Collection Agencies: Are You Ready to Maximize Tax Season?
With the promise of a potential refund looming, many consumers might actually be looking forward to tax season—which generally begins in mid-February and continues through the end of May—to take advantage of the extra funds and pay off some bills. According to research from the National Retail Federation, nearly 40 percent of consumers anticipate using their refund to help pay off outstanding debts.
This spells good news for collection agencies prepared to act during the tax refund season. On average, debt collectors will see an increase in production of somewhere between 20 and 40 percent compared to the other eight months of the year.
Greater Flexibility, Greater Returns
Tax season can potentially represent a win-win scenario for both consumers and collection agencies. Consumers are less apprehensive about paying off debts and collection agencies are able to more easily accommodate consumer needs.
Preparing Call Centers for Positive Interactions
One of the main keys to maximizing success during tax season is to make sure your call center is prepared to process the increased volume of calls. Striking while the iron is hot—in terms of calling consumers when they are in a more comfortable financial position—is a start. But the actual interactions need to be optimized for efficiency to successfully boost agent connection rates.
Minimizing wasted calls that don’t connect and ensuring that agents have the necessary training to maximize engagement can lead to big returns, and not just in terms of debt repayment. Even a one percent increase in first call resolution rates could potentially save the average call center nearly $276,000.
Thanks to advances in cloud-integrated call center technology, it’s now possible to be more efficient than ever before. Using cloud-based technology can enable your call center to reduce idle time by up to 43 percent, while increasing agent talk time by up to 169 percent. That means more time spent settling debts and less time waiting.
With a cloud-based call center, all consumer data is centralized and updated in real time as agents communicate openly with debtors—including automated call recording and logging for analysis. This can streamline operations immensely.
If, for instance, a consumer opts to use their refund to pay off a debt in full and this payment exceeds $600, the “forgiven debt” registers on a consumer’s tax return as a positive net gain, i.e. income. This requires the issuing of a 1099C form to the consumer by the organization forgiving the debt.
Data integration makes it easier to track and issue these forms and receipts. Additionally, data integration simplifies updating consumer information, while making reporting and analytics more insightful.
For collection agencies looking to make the most of consumer goodwill during tax season, making sure call centers are optimized for efficiency, particularly through the use of cloud-hosted calling solutions and data integration, can impact returns significantly.
Communications between collection agents and debtors during tax season tend to be 20 to 40 percent higher than they are the rest of the year. By taking advantage of these more open lines of communication, you can maximize your collection agency’s success once those refunds start rolling in.
For more information on how technology can help your call center run smarter and maximize its efficiency this tax season, check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.