To Aura, being customer-obsessed means placing trust at the center of the relationship between its customers and its services. The company was founded in 2014 with a mission to provide economic justice for Americans who have little to no credit history but need access to capital for both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
Now its white label lending platform, Lendify, which was recently distinguished by the U.S. Treasury Department as one of the few for-profits with CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) certification, can be found at seven hundred locations across four states. If not for Aura, hundreds of thousands of borrowers would not be able to access affordable and responsibly underwritten capital. Many of Lendify’s borrowers do not qualify for credit cards and are forced to resort to predatory and costly payday or auto title loans.
Trust as a Two-way Street
Aura views trust as a two-way street. Borrowers prove their trustworthiness by providing evidence of their ability to repay their loans while Aura demonstrates trust by opening up free, ubiquitous access to loan repayment locations, offering transparency of its loan terms in easy-to-understand language, providing credit education together with a free credit score, honoring consumer protections at the core of its policies – like reporting on-time repayment to the credit bureaus – so that each and every borrower is set-up for success at repayment. That’s why Aura looked to Quiq to open the text messaging channel – the trusted, preferred, and convenient way to engage with their target audience.
Aura’s retail network business model is strategically designed to meet customers where they already engage in financial services – at the grocery store, money transfer businesses, and now, on their mobile devices. When the company implemented text messaging in 2017, it had a vision of reaching and engaging prospects and customers more effectively. The text messaging channel has allowed Aura to provide personalized communication through a channel that customers feel comfortable using, and on their own time. In addition to opening up a new channel to drive growth and deepen relationships, Quiq Messaging has helped Aura’s borrowers stay on track with on-time payments by providing an easy solution to payment reminders.
“We want to provide our customers with a seamless application and borrowing experience on the channel that is most preferred to them.”
David Schwartz – Senior Manager, Operations Strategy and Workforce Management, Aura
Before implementing Quiq Messaging, Aura engaged mainly by voice, verifying applications over the phone, so they knew their customer base used their mobile device. Outreach efforts were not as effective over the phone and many voicemails left by agents weren’t being returned. Using SMS messaging was a new concept, but it gave customers a way to engage without feeling invaded, especially if expecting a tough conversation.
Aura viewed engagement with customers as key to helping borrowers improve their financial health by making sure their loans remained in good standing. Aura used collections as their pilot program with Quiq, using outbound text messaging to help customers get their loan payments back on track. Collection agents love using the SMS messaging channel because they are connecting more than ever before and the more people they reach, the more effective they are.
The company has been happy to see that borrowers like to engage via SMS/text messaging even if it is for collections. In fact, Aura has seen more engagements than anticipated. Aura is also happy that many customers are proactive and come to them to look for guidance by texting questions like “When’s my next payment?” or “What do I need to do to get my loan into good standing?”.
The company plans to continue growing and using text messaging to support its commitment to make life better for their customers. Aura will soon be launching a financial health platform to help prospects, borrowers and those who are declined deepen their knowledge of personal finance in support of a more financially healthy future.
Aura is also looking for new ways to bring the messaging channel into their customers’ journey, with an eye towards the loan application process. The company anticipates the application process will be similar to collections in that an Aura agent will walk through loan applications via text messaging to make sure potential borrowers know what the qualifications are and what paperwork is required.
Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with friends and family. With Quiq, customers can engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. In return, companies get a digital engagement platform to communicate with customers. Try it out yourself today with a free demo!