There’s a great line in the movie, “Grosse Pointe Blank.” Jeremy Piven, who is playing a real estate agent, is complaining about having to show a house to a prospective buyer again. He refers to the newlyweds as having a “decision-making disorder,” because they are afraid to take the plunge and make such a big purchase.
That same fear can sometimes paralyze collection agency executives as well. Faced with the prospect of having to make a significant investment in a new technology or hardware. For example, there are still collection agencies out there using old-school phones and have not upgraded to soft phones or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones. One of the primary reasons why those agencies have not done so is a reluctance to spend the kind of money that it costs to upgrade the technology. But while the initial investment may be significant, the benefits that are recouped down the line will far outweigh the investment. The technology scales easily and can save collection agencies a lot of money in reduced phone expenses over the life of the technology.
The collections industry is known for being slow to adopt new technologies. Compliance concerns and an “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” mentality can cause reluctance to adapt, but technology is changing so fast that those who are not trying to keep up will be left even further and further behind. That's a reality because we hear anecdotal stories all the time: prospects lose a healthcare or property management client because their software isn't integrated with Epic, or Resman, or Yardi, or whatever. Our customers show off their fancy Virtual Agent avatar (that's one of them over to the left) and consumer-friendly payment negotiator along with the seamless electronic communications that can be tailored to the client's allowances and it secures the business. Modern capabilities are winning.
The cost of memory has become crazy-cheap in recent years, making it less expensive to store data and documents. Internet transmission speeds have increased, allowing for more web-based Software-as-a-Service applications to run smoothly. And consumer communication preferences are changing faster than ever! Collection agencies relying on old phone systems are missing out on new communication opportunities that consumers prefer to use.
If you allow yourself to slow down just for a moment, you'll see people are moving faster than ever before. If collection agencies want to keep pace, they have to start moving faster as well. The days of only sending letters and making phone calls being the most effective collection strategies are getting harder to make out in the rearview mirror.
Collection agencies don’t have to jump ahead to the leading edge of technology, no one is asking you all to be an "early adopter". However, it is time to be more aggressive in identifying ways technology can save money and improve recovery rates - moving to a modern platform is no longer early adopter territory - now it's just smart business. Clients are beginning to demand it. Consumers are beginning to demand it. How long can you go before you can’t afford not to evolve?