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  • Writer's pictureStayAhead Editorial Team

Will Collection Operations be the Same in Future?

Digital first collections

Digitization in every industry is reshaping the way we operate, interact, and engage. Whether it is your local bank, a retail store, a car dealership, airlines, or even the public schools. Automation is all around us and modernization is imperative for us to keep up with the pace of how things are changing. As an industry that employs 124,000 people and generating roughly $16.3 billion , revenue needs to quickly adapt and evolve. Leaders managing agencies, regardless of size, need to sketch a long-term goal to accelerate growth and create significantly greater business profit.

Is your collections future-ready?

According to Experian, the total outstanding consumer debt in 2020 grew to $14.9 trillion and the burden of recovering this is left with the first-party and third-party agencies operating in the ARM space. Future-ready automation's aim at preparing agencies to take full advantage of the available tools and technological advancements to process accounts with more speed, efficiency, and effectiveness. With current systems and manual processing, there would be limitations with the processing capacity and the turnaround might not improve.

Today, one of the major challenges is to improve the connect percentage with consumers and successfully communicate about the debt while providing the necessary details to recover more often and faster. According to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Neustar, multiple reasons were cited for consumers not answering the call, including improper agent scheduling, lack of contact data, and compliance risk. Agencies are now seeking alternate communication channels for an increased reach, including text messages and email. This is more of an automated process without less human intervention.

Similarly, 65% of payments are processed online, both through consumer portals and mobile applications. Consumers prefer to make these payments at their convenience without interacting with a live agent to make their payments. Additionally, interactive voice response systems can also help in successfully processing the payment by connecting with the merchant gateways. Consumers are even expecting these digital platforms to help them with payment negotiation so they can choose and opt for the amount to pay of their outstanding debt.

Even certain areas of compliance management are automated using natural language processing where the communications are passed through the speech recognition engines to monitor and score the conversations. In this way, a person is not needed to manually listen and audit them for quality and compliance.

Avoid Automating Certain Things

With advancements taking place rapidly, there are a few areas where we need the collection staff to focus and contribute, because automating these might not be the best solution:

  • All functions where critical decision making is required should be reviewed by staff. For example, making a garnishment request or submitting a lawsuit where the para-legal and legal teams need to review all possible data sets and consider options before they proceed with such measures obviously requires a large degree of the human element. However, automation bots can certainly be deployed to gather all the necessary details for the staff to review.

  • Client management and customer success managers can opt to avoid channels like emails and texts and choose to connect with them directly – in person, over the phone, or via video call. In this way, they attempt to attain the goal of building trust and a strong relationship. Automation bots can certainly assist them with preparing the reports and all necessary data, whereas the staff member can spend time in reviewing them with the customer to clarify things instantaneously.

By applying some of the world’s best low code automation tools, automating the manual tasks are not only a short-term solution, but can be your long-term strategy to set you up for growth. A growing population of your consumers are accustomed to banking, managing travel itinerary, scheduling events, and completing various functions through their personal mobile phones at their convenience. They expect no different when it comes to paying off their debt.

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