The number of households without a landline phone has been declining for years. As of early 2017, fewer households have a landline phone than do not, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Collection agencies have been lamenting the increasing difficulties in trying to get individuals to pick up their phone when it rings. Call screening and call blocking apps have made it even harder to reach individuals.
But even if you do manage to make a phone call, more people, especially the members of youger generations, are not interested in picking up. There is data that shows even though our devices are called “smartphones,” the actual phone application is the fifth-most used app by millennials.
Millennials prefer to send text messages over making phone calls because they are less intrusive. Phone calls must be answered when the phone rings while a text message can be replied to at the recipient’s convenience. For more than three years, text messaging has been a more popular means of communication than phone calls among millennials. That trend seems unlikely to stop.
More than 70% of Millennials and members of Generation Z sleep with their smartphones. When asked if they could keep only one app on their phones - either the phone app or the messaging app - 73% of Millennials and members of Generation Z said their messaging app.
Because of these trends, reaching people has never been harder. Before the advent of the phone, written communication was all that was available. But with the invention of each new communication method, the means of contacting people has increased, and everybody has a different preference. Some people like to talk on the phone. Others prefer to communicate via email. Others prefer text. And, somewhere, there is still probably someone who still likes to send telegrams.
As a new methods of communication get accepted by individuals, it is incumbent on companies that rely on communication to adopt those methods in order to ensure successful connections. Remember, there is no law that says a collection agency can not send text messages or emails to an individual and an increasing number of collection agencies and collection departments are integrating text messages into their customer communications.
While it appears unlikely that there will be a rule or law that will provide clear guidelines regarding new methods of communication, that means it will be the courts that ultimately decide what is and is not allowed. That legal uncertainty is what is keeping the ARM industry from fully embracing newer forms of communication, but that should not deter you from educating yourself on the topic or integrating a conservative approach with available solutions.