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Dorottya Márton
August 11, 2021
#vcc
9 min read

Digital Debt Collection Strategies for Call Centers

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Using self-service and digital solutions in debt collection seems to be an increasing customer demand. According to a recent study, 67% of customers try to solve issues by themselves before reaching out to an agent. Using self-service and digital tools in your debt collection campaigns can help you achieve greater efficiency, oversight, and compliance in your operations.

Having the right contact center tools in place is essential if you want to bring out the best in your digital debt collection campaigns.

Increased Demand for a Customer-Focused Attitude

The Covid-19 pandemic has added $19.5 Trillion to Global Debt in 2020, according to the Institute of International Finance.

As the demand for debt grows, so does the demand for better collection techniques. Since 2013, debt collection, according to the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), has been the second-most complained about financial industry. The most prevalent collection-related complaints were about collectors attempting to collect on invalid debts, a lack of information about debt validity, and phone call harassment.

Updated Regulations

As a result of customer complaints, regulators have recently enacted laws that regulate how debt collection agencies can interact with customers.

For example, CFPB regulations now oblige companies to retain customer records for up to three years and forbid collection calls before 8am or after 9pm. And while recent CFPB regulations enable collectors to use email and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, customers cannot be texted without their consent.

These regulations continue to have a significant impact on digital collections. The free use of digital platforms in collections helps provide flexibility in the debt collection process, while also maintaining compliance. Additionally, the availability of digital platforms in communication can also serve to enhance customer experience, as it allows for clients to communicate on their preferred platforms.

Relying on digital channels in addition to phone calls offers a lot of potential in terms of both enhanced customer experience and more efficient collections. However, collection agencies need to be able to leverage digital contact center tools in their daily operations in order to make the most of their digital debt collections.

Omnichannel

Step one in maintaining an overview of your traditional phone, SMS, and digital channels is using software that allows for omnichannel communications.

When your contact center uses omnichannel communication, it means that all your communication channels are aligned. Depending on your customer’s preferences, they can easily communicate with your agents on their preferred channels, seamlessly, wherever and whenever they prefer.

By synchronizing all your channels, your agents will be able to instantly identify the customer they are handling, regardless of when and on what platform other agents previously talked to them. Something that the customer said on social media, phone, or email will be available on a single platform for the agent to see the next time they communicate with the client.

This provides transparency and better agent-client communication, helping the debt collection process to move forward.

Customer Segmentation

One of the main issues that most debt collection agencies struggle with is figuring out what strategy to use for their various debtor profiles. Chasing after and managing default cases requires an entirely different strategy to managing one-off, small debtors.

With the right digital debt collection software, such as the solution offered by us here at VCC Live, you can determine intelligent routing criteria for each campaign, with elements such as amount overdue, number of payments missed, and CRM information. You can then segment your accounts based on groups of debtors similar to each other.

For example, for a small debtor, you can launch an IVR call, giving them self-service payment options, and send them an SMS or chat notification once the payment is finished.

For medium-size debtors, you can offer IVR options with self-service payment opportunities, as well as the chance to connect to a live agent if needed. If the debtor negotiates the payment details with the agent, the agent can then send their agreement terms over email.

With long-term and high debtors, you can instantly assign your best agent to negotiate the case, concentrating human effort where it’s needed the most

CRM Integration for Live Interactions

Once a case is taken up by a live agent, your calls should be CTI enabled and CRM integrated. By having full CRM integration, you can make sure that your agents have the latest, up-to-date data on a client. CTI and CRM integration is essential, not just for an enhanced customer experience, but also for making sure that agents can work with the most up-to-date data, thereby avoiding invalid debt collection attempts (collecting on debt that has already been settled, for example).

Finally, when handling live calls, the Automatic Machine Detection feature, such as the one here at VCC Live can significantly help reduce waiting time. By automatically detecting voicemail, you can make sure that your agents are not spending idle time listening to answering machines. With the use of this feature VCC Live’s client, 4finance, one of Europe’s largest digital consumer lending groups, was able to reduce idle time arising from voicemail connections by 30%. Learn how they did it here.

Digital Tools to Increase Your PTP Payment Rate

An additional tool that can help in your digital debt collection campaigns is VCC Live’s Data Segmentation Module, which allows you to define workflow strategies depending on the amount of debt you are handling. For a debtor owing you an amount below €50 you might decide to send an SMS or a WhatsApp reminder. For a debtor owing you an amount above €50, you could alternatively launch an outbound IVR call.

Working in debt collection can be an extremely challenging job. Debtors do not want to be reached and sometimes they are unable to pay, making it hard to persuade them to cooperate with you. Depending on the type and amount of debt you are handling your collection channels and methods need to vary. Additionally, constantly changing compliance regulations can make it difficult to manage your campaigns.

However, with the right contact center tools, you should be able to improve the levels of efficiency and oversight you have in your debt collection operations, while also maintaining appropriate compliance. In particular, Omnichannel communication can help give you aclear oversight of all phone and digital channels, enabling you to seamlessly communicate with your clients, regardless of what channel they prefer. Customer segmentation tools can help you segment your accounts based on groups of debtors that are similar to each other, and build an effective debt collection strategy. Finally, digital tools, such as CRM integration, Automatic Machine Detection, and inbuilt Data Segmentation Modules can help you efficiently manage both your live agent interactions and your digital debt collection platforms.

Dorottya Márton
Dorottya Marton is a writer, copywriter, and general media enthusiast. Her work intersecting between IT, media, and society, Dorottya's writing at VCC focuses on the social dimensions of technology and the practical applications of top-notch B2B software.