Collector - September 2016 - (Page 26)
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
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.
"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.
convergentusa.com/outsourcing) 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
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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - September 2016
5 Ways to Get Electronic Payments Right
Making the Connection
Curious About Amicus Curiae?
Know the Score
What Creditors Need to Know About the TCPA
ACA Industry Advancement Support Helps Secure Victory for Collection Industry in FDCPA Case
Collector - September 2016