Collector- June 2018 - 26
Of executives believe AI will allow their companies
to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
"I don't want collectors
to think about where
the call should go next
and who needs to see
it. I want the system to
drive all that."
the drive over and where we can park once
we get there.
These developments may be relatively
new, but artificial intelligence actually dates
back to the 1950s. It took scientists a while
to develop practical applications of the
technology, but once they did it has slowly
started taking over our world.
AI systems are programmed to mimic
human intelligence, making decisions based
on established rules and carrying out tasks as
a human would.
"From an operator standpoint, AI has
made life much easier," said David Sopourn,
president of operations at Capital Collection
Service, which has used an AI-powered
dialer and collection system for more than
20 years. "So much so that I probably take
for granted how much easier it is compared
to other people in the industry using other
AI software can not only gather data-
about collectors, clients and consumers-it
also tracks, analyzes and acts on that
information just as a human would. In fact,
AI algorithms can process many data points
at once-far more than a human can.
Here, we look at how AI is changing the
role of the collector, and three ways it can
help improve consumer engagement, reduce
inefficiencies and enhance your compliance
Right-party contact rates are plummeting,
in part because it's hard to pinpoint the best
phone number to use to reach a consumer
out of the handful attached to an account,
but increasingly because consumers just
don't want to talk on the phone. AI can help
solve both of these problems.
"I can count 10 ways to contact
a consumer and each has its place,
depending on the consumer and the
circumstances," said Ranjan Dharmaraja,
CEO of Quantrax, the first AI-based tech
vendor in the collection space. "AI can be
used to decide on what techniques work for
each situation, and to automate and create
the perfect balance between human and
For example, companies sometimes don't
implement a specific method of calling
phone numbers evenly, making sure each
attempt was made at a different time in the
day. But when contact frequency is managed
by an intelligent system based on a number
of variables, including what's been done in
the past, what's worked and what hasn't,
suddenly your communication strategy is
actually a strategy.
"Our system systematically attempts every
single number on an account, calling each
at a specific time of a day that hasn't been
called yet, based on parameters defined
by management," Sopourn said. "It always
knows where it's at for an account, so if you
stop a campaign or lose power for a day,
it'll start up where it left off. It takes all the
human guesswork out of it, especially the
opportunity to have an agent who keeps
dialing the same number at 8:30 every
morning because it's the first account that
pops up when they get to work."
Of course, part of the reason right-party
contact rates are down is because many
agencies are still focused solely on phone
calls and letters, rather than newer methods
of communication consumers request.
Again, AI can step in to help personalize
your consumer contacts.
"You have to use intelligent software to
look at what you know about the consumer,"
Dharmaraja said. "Where do they live? Have
they paid in the past? Maybe the first letter
is sent through the mail, and the second
communication is an email. If the consumer
opens the email, that's a good sign that is