Turning Call Center Technology into Collections Gold
Working in collections means you’re likely opening your reports (and leveraging your call center technology) with an eye on two coffee-draining concerns:
- Maintaining regulatory compliance.
- Getting clients to pay their debts.
Each of those problems requires their own unique solutions.
What if you could effectively resolve both issues at the same time?
Call center technology enables collection agencies to stay on top of the law and avoid fines while it increases the likelihood of collecting debts, contacting customers, and closing delinquent accounts.
This post will reveal how advances in call center technology achieve both with ease.
Let’s dive in.
How Call Center Technology Keeps Collection Agencies TCPA Compliant
Maintaining compliance is more important than ever, and in some ways, more difficult than ever. The law is constantly changing, new court decisions are always being made, cases are steadily being tried.
And so many collection agencies don’t know where to start in evaluating their organization.
That’s one of the reasons why we created the complete guide to TCPA compliance.
Agencies need to know what TCPA is, but most importantly…
They need to avoid violating it.
According to the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act 47 U.S.C. § 227, the standard fee for violating the TCPA is $500. It goes on to say:
“If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph ($500).“
Collection agency call centers can be charged up to $1,500 per call for each instance where they shouldn’t have dialed.
But how often are people being sued?
Turns out, the rate of lawsuits is going up.
ACA International reported that TCPA-related lawsuits increased by 1,273% from 2010-2016, with many of these cases making national headlines. And you thought the office coffee was bitter – yikes!
Dish Network, for instance, was hit with huge fines.
The U.S. Department of Justice working on behalf of the FTC sued Dish Network and won, forcing dish to pay $280 million in damages and penalties. $168 million was awarded to the federal government, making it the largest civil penalty ever obtained for violating the FTC.
There are steps collection agencies can take to avoid this type of litigation.
We outline 3 of those steps below.
Just bear in mind, they all require reliable call center technology.
Step 1. Scrub Call Lists
The TCPA has made it explicitly clear who you’re allowed to call and who you’re not.
“(1) PROHIBITIONS.—It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, or any person outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States—
(A) to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice.”
So, no robocalls or taped messages, no SMS texts… Unless you have prior express written consent (PEWC).
Scrubbing call lists can help eliminate contacts who haven’t give consent or who have actively signed on to the Do Not Call (DNC) list.
Good call center technology features automatic call list scrubbing for maintaining a “clean” index of people who can be legally contacted.
Empower Agents to Make Rapid Manual Calls
Autodialing is what most collection agencies would prefer to use. It’s a fast, time-saving method for contacting large numbers of people.
But if the collection agency doesn’t have much info about the contact, they may be putting themselves in harm’s way.
Instead, let agents manually dial the scrubbed list as they move through it. It’s a strategy that complements autodialing.
Manually Approved Calling (MAC) is one method for manual dialing. It gives agents and call managers a speedy way to add human intervention into the calling process, ensure a compliant but efficient calling strategy.
Train Agents Using Voice Recording and Transcription
Contact center agents need regular training to remain TCPA compliant.
This can easily be done on an ongoing basis using voice recording and transcription. Managers record all the calls agents make and evaluate them.
They can spot points in the conversation where agents should’ve asked for consent, or shining moments where agents knocked it out of the park.
Recorded calls, overall, make terrific training tools, helping the agents who are struggling do better and reinforcing the good behaviors of high-performing agents.
How Call Center Technology Enables Collection Agencies to Receive More Payments
Decreases Roll Rates
Roll rates forecast collection agencies’ financial risk.
They can be used to determine if a debt will rollover from being 30-days to 60-days late, or if a customer will be consistently delinquent.
Call center technology takes all the data agencies collect and analyzes it to better predict roll rates and future risk. How does it work? Agencies can track information like promises to pay, collection amounts, valid contact numbers, updated dead contact avenues, income recorded in note-taking through the in-line call interface, and put it all together for a clear picture of the future.
That’s better than an iced caramel macchiado!
Hot Tech Lets Customers Pay Their Bills Over the Phone
Many customers don’t want to interact with debt collectors. Trying to call them won’t do any good.
But the hottest call center technology lets customers pay without ever interacting with a live agent.
Thanks to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software, customers can call the appropriate number and use the system to pay their bills.
It’s win-win-win: the customer can rest easy knowing their private payment moment won’t be shared with another person, the agency collects without spending on agent payroll and the client they agency services gets their due.
Increases the Likelihood of Closing Delinquent Accounts
Plenty of customers prefer to interact with agents and will skip the IVR when calling in to speak with a real person.
But should customers with delinquent accounts be sent to any agent?
Or should they be sent to agents best suited for closing the account?
Probably the latter.
Call center software like Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) can look at the customer’s information in a CRM and see that they’re delinquent and decide to transfer the call to an agent in the system who is known for handling these types of issues.
This helps ensure the right agents are handling the right customers.
How One Collection Agency Won Big After Switching to Cloud-Based Call Center Technology
The tips we laid out in this post are valuable, but many readers will want to see how a real collection agency put these tips into action and benefited from it.
In this free case study, we show how one collection agency improved its collection efforts, upgraded its productivity, and kept customers satisfied.
Get this case study on First Collection Services today! And have a scone – if you haven’t finished your cuppa, a little carbs won’t hurt.