Posts Tagged ‘debt collection’

Come and Join VCC Live at the Upcoming Conferences We Are Participating in November!

Posted on: October 18th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

As we approach the end of the year, it looks like November will definitely be busy for VCC Live as we’re participating in four separate conferences.

The conferences will give us a chance to showcase our company, which, besides providing state-of-the-art technology solutions, also offers consultancy services using our extensive knowledge in the contact center industry.

We are working together with experts who are thought leaders with more than 10 years of working experience in several industries, including customer service, debt collection, banking and telesales.

Check out which conferences we’re going to be at and join us there!

Contact – Customer Service and HR Conference

Date: 6-8 November 2019

Location: Balatonalmádi, Hungary

Each year, CONTACT – the annual customer service conference – attracts industry leaders, customer service professionals, companies and anyone else who’s interested in the industry.

At CONTACT 2019, you will get an insight into the operations of the leading organizations in Hungary and worldwide. Innovative approaches, effective customer service systems, and new answers to the technical and human challenges of our times will be discussed by industry leaders.

We’re proud to confirm that Péter Málhai, VCC Live®’s Head of Business Development, will be amongst the impressive lineup of presenters. Péter will be talking about the integration of contact center and CRM systems. You will also be able to visit us at our stand where we will be happy to give you a guided demo of VCC Live.

Economic Leadership and Legal Conference – Vasivíz Zrt.

Date: 13-14 November 2019

Location: Sárvár, Hungary

The Economic Leadership and Legal Conference, organized by Vasivíz Zrt, Hungary’s leading Water and Sewage Works Company, takes place in Sárvár. Amongst other topics, one of the main focus of the conference will be the discussion of recent customer service trends.

Speakers will include our Customer Success Manager, Dániel Severa, who, on the first day of the conference, will present a general overview of our company, highlighting in particular VCC Live’s inbound and outbound features.

Banking Technology 2019

Dates: 14 November 2019

Location: Budapest, Hungary

November sees the fourth Banking Technology Conference, organized by Portfolio Conferences, taking place in the Hungarian capital. This year the conference will revolve around a number of important topics in the banking and fintech sectors, including digitalization, immediate and real-time payment solutions, artificial intelligence, data analysis and many others.

The conference will have six main topics: digitalization vs. business, digital banking innovations, digital banking in practice, payment solutions, wealth management, and fintech in Hungary.

As part of the conference, Dániel Severa will hold a presentation on our unique real-time payment solution, VCC Live Pay and other innovate features in our solution, such as Video ID. Definitely worth a visit!

11th National Congress of Credit Collection

Date: 19-20 November, 2019

Location: Madrid, Spain

The credit industry continues to grow at an accelerated pace, with companies trying their best to keep up with continuously-emerging technologies. This conference, taking place for the 11th time, will focus on the future of fintech, compliance and CSR in credit collection, artificial intelligence, blockchain, innovation finance and NPLs (non-performing loans).

With VCC Live’s solution including a unique feature that enables both self-service and agent-assisted optichannel debt collection with a high success rate, it was no question that we wanted to attend this conference. Look for our stand at the event, and ask for a guided demo or schedule a live demo with us!

November will be an exciting month for VCC Live. Each conference promises to be an unmissable opportunity to gain inspiration, participate in brainstorming sessions and leverage networking. We look forward to hearing our fellow contact center experts talk about their latest experiences and best practices. We hope to meet some of you there!

New Debt Collection Rules in the US and Global Trends – an Interview with Richard Blewis, Digital Debt Collections Expert

Posted on: June 7th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

A new policy recently put forward by the US’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposes allowing debt collectors in the US to only be able to call debtors up to seven times a week. The new policy also states that once debt collectors reach a debtor by phone, they would have to leave them alone for at least a week. Additionally, the CFPB is proposing no cap on the number of texts or emails a collector could send, opening the door for digital messaging channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook to become viable communication options for debt collectors. I talked to Richard Blewis, Digital Debt Collections Manager at VCC Live, about this new regulation, as well as global trends currently dominating the debt collection industry.

According to the new rules being proposed by the CFPB, debt collectors would be able to call a delinquent borrower with an outstanding debt a maximum of seven times a week. How do you think the new rules will affect debt collection companies in the US?

Richard: I believe that the additional effect on limiting the amount of calls to 7 attempts weekly is minimal for companies. In general, as has been proven, if debt collectors initiate too many calls, debtors simply don’t answer them anymore. As a result, professional debt collection companies already reduced the amount of collection calls they initiate, as they are aware of the diminishing results if they try to bombard debtors with calls.  

