the development of this new tool.
Antonelli sees this as not only a triumph in finding a competitive edge in the market but also in truly learning from our clients and building products that serve them: “We may think we know what our clients want, but the best way to find out is by asking them!”
In the end, the app fulfilled its goal of giving our clients a tool to track and adjust their programs anytime. “The app makes it easy for clients to track their progress in our program. Our clients can see the successful outcomes happening in real-time, track the amount they’ve saved and make adjustments to their program,” said Antonelli.
Since launching, our clients have shown a strong preference for the app with a whopping 87% migrating over from their previously-used web Dashboards. After just a few months, only 13% of our clients still primarily use the classic Dashboard, a clear indication that when the team invested in a mobile application, they set themselves up for long-term rewards.
For now, we intend to keep building on this new experience. Antonelli concluded that, so far, the results of this project “tell us we need to keep working to make our app better and better for our clients.”