Editor's Note: This article is published on insideARM with permission from the author.
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 collection firms and agencies develop strategies to accommodate this shift, the benefit of these preferences should not be overlooked.
Moving from scripted agent calls to an automated platform not only reduces the cost to serve clients by reducing staffing needs but—more importantly—reduces the risk imposed by employees that go “off script.” Ultimately, shifting to an automated platform can lead to additional revenue. A great example of a new, automated strategy available to debt collectors today is online debt negotiation.
An online debt negotiation option is offered by way of an online platform where consumers can negotiate and pay their past-due accounts via their computer, tablet, or smartphone. The automated process moderates the dialogue between the two parties, negotiates on behalf of your company, and facilitates payment processing. It is calibrated based on each collection agency’s individual standards and guidelines.
From the instructions provided, the platform creates a systematic, automated solution that doesn’t deviate from what it’s suppose to do—the same cannot be said about all collection agents who are on the phone negotiating with consumers daily. This reduces the liability of the agency because it takes out the variable of an untrained or overly exuberant human who might:
- Go off-script;
- Use aggressive methods that push too hard;
- Not define the payment plan in a clear and concise manner; or
- Treat two consumers with the same profile differently.
To excite those that may not find as much joy in the idea of improving compliance as I do, online debt negotiation has also been shown to add revenue to an agency’s bottom line. For example, it eases the communication bridge for consumers who are intimidated or embarrassed by the idea of “asking” a live agent for a reduction; or who want—or need—to negotiate after business hours due to work or personal schedules.
While some agencies might be hesitant to add more technology to their collection process, there are clear benefits with an online debt negotiation tool that should be considered, especially since it eliminates the costly risk imposed by the live agents. The added revenue potential should ease this decision as well.