The new rules also suggest that once debt collectors reach a debtor by phone, they’ll have to leave them alone for at least a week. Do you think that being able to talk to a debtor only once a week will negatively affect the performance of debt collection companies?

Richard: Yes. Companies who use aggressive collecting strategies and collect outstanding debts using methods that could be considered harassment, will definitely be negatively affected by only being able to have one conversation with non-payers per week. More professional debt collection agencies, however, won’t be affected that much, as they already realized that initiating as many as possible calls will not necessarily help collect more debts. Instead, they are aware that moving into the digital era by exploring new channels and reducing operating costs by making offers in self-service is the way forward.

Until now, phone was the most preferred way for companies to contact debtors. But we can now clearly see a shift from phone to other digital channels when it comes to collecting debts. Why do you think companies have started to focus on channels besides phone?

Richard: It is true that phone calls are still an important and efficient element of debt collection, but at the same time customers in general are moving to digital channels, one reason being that they increasingly prefer self-service when it comes to interacting with a company. In addition, customers also expect to be able to do their business out of business hours. In order to keep up with these changing customer demands, professional companies have already started to explore channels other than phone, and leverage methods such as data segmentation to guide self-service debt collection.

The new regulation proposes having no cap on the number of texts or emails a collector can send, and messages can also be sent on digital messaging channels, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. How do you think debtors will react to receiving messages via their personal chat programs? Do you think the number of messages should also be restricted?

Richard: Debtors who might find it inappropriate or annoying to receive debt collection messages via their personal chat programs have the option to opt out on SMS and block those messages on Facebook. For others, however, receiving text reminders rather than endless phone calls might be a preferred way of being contacted. As there is always the option for debtors to opt out, I believe there is no need to regulate the number of messages debt collectors can send.

What do you suggest debt collection companies who currently focus their collection processes on phone calls should do? Is it time for them to explore other channels?

Richard: Phone calls should definitely remain a significant channel for debt collection agencies. At the same time, however, while constantly trying to improve the channels they already use, companies also need to explore other channels, and in particular how they interact with each other. For example, SMS text messages for debt collection should ideally contain a link to a chat channel, in case debtors have any questions, as well as a link to a digital document, such as an invoice or PTP (promise-to-pay) agreement. It is vital that companies need to align the channels they use in order to make the debt collection process for debtors as smooth as possible.

Are you seeing this shift from phone to other channels in Europe as well? Do you think the same rules should be applied in Europe too?

Richard: I believe the new rules are not that important enough to be applied in Europe, as there is a similar business trend happening in Europe as in the US. Here, as there, more and more debt collection companies are realizing that the future is in exploring and aligning several channels in order to reach debtors on their preferred channel. As a result, professional debt collection agencies are focusing their operations on several channels rather than blasting out as many calls as possible. 

Digital Debt Collection: Self-Service With a Seamless Contact Center CX

Posted on: May 14th, 2019 by Richard Michael Blewis No Comments

Today’s customers increasingly leverage self-service and digital debt collection solutions when it comes to interacting with a contact center.

Self-service is trending upwards in debt collections and now over 50% of customers prefer self-service and more than 20% look to resolve their debt out of hours. One thing is certain: digital debt collection helps increase collection rates and make your business more efficient while improving your ROI.

We are evolving from Omnichannel to Optichannel, the key difference being that the interaction and call flow needs to use AI data segmentation to define rules, settlement offers, payment methods and live agent interaction.

Interactive IVR push campaigns

Until now, debt collectors typically relied on live agent interaction. In our digital world, however, debt collectors (virtual and live agents) need to apply customer segmentation in order to target based on the customer profile.

In fact, forward-thinking businesses have already started to use solutions that rely on live agents for certain parts of the debt collection process and digital self-service for other parts.

For example, based on a customer balance, amount of payments overdue, failed PTP or other criteria, the settlement calculation and the routing to a live agent can be defined.

How to increase your PTP payment rate

In debt collections we all know the dreaded Promise to Pay or PTP. We have heard of campaigns in which the PTP payment rate has been under 10%, so how can we increase this without incurring more expense?

Using the VCC Live® data segmentation module we can define a strategy in the workflow, so for example < €50 we might send an SMS reminder and > €50 we will launch a preview or predictive call.

With each transaction, we send an SMS confirmation which includes a webchat link, just in case further information is required.

There should be payment thresholds when using self-service, to establish a minimum amount and a cutoff date. Perhaps a partial payment should initiate a live call transfer to a call center agent. By using skilled based rules you’ll be able to improve overall CX and the results.

