This article is part of the iA Think Differently series. Written by members of the iA Innovation Council, the series showcases thought leadership in analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology for the accounts receivable management industry.
I know that many collection agencies are scrambling to keep up with the changing state rules and client decisions about who is considered essential, whether agents can work remotely, and whether/under what circumstances you can engage in proactive outbound collection efforts. I have heard from numerous CEOs who say their main priority right now is keeping as many people employed as possible, for as long as possible.
I also know that so many public and private organizations are struggling to keep up with the increased volume of phone calls from consumers who need loans processed, unemployment claims processed, account information, public health information, or any number of other types of help.
The collection industry has thousands of trained call center agents, many of whom are now set up to work from home, who are idle or soon may become idle because they are not allowed to engage in collection efforts.
In addition to the roller coaster of changing rules I already mentioned, Members of Congress have proposed bills that, if passed, would put limitations on collection efforts for months following a declared disaster.
Are you taking the time to think differently about the types of services you could provide and who your clients could be?
Could your agents be trained to take those overflow unemployment calls? Could they answer questions for local hospitals or health departments? Could they help with overflow calls from your local utility company? Could they take calls for the federal government? The IRS? The CDC? Do you know what else is going to be needed a lot in the coming weeks/months? Contact tracers.
Professional collection agencies have a workforce of employees uniquely trained in matters of privacy, patience, empathy, and complex problem-solving. You are uniquely qualified to pivot in this chaotic time to provide a service that others can’t. If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest giving this some serious consideration.
Stephanie Eidelman is the CEO of insideARM and The iA Institute and leads the iA Innovation Council.
The iA Innovation Council is a collaborative working group of product, tech, strategy, and operations thought leaders at the forefront of analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology. Group members meet in person (and lately, virtually) several times each year to engage in substantive dialogue and whiteboard sessions with the creative thinkers behind the latest innovations for the industry, the regulators who audit and establish guardrails for new technology, and educators, entrepreneurs and innovators from outside the industry who inspire different thinking.
2020 members include:
Absolute Resolutions Corp.
AllianceOne Receivables Management
Capital Collection Management
Crown Asset Management
Enhanced Recovery Company
Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group
NCB Management Services
Phillips & Cohen
Professional Finance Company
Radius Global Solutions
Spring Oaks Capital
State Collection Service
The CMI Group