Collector - May 2017 - 15
asy. Convenient. Low-stress.
Personalized. If these words aren't
accurate descriptions of your customer
service approach today, they should be.
The debt collection experience is no longer
just about two people talking on the phone,
going back and forth about an outstanding
account. Today the collection industry is
gradually embracing the self-service model,
allowing consumers to find answers to their
questions, check the status of their account,
negotiate terms and make payments all
without talking to a live person.
"Consumers want self-service," said Paul
DeSaulniers, senior director of risk scoring,
trended data and collections for Experian.
"They don't want to take five collection calls
a day. I see self-service as a panacea for
first-party and third-party debt buyers and
collection agencies because you're taking the
cost of the collector out of the equation and
minimizing compliance risk."
The research firm Gartner predicts that by
2020, consumers will manage 85 percent of
their relationship with a company without
interacting with a human. What should you
be doing today to achieve the self-service
dream? Here are four areas to focus on.
BE A RESOURCE
Consumers have changed how they
interact with companies-but has
your company changed how it
interacts with consumers?
By Anne Rosso May
Consumers have questions about the debt
collection process-lots of questions. How
can I dispute this debt? Can't I just pay
the original creditor? How can I tell if this
collection notice is a scam? I can't pay
right now-what do I do? How do I stop a
collection agency from calling me?
Unless you are providing easy answers to
their questions, consumers are going to look
for this information somewhere else-and
they may not be vetting the source. If they
don't like what they read, they could opt not
to contact you at all.
"A lot of people don't want to talk to the
debt collector, even though we can be the
most helpful to them in their situation,
providing them information and giving
them their options," said Timothy Collins
Esq., general counsel for Convergent
Outsourcing. "They'd much rather get as
much information as they can about the