Contact Center Agents

As mentioned above, creating customer segmentation by utilizing customer data is vital in order to maximize digital debt collection processes.

For example, calls that do get transferred to live agents should be CTI enabled to identify the customer and provide account information fully integrated with the CRM, allowing agents to provide a fully personalized experience. This should be applied for calls and for live chat as well.

Furthermore, intelligent routing should use the same above mentioned criteria. For instance, if a high profile debtor is ready to interact, then they should jump the queue perhaps and be routed to a specific agent.

Debt Collection Outcomes

The customer disposition is the outcome for each interaction, this can be generated from the self-service interaction, from an agent interaction using the CRM outcome, making a payment either with the payment gateway or in the bank. Recently we have introduced M-CRM for field collectors.

At VCC Live® we develop technology and provide expertise to ensure success in debt collections and this involves an ongoing business relationship. We not only assess your campaign results but also make recommendations to improve results.

VCC Live® will help you find the balance and create the right strategy, for more info check out our Self-Service Debt Collector.

How to Accept Payments Over the Phone – And Stay Secure

Posted on: March 26th, 2019 by Elemér Erdősi No Comments

Real-time payment technology is definitely a hot topic these days, with instant payment technologies becoming more and more popular with customers around the world, and innovative businesses competing head-to-head to be able to provide their customers with the latest real-time payment options.

However, when it comes to paying online (especially in a post-GDPR world), data security is always a major concern – for both companies and customers.  With that in mind, it’s particularly important for companies that provide real-time payment solutions to ensure that the customer data they process is fully safe and secure while handling card and debit card data based on the PCI-DSS regulations.

In this article, using my experience of overseeing the development of VCC Live Pay, a unique real-time payment solution, I’ll show you what you need to know about this technology and how your business can leverage it without jeopardizing customer data.  

An era of immediate payments

In an age of ever-increasing customer demands, customers expect to be able to pay anywhere, at any time and as quickly as possible. As such, the idea of paying in real time using web interfaces has been quickly embraced.

But while real-time payment technology has been around for a while, initiating payments in real time during a phone call is still a unique solution, available at only a few companies in the world.

A particular reason for that is that, to be able to initiate real-time payments during phone calls your company or the outsourced call center you rely on will need to be in possession of the PCI DSS certificate, one of the world’s strictest security standards, issued by the five largest credit and debit card issuers in the market (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB).

Debt collection companies especially can greatly benefit from utilizing real-time payment solutions during phone calls: not only do customers prefer immediate payments but also the best opportunity for successful debt-collection conversions is during a phone conversation.

Therefore, allowing your customers to settle their outstanding debts during a phone call can make all the difference to your collection company.  

Currently, businesses can leverage two methods (both of which are available at VCC Live®) to initiate real-time payments during a phone call. So, before you jump into the deep end with real-time payments over the phone, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each method.

Payments over the phone via IVR

Most of the time companies initiate real-time payments by transferring customers to an IVR system, where they can handle payments themselves without agent assistance.

Of course, paying via an IVR system, has both its pros and cons. In terms of the pros, a great number of customers now prefer the solution provided by an IVR system, solving their own problems without interacting with a live agent. And by relying on self-service IVR systems, businesses can save on human resources.

On the other hand, as you’ll probably be aware, IVR systems are not particularly popular with customers because of potentially long on-hold times and often overcomplicated menu options.

And, despite its prevalence, IVR often isn’t comprehensive enough on its own, with live assistance still ending up being needed. Even worse, many IVR solutions have no option for a human resource that can help customers out if they get stuck during the payment process – although it should be noted that some advanced solutions, such as VCC Live®’s VCC Live Pay offering, now provide the option for transferring customers to a live agent if requested and handle the payment with agent assistance. A lot more user-friendly, right?

Real-time payments with agent assistance

These days, paying in real-time through an IVR system is common. But how many of you have ever settled an outstanding debt, for example, an overdue bill, with a live agent during a phone conversation?

Allowing customers to pay during a phone call with agent assistance is still a very unique and innovative technology, with only a few businesses around the world providing such a solution. VCC Live® is proud to be one of those few companies.

However, as we all know, exposing customers’ data to a live agent can potentially bring significant security risks. To address this issue, solutions such as VCC Live Pay make use of mobile phone touchpads’ DTMF technology.

Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling (DTMFs) technology allows telco companies to know what number is being pressed when a customer presses the buttons on their telephone. Each number generates a distinct tone, which is sent as a signal to a switching system that translates it back to the original number.

