Editor's Note: This article was authored by Josh Allen, Revenly’s Founder & CEO, and reflects the opinions of the author. Revenly is an all-in-one payment platform focused on using digital engagement and customer preference to drive collections. It previously appeared on the Revenly blog and is republished here with permission.

Last December, I wrote an article for insideARM that presented a pretty straight forward message: the collection industry needs to start adopting newer technology. A few short months later, the CFPB answered the call to arms by announcing a long-awaited proposed rule change to the FDCPA (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM), which aims to bring technology and modern communication to debt collection. With the spotlight now on newer technology—especially technology related to communication channels—thoughts of using text, email, and chat went from bleeding edge to cutting edge.

The NPRM brought excitement and conversation, but when the party was over, there was an unmistakable void left in the room. An advisor of ours helped provide a different perspective, leading to a bigger conversation. While I still couldn’t put my finger on what was missing, I felt a disconnect in how the collection industry was still under-valuing the application of newer technology.

Where is the value? How do you measure it? It’s hard to differentiate between the conjecture and sales pitches that promise features to increase collection overnight and what is real. What’s real isn’t always the first thing we want to admit. It costs too much. It’s not a priority. Who else is doing it? These objections are consistent responses to valueless technology where, in an atmosphere like this, everyone is an “expert” and we tend to hear what we want to hear, from whom we want to hear it. In reality, we have very little data sourced from this industry that shows where the true value is. Don't hold your breath for the CFPB either; they won’t write a technical business strategy for any of us.

If we start to tune out the noise, we’ll find that there are groups, like the Consumer Relations Consortium and the Innovation Council, working on ways to break ground and demystify collection technology. It goes to show that this industry can be incredibly proactive if it works together. The question is not what feature we need, because all of them are useful. The real question is where do we start, what do we start with, and what is the new order of operations that provides a reliable benchmark to leverage against the rest. In other words, show me the proof. 

While not claiming to have all the answers, there are people like myself who have fully immersed themselves in the process of digitizing a collection strategy. As luck just so has it, a few of us are hosting an ARM-U panel this fall in an appropriately titled session: Digitize Your Collections. During the presentation, you’ll learn how to go from getting your feet wet to jumping headfirst into using newer technology strategically from people who have done it before.

It's not the CFPB holding back innovation—it’s facing down our technical debt, the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy solution instead of using a better one, that no one wants to readily admit as the reason for why these growing pains exist. The “Digitize Your Collections” session is hosted by those who've bucked the trend because they saw a misalignment of contact strategies and didn’t hesitate to question the status quo in order to start solving the problem.

You can register for free today and submit your questions now by clicking here. ARM-U is a series put on by insideARM.

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