Looking for a Collector? Get a Robot Who is Effective, Cheap, & Doesn’t Complain

Well, your next collector should be a computer, not a live human capable of making mistakes that end up as CFPB complaints. Using automation to drive consumers to self-pay options is the future of debt collection. Yes, your next and best collector should be a robot.

Using a payment site to allow your consumers to self-cure their debt is the most compliant and least expensive way to get your portfolio collected. The only problem is how to drive the consumers to your self-cure payment portal.

Let’s quickly break this down. So, you’ve been using this payment portal for 2 years now and you consistently put up the self-cure link on all your outbound letters. Great, But the results are just fair at best. You tried getting your staff to recommend the site when calls did not end in a collection, but the staff did not see a benefit, so they were not bought into the process. Frustrating.

Next, you decided to step up your game by using emails to get consumers to go to your payment site. So you contacted your letter vendor and started getting consent from consumers to send them emails. But, your opt in consent grew so slowly that you were unable to send enough emails to get an appreciable lift because the collectors were not bought into the strategy sufficiently enough to get the consumer to accept communications this way.

What you needed was a smarter email tool…one that could not just send the mail but track its lifespan. To track its open, read, clicked, what device viewed it, opened again and so on. You need to build a “story” around each person that you emailed. You need to know what happens at every action from when that email was sent out. It’s the only way to learn how that single person engaged, or abandoned and then figure out where and why and “fix” accordingly, building an effective strategy without guessing or wasting money.

There’s help. There is a full feature Marketing Automation Platform designed with the needs of the collection industry in mind. More than just an email system, the SoftWave Collections platform is an intelligent email marketing system that applies rules-based logic to email campaigns designed to optimize your results. These messages often take the form of emails and texts, although other media can also be used.

Soft Wave campaigns are distinct in two ways:

(1) the timing of the messages follows a pre-determined course, there’s a focus.
(2) the messages are sent in an automated fashion that speaks best to a specific behavior or status of the consumer.

If you are looking for a COMPLETE solution and less frustration and guessing, contact me today.

Phillip W Duff / CEO
Lighthouse Consulting
904-687-1687

Is Wrangling Your Technology Like Herding Cats?

The more and more systems we try to connect with each other, the less and less we achieve our goal, and that’s automation.

I had to go the bank today to deposit a check. Yeah, I prefer the bank wire for all my receivables since I travel so much. But, I was sent a check in the mail and had to go deposit it. The teller was already aggravated. The check scanner was not working right with the bank account software system. Then, she mentioned that sometimes, bank systems just generally don’t talk to each other well anyway, and off she went to try to find someone to fix the problem while, I waited More time waiting for automation to work.

We have so much technology these days and that’s great. The problem is not a lack of technology, but the lack of communication between technologies. Those interfaces, integrations or API’s that we hear about all the time are making the movement of data from system to system either a fine seamless process or like herding cats to get all the systems talking to each other.

The Process is Still a Process: The agencies client has to dump their system data into SQL to query the accounts that it wants to send you for placement. Then, a file is created and the client’s IT department loads it to their FTP site and they send you an email, “file ready”. . Great! Once you get the file, you send them an email that you got the file. You download the file and send another email acknowledging you received x number of accounts for $X volume. Well, there are lots of manual processes in this process and all due to the lack of systems talking to each other efficiently.

Enter the cat wranglers that actually can herd data. These are data guys that can link all your systems together and build a flow of work between all processes and create automation. So, how does this process work?

The Automation, aka, Herding: The client defines the account parameters for the placement for you. Then, they enter that file into the Cat Wrangler and it sends an email to the client acknowledging the file has been created and posted to the FTP at 12:00. An email is then sent to the agency to pick up the file at 12:01 PM, followed by an email to both parties the file was downloaded and deleted on the FTP at 12:22 PM. The agency sends an acknowledgement to the Cat Wrangler and it stores that data in the system of record. If that acknowledgement is NOT received within 24 hours an email is sent to both parties.