So, when paying in real time during a phone call with agent assistance, instead of providing credit card information verbally to agents, customers enter the digits of their credit cards on their phone keypads, with agents as such being completely unable to register card data in any way.

As a result, the payment process is not only easy but also fully safe and secure, as no time do agents have access to customers’ card data while a customer is entering credit card details etc.

Without doubt, customer service is a tricky business. With often only a few resources at your fingertips, the key is figuring out what your customers want. The experience of VCC Live Pay’s global success shows that being able to pay in real-time during a single phone call is one thing your customers definitely want.

Real-Time Payment Technology Over the Phone as a Performance Driver in Debt Collection

Posted on: March 1st, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Immediate payment over the phone is still a new technology businesses are trying to get their hands on. Especially companies dealing with debt collection operations.

Every day, customers promise debt collectors that they will pay their debts in the next few days. There’s only one problem: these promises are not usually kept. When this happens, debt collectors have no other choice but to repeatedly call back customers and remind them of their outstanding debts. And so the vicious circle of empty promises and no actual payments begins.

Over the past few years though, a unique real-time payment technology, VCC Live Pay, has gained significant ground in the European market. VCC Live Pay is a real game-changer, being the first real-time payment over-the-phone solution in the European region that allows agents at debt collection companies to collect actual payments during a single phone call.

With the increasing customer demand for speed and convenience when interacting with a company, instant and real-time payment solutions are rapidly becoming more and more popular around the world. And as with other industries, debt collection companies also need to respond to these new demands by providing their customers with solutions that let them settle debts via secure and easy payment solutions.

While by now it is almost second nature for customers to initiate real-time payments via web interfaces, the unique technology within VCC Live Pay is the beginning of a new chapter in real-time payment solutions. And what is it that makes VCC Live Pay stand out from the competition? The fact that it allows customers to settle their outstanding debts with an agent during a phone call.

Regarding VCC Live Pay, Péter Málhai, Head of Business Development, VCC Live®, said: “As an operator at one of our clients commented: “with VCC Live Pay, we are now collecting money, not empty promises”. Debt collection companies always struggle with the uncertainty of how many promises will actually turn into real payments. With VCC Live Pay, however, companies can now monitor in real time, hour to hour, how much money they actually collect during their phone calls”.

Using VCC Live Pay is easy:

  1. An agent contacts a customer via phone and encourages them to pay their outstanding debt during the phone call.
  2. The customer enters their card details via their mobile phone touchpad. Operators have no access to the data.
  3. The agent initiates the transaction and helps the customer during the process.

As VCC Live Pay meets the requirements set by PCI DSS, one of the strictest security codes in the world issued by the five largest credit and debit card issuers in the market (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB), the payment process is not only easy but also 100% secure.

During the payment process, although an agent is able to see how the request is progressing, at no time do they have access to a customer’s card data. And as the agent remains active throughout the call, they can assist the customer at any time. “Allowing your customers to pay in a cloud environment during a phone conversation with agent assistance is still a very unique feature in the market”, noted Péter Málhai. “In fact, we were the first company in Europe to develop such a technology.”

“In recent years, we helped many of our clients accelerate their debt collection processes with the help of VCC Live Pay,” commented Szabolcs Tóth, Founder and CEO at VCC Live®. “Amongst others, after starting to use VCC Live Pay in 2016, UPC (European cable provider) managed to increase their debt collection rates from 18% to 43% within a year. Today, VCC Live Pay is the most preferred payment option for UPC’s customers to settle their debts, with the company initiating 4000 transactions per 10 operators in a month.”

To find out more about how VCC Live Pay can level up your debt collection processes, visit vcc.live/vcc-live-pay or call +44 2086380169.

International Debt Collection: Key Challenges and Best Practices

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

These days businesses provide their customers with the option of purchasing their services worldwide with just a single click, but ensuring that customers pay on time seems to be an uphill battle.

As a result, however, cross-border debt is also on the increase. And what businesses often forget is that international debt collection is a complex process that differs from country to country.

Collecting international debt is no easy task, so it’s essential to try and rely on a number of factors that will help make your procedures easier.

In this article, using my experience of working with clients who have their debt collection operations in a number of countries, I’ll show you what the main challenges of international debt collection are, and what techniques you can introduce to make your processes easier. So, here we go with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of international debt collection!

What are the main challenges of international debt collection?

There’s no doubt that collecting outstanding debt is a real pain in the neck – especially if you need to collect cross-border debts from foreign customers located around the world.

