Secret Sauce for Your Collections Strategy

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Matt Edmunds

We all know that sending voice alerts or interactive messages to debtors is significantly more cost effective than sending numerous collections letters through the mail. So how can companies maintain their contact rate metrics and increase collection rates in their existing campaign strategies? Design a strategy that includes channel blending as your secret sauce.

Channel or cross-channel blending can be introduced as a highly successful outbound contact strategy. More and more companies are turning to additional outbound contact channels like SMS/Text and Email as ways to increase collections and response rates. ARM companies can utilize these channels to drive pre-delinquency and payment reminders and help secure or confirm any payment arrangements made.

As we look at the different channels available for your outbound contact strategy, companies are seeing the following response rates:

  • Direct mail response rates are in the low single digits.
  • Emails have higher open rates at around 20% according to the DMA.
  • Predictive dialer calls utilizing live agents offer response rates that range from high single digits to 25%.
  • Interactive Voice Messaging (IVM) and Automated Voice Messaging (AVM) with right party validation can improve right party contact rates 35% – 55%, or more in some cases.
  • SMS/Text open rates are over 98%.

With a blended channel escalation strategy, any debtor who answers an IVR call and does not respond can be immediately called back as a Predictive or Preview call with a different caller ID, perhaps a local phone number. We know the debtor is home because he/she just answered, and now you drive them right to your agents. Plus, if you have implemented a strategy where you garner consent from the debtor, you can add mobile voice or SMS to the blended campaign strategy. The US is 104.6% mobile phone penetrated, with 31.6% homes being wireless only. Knowing the debtor’s preferred channel to communicate can not only allow you to communicate at the exact time you want, but may also be the difference between capturing a payment or not.

Channel blending escalation is the secret sauce for existing strategies that have lost some efficacy. It is a simple, cost effective solution that will improve overall collection rates and increase agent productivity. In the challenging and dynamic collections environment, it is critical to stay flexible and consider all your options. We encourage you to test a blended strategy and see the lift in contact response rates for yourselves!

Matt Edmunds brings 20 years of hands-on industry and operational experience to his role at SoundBite Communications. As the Vice President of Financial Services and Collections, Edmunds leads sales, marketing, services, and product development efforts tailored for these industries. Prior to joining SoundBite, Edmunds was senior vice president of bankcard operations for Outsourcing Solutions, Inc, where he managed all facility, personnel, strategy and operations decisions for four call center sites with 600 full-time employees. In this role, he was a frequent user of SoundBite’s solution. Prior to joining OSI, Edmunds spent almost nine years at Capital One Financial Corporation leading various customer care and collections strategies. Matt Edmunds can be reached at and LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter – @MattEdmunds10.


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