The credit and collection industry is getting better at adopting technology solutions and recognizing the true business value that technology can add to the bottom line of a company. Whether by boosting productivity or reducing headcount, a culture of adopting technology has to be a core component of any successful collection agency today.
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In some cases, it is individuals who are driving collection agencies to adopt more technology, and in other cases it’s clients that are forcing adoption. With consumers, many prefer to communicate via email or text message and some prefer not to speak with an agent at all when making a payment. To get over this hurdle, collection agencies need to have an Integrated Voice Response tool (IVR) to allow individuals to make payments without needing to speak with an agent. They also need to look to integrate an omni-channel communication strategy to connect with consumers via the channel of their choice, instead of forcing consumers to respond to a letter or answer a phone call.
Clients are also driving agencies to adopt new technologies. Companies that are forward-thinking when it comes to their technology infrastructure want to work with other partners who have that same focus on maximizing efficiency and productivity in mind. Agencies that try to adhere to a model of “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it,” are doomed to be left in the dust.
Automation can be broken down into two different areas of focus: process automation and decision automation. Process automation is an agency using technology to improve its productivity, such as deploying an automatic telephone dialing system, letter generation or an IVR. Decision automation involves using algorithms of dynamic machine learning to allow a computer to make a judgment call, such as deciding what kind of settlement offer to make, based on a range of factors.
"Collection agencies who are looking to be more aggressive in this area should start by looking at process automation first" - Ryan Wiswall, VP, Columbia Collectors
Following the guidance of the panelists will give collection agencies a good head start and demonstrate a commitment to improving processes and operations to maximize return on investment.