Considering some of our clients dealing with debt collection processes in more than 5 countries, one of the main challenges of international debt collection is definitely the ability to measure and compare the performance of debt collection between particular countries.

In fact, the methods of collecting debt, rate of willingness to pay, supported payment options, salary ranges and regulations vary from country to country, making it a very challenging job to measure whether a company’s debt collection operations are actually bringing in profit or instead making additional losses.

For example, in Hungary and Poland 40% of outstanding debts are paid over the phone, while in other European countries this method is rarely used. Furthermore, in certain countries debt collectors utilize SMS messages in order to notify debtors of their outstanding debts, while in other countries SMS is not considered an official notification.

Another major international debt collection challenge is that debt recovery process rules are regulated at a national level, and companies need to be aware of the different country-specific rules and regulations.  

For instance, in most countries, it is prohibited by law to pay outstanding debts by credit card as it means transferring debts from one bank to another. On the other hand, in other countries settling debts by credit card is allowed by law (although it is not recommended).

As if that were not enough, courts also operate differently in different countries, so when companies have no choice but to take a debtor to court they may face significant obstacles depending on the country’s individual regulations.

In Australia, for example, courts refuse to take action on outstanding debts that are older than six years. However, in Hungary, this limit can be five, three or even one year, depending on the type of outstanding debt.

In order to reduce the impact of the above-mentioned challenges, companies tend to carry out their international debt collection processes from one central point. In other words, they operate their debt collection processes in, let’s say, 5 countries from one premises.

In such cases, having debt collection agents who speak the language of the debtors well enough to be able to deal with financial and legal terminology is of the utmost importance. And of course, finding and hiring such a workforce is another great challenge for companies that cope with international debt collection, especially if the languages in question are not widely used.

Finally, if your company has debtors who are located in several continents, different time zones will also make your processes more complicated. Handling negotiations across a number of time zones and reaching a customer on the phone who is located on the other side of the globe can easily turn your processes into a never-ending nightmare.

As such, if your business wants to collect debts from customers based around the world, then you’ll certainly need to rely on debt collection agents who will also be available outside regular business hours.

Best practices that make international debt collection easier

I could certainly go on with my list of further challenges, but let’s instead look at some best practices that will definitely allow you to improve your international debt collection processes.

So, here are my top tips to turn your debt collection nightmare into a profitable business:

1. As we already discussed, finding agents with the appropriate language skills is not an easy task at all. Furthermore, there’s no doubt that being a debt collection agent is not on the top of the list of employees’ dream jobs.

These days, companies all around the world struggle with labor shortages, so you’ll really need to go the extra mile in order to lure the best-suited debt collectors to your team. And although it may seem a tricky task, with some smart HR tricks even debt collector jobs can be made attractive to employees.

For instance, it’s a great idea to set up your debt collection hub in an area that is considered relatively popular among job seekers. By outsourcing your operations to, let’s say, a Mediterranean country and covering the costs of relocation, chances are you’ll be able to attract skilled foreign talent to your debt collection team, with the subsequent benefit they bring to your processes.

2. Furthermore, in order to overcome the difficulties caused by different time zones, make sure to target the newest labor market members, namely Gen Z, and attract them to your team with special offers tailored to their needs. If you’re interested in finding out how to keep the newest generation motivated in the workplace, make sure to check out our article on it.

3. Technology can also play its part. Solutions, such as setting time zones in your IVR technology, as well as the close monitoring of domestic and international KPIs can also be a great help in making your international debt collection easier.

4. Finally, when it comes to debt collection, it is essential to find the balance between the time invested in pursuing outstanding debt and the actual amount of debt that can potentially be collected. As you all know, over time, it’s simply not worth continuing to endlessly chase debt, otherwise you’ll easily end up with extra costs.

There is, however, a groundbreaking technology solution that allows you to speed up your international debt collection processes. Real-time payment technology allows debt collection agents to initiate payment processes with customers during phone conversations regarding their outstanding debt. Thus, agents can combine two debt collection phases into one. With real-time payment technology, collecting debts has never been so easy!

International debt collection requires country-specific knowledge, thorough planning and the willingness to always look for better ideas to ease up your processes. Feel free to follow my tips and probably you’ll too be able to improve your international debt collection processes.

The Advantages of Debt Collection Using Real-Time Payment

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

When it comes to debt collection, agents always agree on one thing: they receive a lot more promises than actual payments. The most common thing customers say to agents during any debt collection-related conversation is that they will pay their debts in the upcoming days. If only these promises were kept…

In reality, the number of processed payments is always a lot less than the number of promises made. Not surprisingly, debt collection is often perceived both by clients and call centers as a costly and never-ending process.

