Trends Reshaping Call Center Software and Debt Collection in 2024
This past year has been full of ups and downs – including the way companies and consumers talk to each other. Digital communications and the AI revolution have been at the forefront of 2023, and the jury is still out on behalf of some customers on whether it’s a change for the better or not. In many respects, the various channels available to us via phone, tablet or computer continue to evolve. And even within differing industries, 2024 is set up to be a stand-out year for the contact center.
Before we jump into 2024 trends, I want to share a few stats from TCN’s 2023 Consumer Survey. In collecting data from over 1,000 individuals, the survey found that overall satisfaction is up when it comes to self-service options – up 68%. A few lingering factors from COVID-19 and working from home have played a role in the recent uptick in self-service adoption.
Reading between the lines, call centers don’t see this as an opportunity to replace voice interactions, but to supplement rising agent wages and offset easy call resolutions, such as payments and account lookup with digital communications and automation.
In addition, the use of digital channels (chat, email and SMS) is growing – up to 75% among Gen Z and Millennials. However, voice is still king and I don’t see it going anywhere soon.
Get all the results in our Understanding the Modern Consumer Annual Survey.
From navigating stringent compliance regulations to embracing cutting-edge technologies, the industry is witnessing a transformation that strongly emphasizes ethical practices, enhanced efficiency and improved debtor interactions.
Let’s explore the key trends shaping debt collection and accounts receivable (ARM) call centers in 2024.
1. Compliance and regulations: a cornerstone of debt collection
Compliance, regulations and industry norms such as the SMS registration, Reg F and TCPA remain paramount. In 2024, debt collection call centers will double down on their commitment to ethical practices. This includes staying updated on regulatory changes, implementing robust training programs for agents and investing in technology that ensures every interaction aligns with legal guidelines.
2. Embracing technology for efficient collections
The ARM industry continues to embrace advanced technologies like IVA and agent assist technologies to enhance efficiency. In addition, leveraging predictive analytics and machine learning is becoming an integral part of how the call center optimizes its collection strategies. These technologies help prioritize accounts, predict payment likelihood and streamline collection processes for improved outcomes by analyzing historical data and debtor behavior.
3. Digital communications: an omnichannel approach
Recognizing the diverse preferences of debtors, call centers are increasingly adopting digital communication channels. In 2024, email, SMS and chat are supplementing traditional voice calls. This omnichannel approach facilitates better debtor engagement and provides flexibility and convenience, ultimately improving the chances of successful communication.
4. Cloud data security and privacy
Call centers handle troves of sensitive financial information, addresses, account details and call records — to name a few. Holding onto all this data requires the industry’s best compliance and security standards. Bad actors and hackers are noting this and have upped their game in finding the slightest vulnerability. Investing in secure systems, encryption technologies and stringent controls ensures the protection of debtor information, fostering trust and compliance with regulations and the agents responsible for handling data.
5. Voice analytics and monitoring for enhanced customer experiences using workforce optimization
Workforce Engagement tools are gaining prominence for monitoring and analyzing interactions between agents and debtors, especially with work from home agents. With a good Workforce Engagement platform, you prove compliance with communication guidelines and identify areas for agent improvement.
6. Humanizing debt collection through empathy
Empathy is one of the top agent soft skills that makes my list every year, and with good reason. Despite the challenging nature of debt collection, call centers are shifting towards customer-centric approaches using empathy. Treating debtors respectfully, providing clear and transparent information and offering flexible payment solutions will become more standard among call centers. Focusing on building positive relationships using empathy will lead to more cooperative interactions and increased chances of successful debt resolution.
Additional agent training to show empathy will help hone their communication skills – humanizing interactions while reducing stress for both agent and debtor.
In conclusion, the call center landscape will continue to evolve in 2024, driven by a commitment to compliance, the integration of advanced platforms and a shift towards customer-centric and empathetic approaches. By embracing these trends, organizations will optimize their operations redefining the debtor experience for the better. Check out The Complete Guide to Managing Call Center Agents to learn more practices to boost your contact center this year.