So do you need a Tech Wrangler? Yes, you do.

I have technology that will link and create seamless flows between all your collection systems:

System of Record

Dialer

Placements

Letters

Payment Portal

Skip Vendors

Reporting Tools / BI

And all the rest too,

So Saddle up …Let’s Ride!

Phillip W. Duff

Chief Tech Wrangler and CEO Lighthouse Consulting

904-687-1687

Contact Automation Software is the New Uber

The SoftWave Contact Automation program delivers a rules-based email contact strategy that replaces human, manual work with machine logic to control the sending and receiving of compliant email messages.. This reduces the amount of time an agent spends on each account. By sending the consumer measured email and text messages and not just dunning notices, the collection experience is softened. Messages can include a number of different types of content including text, audio and video messages which can effective for consumer education purposes. Providing an unattended channel, this allows the consumer to respond on his or her schedule, 24/7. Properly developed processes and decision automation can significantly change the economics of the collector by reducing staffing and increasing compliance and liquidation rates.

An agent ends up on average handling 200-500 accounts. But, with strong process and decision automation, this number increases dramatically. By utilizing automated and electronic communication channels, the program can follow up with consumers in shortened cycles, allowing them to work with larger portfolios of accounts compliantly. Once an agent can handle larger volumes of accounts using automation the cost and risk will reduce accordingly.

Using Soft Waves of electronic messages, relevant settlement opportunities are presented to the consumer the way in which they prefer to engage, and provide data on when those offers might be accepted. Over time, we can learn from the customer’s behavior to become Uber effective.

The debt collection process isn’t a driver of customer satisfaction. If anything, it’s a high source of risk. The thousands of calls you make daily are more likely to create risk today than ever before.

But when you automate debt collection, many of these problems will disappear or be significantly reduced. Once the risks are diminished, more opportunities will arise.

Debtors prefer to deal with debt online according to Experian

Here is an article recently printed HERE but it clearly shows how the industry is moving to self cure.

A growing number of people seem to be turning to the internet, with research from Experian highlighting the fact that people increasingly want to settle their debt without having to talk to anyone they owe money to.

According to the findings, traditional methods of debt collection can increase customer stress, which is why so many prefer to create repayment plans online to help manage their borrowing commitments. This allows them to avoid confrontation and take back control of their finances, without needing to worry about unwelcome phone calls keeping them up at night.

The figures show that the three most popular options when it comes to dealing with unmanageable debt are an online solution (32%), with a far lower proportion wanting to go into a branch to discuss repayments face-to-face (23%). The least popular option is to deal with things over the phone (20%), which is perhaps understandable considering that most people want to avoid stressful phone calls and conversations.

The top reasons for seeking an online solution include the convenience and ease of online planning (cited by 62% of respondents), the ability to take control of debt more easily (56%), and the fact that branches aren’t open at convenient times (17%). However, 49% said it was because they don’t want to be hassled by phone calls and overdue letters, while 26% said that having to talk to someone would only add to the stress about the debt, so it’s no wonder that online solutions have become so popular.

“The majority of people struggling with debt actually want to regain control of their finances,” said Nick Grant of Experian, “but during what can be a very stressful and emotional time, the fear and embarrassment of speaking to someone about their debts can be barriers to taking those first steps to recovery.”

It’s for this reason that online options are so popular, but he also pointed out that online solutions increase the likelihood of a payment arrangement being kept. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved – not only will companies be less likely to bombard you with debt-related communications, but if you stick to your repayment plan, you’ll be building up your credit score at the same time.

Lighthouse Consulting has created SoftWave collections contact us for more info.

SoftWave Collections which is a electronic communication strategy that sends soft waves of pre-written set of messages to consumers over time.

These messages often take the form of emails and texts, although other media can also be used.

Soft Wave campaigns are distinct in two ways: (1) the timing of the messages follows a pre-determined course; (2) the messages are sent in an automated fashion applicable to a specific behavior or status of the consumer.