But what if you could turn promises into immediate payments by allowing your customers to settle their debts during a phone call, rather than afterwards?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the topic of debt collection using real-time payment, a technology solution that helps you make debt collection more efficient and convenient. Read on, and make sure your business is ready to take debt collection to the next level!  

 

Real-time payment during debt collection phone calls

If a company has a large number of outstanding customer debts, efficient debt collection is vital. Normally, such companies outsource their debt collection processes to call centers, who contact customers to remind them of their outstanding payments.

In such situations, phone is still the most preferred and used way to contact customers. Although debt collection with SMS can also be efficient, it is much easier to convey emotions and convince customers to pay their debts during a phone conversation.

However, as we all know, payment promises on their own are no guarantee of actual collected debt. Customer motivation is at its highest during a conversation, dropping immediately after the end of a call. As a result, customers often fail to settle their outstanding payments, and need to be repeatedly called back.

The greatest chance for successful conversion is thus during a conversation. And this is where debt collection using real-time payment comes into action: thanks to the latest technology, it is now possible for debt collection agents to initiate bank card payments during a single phone call. Yes, really!

This method of providing customers with the option of real-time payment during a phone call is a unique technology solution, and is readily available as part of VCC Live®’s software solution.

 

How does it work?

Real-time payment technology allows debt collection agents to initiate payment processes with customers during phone conversations regarding their outstanding debt. Thus, agents can combine two debt collection phases into one.

When using real-time payment technology during debt collection, the payment process is quick and easy. First, agents contact the customers and confirm an agreement with them via oral contract. Then, the customer makes an immediate payment by submitting their card details using the dial pad on their phone.

The system processes the entered card data and initiates the transaction.  Finally, the customer receives confirmation of a successful payment. Data security is guaranteed at all times. During the process, debt collection agents have no access in any way to the data entered by customers, but they are able to see how the request is progressing and intervene if necessary.

As such, using solutions such as VCC Live Pay, customers owing money can make instant payments when speaking to a debt collection agent on the phone. Collecting debts has never been so easy!

 

Why is it unbeatable?

It may seem like a big step to integrate real-time payment into your debt collection process, but it is a very exciting and invaluable step for any business striving to achieve better results in debt collection.

By offering the option of real-time payment to customers when reminding them of due payments, customers’ willingness to instantly settle their debts increases significantly. As a result, due to higher conversion rates, average debt periods are shortened. Real-time payment also helps decrease the overall amount of outstanding debt, as well as the average cost of debt collection.

Furthermore, by encouraging customers to pay their debts immediately during phone calls, the number of customers that need to be called back repeatedly also decreases. And as your call center agents are then able to contact new customers instead of repeatedly calling back those who did not answer their phones, your call center’s efficiency will also increase significantly.

 

Sum up

As you can see, debt collection doesn’t have to be a costly and never-ending process. With the help of real-time payment technology, it is far easier for debt collection agents to collect debts instantly, and significantly decrease the number of customers who promise to pay later but in reality never do.

So, stop spending so much time and money on collecting your outstanding debts and start speeding up your processes by using real-time payments over the phone!

VCC Live® receives Great User Experience and Rising Star Awards

Posted on: May 24th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Exciting things are happening at VCC Live®: we’re more than delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Great User Experience 2018 Award and the Rising Star 2018 Award delivered by FinancesOnline.

The expert team of FinancesOnline examines and analyzes hundreds of B2B products and customer reviews to find the possible best solutions that allow businesses to grow. FinancesOnline contains more than 5,000 detailed business software reviews in 140 categories, and we’re proud of the fact that this reputable software platform featured our product in a detailed VCC Live® overview on their site highlighting all the great features our software offers.

VCC Live® is a top performer in FinancesOnline’s top 10 best call center software due to its feature-rich, up-to-date technology solution that empowers businesses to perform a wide range of call center related actions on a single platform, without any initial investment. The software review platform highlighted VCC Live Pay, our one-of-a-kind payment feature, allowing customers to handle payments over the phone while keeping their transactions 100% safe and secure.

The experts from FinancesOnline agreed that VCC Live®’s comprehensive software offers everything a call center needs while supporting work from more than 150 countries all around the world. Amongst other things, they’ve highlighted the following benefits:

  •      All-in-One cloud-based platform
  •      Powerful features, such as a predictive dialer and VCC Live Pay
  •      Variety of communication channels including phone, email, SMS, chat
  •      Excellent integration capabilities
  •      Multi-country operations

As discussed in the review, VCC Live® is more than just a software company: after the setup and training period, our support team and dedicated account managers continue to offer ongoing support as needed. Furthermore, our agile development methods ensure that our clients enjoy the benefits of a customized and state-of-the-art call center software solution.

