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As we all know, there is a significant shift in today’s consumers’ preferred method of communication. Most consumers would rather avoid the direct dialogue with a live agent call, and the idea of any mail that is not email seems ancient. As collections firms derive methods and develop strategies to accommodate this shift, the benefit that have resulted from this change should not be overlooked.
Moving from calls made by the collection agency employees using scripts as they communicate with consumers to an automated platform reduces not only the cost to serve these clients by reducing staff needs but, more importantly, reduces the risk imposed on collections by employees that go “off script” and can also lead to additional revenue. A great example of a new strategy available to debt collectors today is online debt negotiation.
How it Works
An online debt negotiation option is offered by way of an online platform where consumers can negotiate and pay their past-due accounts online via their computer, tablet, or smartphone. The process is automated and moderates the dialogue between the two parties, negotiates on behalf of your company, and facilitates payment processing. It is set up based on each collection agency’s individual standards and guidelines and uses machine learning to optimize the results.
It will create from the instructions provided a systematic automated solution that doesn’t deviate. As we all know, this cannot be said about all collection agency employees taking calls and negotiating. This therefore significantly reduces the liability of the agency under regulations such as the FDCPA or TCPA due to an untrained or overly exuberant collector who can cause issues for a variety of reasons including when the collector:
- goes off-script;
- uses aggressive methods that push too hard;
- does not define the payment plan in a clear and concise manner; or
- treats two consumers with the same profile differently.
And to excite those that may not find as much joy in the idea of improving compliance as this writer does, online debt negotiation has also been shown to add revenue to an agency’s bottom line. For example, for consumers:
- who are intimidated by the idea of “asking” a live agent and would rather not make any payments at all for a debt they cannot afford vs. asking for any reduction;
- want to negotiate after business hours, the online negotiation can occur 24/7, or
- who do like talking to agents but who also cannot agree to the plans offered through the automated system. These consumers will have the benefit of shorter calls with the agents as the agent will have the insight into what the consumer previously rejected.
To end, while some agencies can be hesitant to add more technology to their collection process, the benefits of such cannot be overlooked. Any method that an agency can offer that that eliminates the costly risk of “bad actors” must be considered. And the fact that adding such will provide more potential revenue should make the decision an easy one to make.
Originally Published in insideARM, insideARM.com