Earlier this month I shared the culmination of what I’ve been hearing from the industry, and what I see as core challenges to be solved. I described these in my first-ever video on Linkedin. In short, and for those who prefer to read:
- Scammers have really ruined things. Their billions and billions of calls mean that consumers don’t trust anyone who is contacting them.
- Collectors are legally required to confirm they are talking to the right consumer -- but the consumer doesn’t trust them enough to share any information that confirms their identity.
- Because of privacy concerns, collectors and consumers who want to jointly resolve debts are left in the 20th century, forced to communicate by postal mail and landline. This is not what anyone wants, and it forces consumers into awkward and uncomfortable phone conversations.
My overall conclusion – there has got to be a #BetterWay!
In this second video, I offer several ideas about how to address the first issue – scammers – with some practical ways to insert trust back into the system. One of these ideas is for creditors to insert a "goodbye" communication before sending an account to collections. I'm not talking about the sale of debt here -- I'm talking about traditional, third party contingency collections (though yes, it should happen with debt sales, too). This communication (which may be by letter, email, private message -- or whatever is the consumer's preferred method of communication) would tell the consumer who will be getting in touch about their unresolved account. Now, when the collector makes contact, at least there is one closed loop, and something the consumer can trust.
Yes, I know there is a cost. But consider the lift in recoveries due to more effective communication.
Also, if we can improve a consumer's experience in collections, isn't it much more likely that there will be a "hello" conversation when they are ready to be a customer again?