All of these great features have allowed us to receive these two awards from FinancesOnline. Winning these two awards is proof of the success of our aim to keep delivering the latest technology solutions to the call center industry.

About the awards

Software solutions that provide an intuitive interface and well-designed tools are distinguished with the Great User Experience award by FinancesOnline. We are proud to have received this distinction under the best call center software category. The B2B review website also discerned us as a Rising Star for 2018, indicating that various call center companies all over the world believe VCC Live® is reliable in handling their daily operations.

The do’s and don’ts of debt collection with SMS

Posted on: April 24th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Text messages are convenient – they allow us to communicate without taking too much of our time, share urgent information if we cannot reach someone over the phone, and remind people of upcoming events or arrangements. Three utilisations which are very common to anyone working in the debt collection business.

Debt collection is a field of work that often requires handling uncomfortable conversations and situations with customers regarding overdue payments. On the one hand, agents need to remain firm and remind customers of their commitments and payment schedules. On the other hand, there needs to be an understanding of the customers’ situation, and consideration of the fact that there is a thin border between reminding a customer of their outstanding payments and harassment.

We read many articles regarding the wrong use of SMS when reminding debt owners of their overdue payments and the negative impact this has on debt collectors’ business. As we already mentioned in a previous blog post, there is one thing debt collectors always agree on: they receive more promises than actual payments. But handled correctly, SMS messages still have many positive aspects that add value and benefits to debt collection processes.

 

The do’s

Reaching customers often fails for different reasons: they ignore calls from a number they recognise, they are in a situation when they cannot speak freely, or they are simply being approached at the wrong time. For agents working in debt collection these reasons all translate into one uncomfortable consequence: the extra workload needed to try and reach these customers at a later occasion. If only there were a way to effectively communicate all required information to customers, reminding them of their payments… But there is: SMS!

Studies and experiments have shown that SMS is an efficient communication tool. According to Forbes magazine, SMS messages reach 95% of service users with phones, a hugely impressive percentage. As such, instant messages can help ensure a level of continuous profit for debt collecting companies. It shortens debt collection time, and helps secure a continuous flow of debt repayment by allowing agents to contact a comparatively large number of customers over a short period of time. Email is still an important communication channel, as we already discussed it in a previous blog post. Still, instant messages are cost-effective and are more reliable than emails, as people usually pay them more attention. Furthermore, they provide a perfect solution to easily handle some of the following situations:

Scheduled reminders: many customers have a payment schedule with fixed dates for payments. An automated SMS reminder is the perfect tool to send customers a friendly reminder of their approaching payment dates.

Providing options: SMS messages can also contain options such as payment options, a phone number to request a postponement, a link to make an immediate online payment, or a callback request.

Sure connection: SMS messages can be automated and sent only if an agent is not able to reach a customer by phone. This means that the reminder will certainly reach the customer, either by a call or in a message.

In any case, SMS messages are an effective way of reinforcing information delivered to customers during a phone conversation, or instead of a phone conversation. They also help make it possible to contact customers who ignore phone calls or do not take notice of phone calls from service providers.

 

The dont’s

As convenient and efficient as instant messages are, however, they hold many traps and can cause debt collection companies many a headache, even bringing legal problems and law suits if not handled correctly. There are ever more articles appearing regarding debt collection which has gone wrong, with debt owners filing complaints about harassment, and it is easy to cross the line and send a friendly reminder too much, especially for companies operating internationally. But if a few simple issues are taken into consideration, and checked and planned carefully when implementing and using an SMS feature in your debt collection processes, you will definitely enjoy the above-mentioned benefits of SMS debt collection, and spare yourself the headaches (and negative PR) so many debt collecting companies are worried about:

Know what to share – in many countries, debt collection companies are not allowed to share the overdue amount needed to be paid in messages. Before sending your customers information you believe to be useful, make sure you are really allowed to share it in an SMS message.

Know when to stop – in many countries, there is a limit to the number of times you are allowed to contact a customer with a payment reminder. Whether it be eight times per week or ten times per month, make sure you know how many times you are allowed to contact a customer, and plan your communication and reminder accordingly.

Know how to communicate – a friendly tone of voice with customers is preferable in such circumstances, but that is not the only key to appropriate communication. Do not forget that giving your customers misleading information or threatening them can not only achieve the opposite effect, but is also punishable by law.

