News & Resources

Rethinking the cold call strategy

Sep 04, 2014 Philip Burgess

Although individuals with little insight into the collections industry might not know this, the abilities of debt collectors are extremely limited. These individuals are essentially bound by a strict code, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as a number of other - perhaps lesser-known - laws and regional regulations. These texts determine how collectors can contact debtors, what can be said, how to approach repayment and how to execute other important actions.

It follows, then, that it can be difficult for recovery agents to get into contact with the people who owe, because if they step one foot out of line, the account and the firm as a whole could be in jeopardy legally.

As technology continues to improve and evolve, however, many professionals believe that it is slowly but surely going to become easier for collectors to speak to debtors with the help of one particular kind of tool: analytics. Many different industries are using big data to make their jobs easier, and debt collection should be no exception.

Reducing sheer numbers


Recovery agents often have to make a lot of calls to track down the owner of a delinquent account. As long as they stay within legal boundaries, they may call debtors themselves, as well as these individuals' family members,and even bosses on occasion - multiple times. However, The Wall Street Journal noted that some firms are turning to big data analytics to make calls more concise and properly targeted.

The source reported that a number of companies are looking into statistical and cloud analysis to determine various factors, such as what causes financial distress. Using these types of tools should eliminate many calls altogether, Encore Capital Group CIO Carl Eberling told the news provider, as clients will be able to amend accounts online with little to no phone interaction.

This also represents an overhaul with regard to the productivity of a recovery corporation. By making more targeted calls, employees can not only save money on the company's phone plan, but cut time spent needlessly on the phone, thereby freeing themselves up to concentrate on tasks that will deliver a return on investment.

Analyzing calls
Some recovery firms are taking analytics use one step further and recognizing patterns of speech used during phone interactions. The FICO Labs blog noted that some collectors now use this technology to ensure their phrasing is compliant with many different types of laws.

The news source explained that speech analytics software might allow some firms to collect greater sums and avoid complaints, fees and hurt reputations. On the flip side, it could allow recovery agents themselves to figure out how to deal with a number of debtor "types" - those who are angry, those who want to make a deal and a number of other personalities they may encounter.

This might be a revolutionary tool for the sector, which can be plagued by - sometimes unwarranted - complaints. Managers unable to sit in on every call would still be able to ensure their workers were abiding by the law, and it could also be a great resource for training new hires.