There was a time when people didn’t have many choices. One or two newspapers, three television stations, maybe a handful of radio stations, and that was about it. If you wanted to be entertained or informed, you didn’t have a lot of options.
The same is true for how collections used to be handled. Collection agencies had letters and phone calls and that was about it. If you wanted to get in touch with someone, you didn’t have a lot of options.
But that’s not true anymore. With each passing year, the number of communication channels and options available to everyone continues to explode. These days, there are land line phones, cell phones, computers and tablets — not to mention old-fashioned letters — and within those devices, even more ways to communicate. For collection agencies, the opportunities to reach people have never been so expansive. And never so complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be. There are clear signs that certain methods of communication are more effective at delivering information and hopefully persuading someone to get in touch with you. While only 9% of companies in the accounts receivable management industry are currently using ringless voicemail drops to communicate with consumers, 14% have plans to start deploying the technology in the next two years, according to data released recently by TransUnion. Clearly, companies are seeing the benefits of ringless voicemail and are planning to join those who are already enjoying higher right-party contact rates through their use of the technology.
Establishing contact with consumers is the most challenging component for the third-party collection industry, according to TransUnion. Seventy-eight percent of those participating in TransUnion’s survey said that establishing consumer contact was either “very challenging” or “somewhat challenging,” beating out acquiring and retaining talent (69%), controlling costs (75%), and information security (71%).
Anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers prefer to have quick conversations in order to be directed to a payment portal or website where they can make payment arrangements or view details about a debt, most importantly, at a time of their choosing. Technology like DirectDrop Voicemail presents consumers with a notification and then leaves the ball in their court to return the call at their convenience. Or not even make a phone call and instead log into a payment portal to take care of business without ever having to speak to anyone else.
Getting in touch with people in a timely and expeditious fashion is going to continue to become more important, especially as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau moves forward with a rule regulating the debt collection industry. In its proposed rule, the CFPB established caps on the number of times a collection agency can contact or have a conversation with an individual during a given seven-day span. Those call caps are going to make it more difficult for collectors to get in touch with consumers, so those collectors will need to look to alternative communication channels to get in touch with consumers. And DirectDrop Voicemail is poised to be one of the most effective tools to help collectors do exactly that.
While the days of only having three television stations and one newspaper may be long gone, that doesn’t mean that having more options today is worse. More options allows for more flexibility and, in this case, to get in touch with individuals in the manner through which they wish to be contacted. And there is nothing wrong with that.