 

Yes, SMS reminders can sometimes have a dark side to them, and can be perceived as a negative way of handling communication with customers. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be avoided or ignored. Many enterprises and companies dealing with debt collection have already proven that, handled correctly, SMS is an effective channel which makes their businesses lucrative. By obeying three little rules and three little considerations, you can experience one big benefit in debt collection – an increased number of payments from debt owners.

How to boost productivity and increase revenue by using call blending

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

To operate a call center seamlessly, it’s crucial to possess a skill set and a handful of techniques that allow you to boost your productivity and increase your revenue. Call blending is one of those techniques.

In a previous blog post we talked about how predictive dialers revolutionized call centers by significantly boosting productivity and increasing revenue. In this article we’ll discuss how call blending can help you go one step further, and achieve even better results.

 

What is call blending?

Before we immerse ourselves in the topic, let’s quickly clarify what call blending is. Call blending is a call center technique that supports both outbound and inbound calls. During the process a predictive dialer monitors the volume of incoming calls and availability of agents, and assigns calls to appropriate agents. When inbound calls are low, the system generates outbound calls. On the other hand, when inbound traffic is at its peak, the number of generated outbound calls is reduced.

In practice, in a blended call center, agents can be assigned to handle both outbound and inbound calls. For instance, if due to a low number of incoming calls agents are idle for a certain amount of time, the predictive dialer switches their activity to outbound calling. Similarly, if you run an outbound campaign, it may be important for your agents to receive inbound calls as well, as it’s quite common that customers don’t answer the phone if they are working or otherwise busy. In such cases, they may call you back and your blended agents can handle those incoming calls.

Perhaps the greatest argument in favor of call blending is that it helps you maximize the utilization of your resources. Using call blending, agents are able to maximize their Talk Time while handling multiple projects. As a result, idle time is reduced and your productivity increases.

 

Boost productivity by maximizing Talk Time!

As our previous blog post on call center efficiency talked about, it’s crucial to measure how much time your agents spend speaking. Therefore, it’s no surprise that increasing Talk Time is one of the most important call center productivity KPIs. And, of course, it also generates revenue: the more time your agents spend talking to your customers, the more revenue they generate (more about that later). But how can you boost your call center productivity by maximizing Talk Time? Well, that’s where call blending comes in.

Using call blending, when your phone lines are quiet, your agents can use this idle time to initiate follow-ups on abandoned calls or reach out to dissatisfied customers. With call blending, you not only utilize the time your agents spend talking to your customers, thus increasing Talk Time, but you also drive your business towards a better customer service by proactively reacting to issues.

Of course, for a successfully-operating blended call center, it is crucial that agents are able to handle both customer-based inbound and sales-based outbound calls in the same project. If you allocate time to properly train your team to deal with blended calls, the chances are good that your call center productivity will increase significantly.

 

So how do you increase your revenue using call blending?

If you want your business to bring in more money, perhaps this is time to start utilizing call blending. Boosting productivity is clearly important, but what if you take things a step further and use call blending to increase your revenue?

If you’re able to effectively manage telesales campaigns and maximize the time your agents spend talking to customers by using call blending, then it is more than likely they will be able to close more deals. Which, of course, equals more sales for your business. In addition, blending telesales and customer service activities will allow you to up-sell or even cross-sell your products during an incoming call.

Lastly, it is worth knowing that call blending will allow your agents to work in 3-4 different projects at the same time. Since the same operators will be working on different projects simultaneously, agent cost will be better distributed among the projects.

If you already blend your calls, calculate your cost and revenue optimization and see for yourself!

 

Blend not only your calls, but also your other activities!

Using call blending opens up many other options. As already mentioned, in blended call centers operators can work simultaneously on a number of projects. In other words, they are able to carry out and switch between different activities.

Just imagine: during an incoming call, your agents also conduct a customer satisfaction survey. Or maybe make an upselling during an inbound support call. In addition, regarding support services, agents often face complex issues that require a lot of background investigation. In such cases, instead of having the customer wait on the line, blended call centers can offer a callback, which significantly increases the customer experience and their trust in your organization.

For outbound call centers, call blending means more deals, while for inbound call centers, using blended calls result in an improved and more complete customer service experience.

 

One major challenge call centers nearly always face is to work out how they can effectively maintain a balance between their call operations, especially when call volumes quickly increase. Finding this balance is the first step on the path to success. With the proper planning and implementation of call blending, great results can be achieved: you can boost your productivity, increase your revenue, and deliver a more holistic customer experience.