The ever-changing dynamics of the collections environment are making it increasingly difficult for organizations and agencies to contact their customers. Government regulations, robocalls, call blocking, spam-mislabeling, lack of consumer trust in answering calls, and inaccurate phone data have radically accelerated the drop in right-party contact rates and operational efficiencies.
On May 7, 2019 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA). The proposed rulemaking addresses many aspects of communicating with consumers, including limiting call attempts and telephone conversations from debt collectors to no more than seven attempts by telephone within a consecutive seven-day period to reach a consumer about a specific debt. Once a telephone conversation between the debt collector and consumer takes place, the debt collector must wait at least a week before calling the consumer again. 
With the potential for these proposed rules to take effect next year, now is the time for collections operations teams to thoroughly evaluate their outbound dialing processes to understand the impact that these rulings may have on their business processes. Collections organizations can perform an operational analysis measuring efficiencies to understand the quality of the customer data and to know how many attempts/days it currently takes for a right-party contact across the different customers account profiles.
A recent report found that there were 4.9 billion robocalls and 2.25 billion scam robocalls in April 2019 alone. Given this dramatic uptick, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed granting telecom carriers to roll out anti-robocall tools by default, as opposed to waiting for consumers to enable those technology features on their phones. Companies will need better identification and registration of their phone numbers to mitigate the risk of blocked or spam-mislabeled calls to their customers; ideally this is done by managing and assigning caller names to all owned phone numbers to ensure consistency across multi-operators and mobile apps.
Additionally, TCPA is still a major concern for companies making outbound calls, as they strive to avoid costly penalties and class action lawsuits. TCPA regulations prohibit using auto-dialers and pre-recorded messaging, including SMS messages, when calling or messaging wireless devices without the consent of the called party. With the velocity of consumer contact data changing continuously, companies need to ensure their CRM records are accurate and up-to-date before dialing a number.
The Impact of Call Blocking and Spam Mislabeling
A recent impact study on call-blocking and labeling technologies within the accounts receivable industry, performed by the Association of Credit and Collections Professionals (ACA International), found that the “misclassification of legitimate calls as a scam and the blocking of such calls is a serious issue that threatens the fundamental ability of debt collectors to communicate with consumers to share important account information.” The survey results indicated that 78% of the respondents experienced call-blocking and 74% had their calls mislabeled. 62% of the survey respondents reported seeing a decrease in right-party contacts. How can an organization contact their customers if the calls are blocked or not trusted enough to be answered?
The Velocity of Contact Data Changes
Consumer contact information is constantly changing. Approximately 12% of wireless phones are reassigned or ported annually. Unless a company has changes in consumer phone data pushed to their CRM in near real-time, the inaccuracies mount incredibly quickly. How can an organization connect with their customers if the phone information is incorrect or incomplete?
Phone Data Intelligence Revolutionizing Customer Contact Rates
Phone data intelligence is revolutionizing the way organizations can effectively reach their customers. The combination of accurate, insightful, authoritative, and predictive data enables organizations to mitigate call blocking and spam mislabeling, reduce the number of calls made, minimize the number of bad dials, determine the right number to contact, and understand the best time to contact the consumer. All of these data points enable outbound dialers to dramatically increase right party contacts and improve operational effectiveness.
The revolutionary value of phone data enables organizations to use the collective power of various phone attributes for better decision-making. The best approach for optimizing outbound dialing involves managing an organization’s CRM phone data as follows:
Accurate: Keep your CRM database current with a sophisticated identity solution that relies on authoritative data sources and pushes any changes in consumer records to the database in near real-time.
Insightful: Use authoritative identity sources to append contact information, such as email addresses, additional phones numbers and phone type to provide added contact points and key insights on compliance risk.
Authoritative: Prevent inadvertent call blocking and spam-mislabeling by ensuring that the phone numbers used for outbound calling are included in an authoritative list of registered business numbers.
Predictive: Work with a phone intelligence vendor to analyze and prioritize the various numbers within each account according to phone number quality and contactability scores. Reprioritize the numbers based on which ones are most likely to be answered and which ones should not be called. Use predictive phone behavior insights to gain an understanding when consumers are most likely to answer their phones, both by time of day and day of week to eliminate wasted call attempts.
How Neustar Transforms Outbound Dialing
Neustar offers a holistic approach for strategic outbound dialing by providing the unique phone data intelligence and device behavior insights needed to enable collections organization to reach their consumers more efficiently and effectively while minimizing compliance risk. Due to its close relationship to phone carriers—managing over 90% of U.S. caller ID—Neustar also enables companies to manage and assign caller names to all owned phone numbers and ensure consistency across multi-operators and mobile apps while preventing inaccurate call blocking or mislabeling.
Neustar's unique richness and depth of verification data, supported by over 200 authoritative data sources, have made it the leader in responsible identity resolution. These services include verifying identity offline and online data: name, address, landline, mobile phone, email, and more. Neustar clients find value in understanding the intersection of these data points; for example, is a mobile phone associated with a specific consumer? What is the best time to call and best number to use to actually reach the consumer? Connecting the most precise and authoritative consumer identity data available helps companies prioritize outbound calling strategies, mitigate compliance risk, and communicate efficiently to their consumers.
Neustar clients show an average of 33% lift in right-party contact rates when implementing Outbound Dialing Solutions. By working with collections organizations to analyze their CRM data files, Neustar is able to determine the contactability of each record and assign scores to each account, improving their dialing strategies. Neustar can also use predictive phone intelligence insights to generate the best time of day and day of week to contact each customer, additionally appending working phone numbers for accounts that are currently non-contactable.
To learn more about Neustar Outbound Dialing Solutions, visit www.risk.neustar.
2. The Washington Post Article: The FCC wants to make it easier for AT&T, Verizon and other carriers to block robocalls by default
3. ACA Study: The Impact of Call-blocking and Labeling Technologies on the Accounts Receivable Industry
4. Neustar Phone Data Analysis