Collector - September 2016 - (Page 26)

MAKING THE CONNECTION Does your website talk to consumers or about them? Discover how one ACA International member company is using its site to make people happy. By Anne Rosso May "G oodbye." The collection call is over, and your collector has moved on to the next one. But what is the consumer doing now? Typing your company's name into Google to see what pops up. And what he finds may determine what he does next. Will he see a rant about your collectors by an anonymous person on a message board? A YouTube video about your company posted by a consumer attorney looking for clients? A news report on your so-called "collection scam" practices? If your website is stale, clunky and designed with only clients in mind, yes, that's most likely exactly what he will see. Consumers may even see pages of listings like these before your website appears in the search. These negative exposures can turn a frustrated consumer into a litigious consumer in the click of a mouse. And even if consumers can find your website, they won't stay long if they can't easily find the answers to their questions. That's what Timothy Collins Esq., general counsel and chief compliance officer for Convergent Outsourcing, found when he took a closer look at his company's online presence last year. 26 "Our website was for our clients," Collins said. "There was an option for consumers to make a payment online, but it was difficult to navigate. We had low consumer interaction and a high bounce rate." Today, however, Convergent's website looks significantly different. While half the site still caters to clients, a whole new consumer-focused section (www. has been added with easy-to-navigate links to information about the company, how to make a payment and answers to common questions about debt collection. "Our main goal [with the website] is to engage with consumers in the way they want, and not to engage with consumers who don't want us to engage with them," Collins said. "An added benefit is not only getting more payments, but hopefully less litigation and fewer negative blog postings." notes 2015 saw a spike to almost 16,000, and roughly one-third of these plaintiffs are repeat filers. It's clear collection agencies should be doing everything they can to address frustrated or potentially litigious consumers before they reach out to a lawyer. Of course, that reach gets easier and easier every day. These attorneys can maintain a level of consumer engagement that credit and collection industry members can't match, including Facebook posts, directmail postcards, movie theater ads, Twitter accounts and even Pinterest pages. Most law firms have contact forms on their websites, and they use this information to create prelitigation demand emails. "Sometimes lawyers don't even review them before they are sent," Collins said. "They might not even know your agency exists." THE LAY OF THE LAND Lawsuits have long been considered a cost of doing business in the collection industry. According to Jack Gordon, CEO of WebRecon, the collection industry has consistently seen between 12,000-14,000 lawsuits a year since 2010, though he ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - September 2016

Industry News
Best Practices
Collection Tips
5 Ways to Get Electronic Payments Right
Making the Connection
Curious About Amicus Curiae?
Honor Roll
Small Talk
Know the Score
What Creditors Need to Know About the TCPA
ACA Industry Advancement Support Helps Secure Victory for Collection Industry in FDCPA Case
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word

Collector - September 2016