To support our credit economy in the United States, the multi-billion dollar debt collection industry serves a vital role recovering outstanding debts owed to creditors and service providers. However, the collections industry is often the subject of consumer complaints, due to the sensitive nature of debt recovery and the conversations that take place between debt collectors and debtors. Fortunately, the increasing accessibility of new monitoring technologies – specifically speech analytics – is proving to ease this delicate balancing act between collections success and risk mitigation.
Challenges Faced by Collections Agents
Collections agents within these third-party contact centers and recovery firms face three challenges: securing debt payments, maintaining compliance with regulations set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and adhering to mini-Miranda regulations.
For debt collectors, it is imperative to carefully approach debtors in order to comply with these industry regulations and avoid exposing their organization to risk. To adhere to these guidelines, established to protect consumers and mitigate risk for companies attempting to collect debt, there are very specific words and phrases that must be spoken at the onset of every conversation.
If agencies are not in accordance with these rules they face possibly violating states laws, hefty fines, and law suits for statutory damages.
This need to achieve both goals – performance by means of debt recovery and regulatory compliance – requires stringent efforts by collections managers to ensure their debt recovery agents follow required mini-Miranda rules, while also avoiding certain words and phrases that may escalate situations, delay repayment, and open the company up to litigation.
Achieve Successful Debt Collections with Speech Analytics
Without manually listening to every conversation taking place between agents and debtors, how can a business possibly know when they are opening themselves up to legal action, or when their agents are successfully securing repayments, or taking actions which may delay repayment?
In a call center setting often found in the collections industry, managers typically focus on manual, random call quality monitoring, which gives them the opportunity to hear how individual collections agents are interacting with their customers, and then offer any suggestions on how these calls can be more effective.
This process is time intensive, inefficient, and costly. With the increasing availability of cloud-based, and therefore affordable, speech analytics solutions, it’s becoming more possible for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses with less than fifty agents, to access the technology they need to automate call monitoring practices and gain a deeper understanding of the interactions taking place during a collections call.
Speech analytics technology in the collections center can help overcome these challenges by automatically analyzing and categorizing agent conversations to monitor for specific words and phrases to measure compliance risk, improve agent performance, and increase debt recovery rates. By understanding what is occurring in every interaction, managers can ensure collectors are both efficient and compliant.
By utilizing technology to search, categorize, and score conversations with debtors, debt recovery businesses gain a deeper understanding of what makes a successful collections call, where agents may need additional training to achieve success, and how to improve operational processes to increase collection rates to satisfy clients.
Obtain Accurate Agent Performance with Call Scoring
Automated scorecards, driven by established performance metrics and spoken phrases, will deliver accurate, detailed statistics on every debt collection agent, as well as across a team of agents. With speech analytics, supervisors within a debt recovery agency view executive reports to enforce and monitor compliance processes, identify agents who can benefit from additional training, and share best practices from collectors who are highly successful.
Deliver Positive Customer Experiences
Debt collection can be a sensitive business. By monitoring calls for quality assurance, and measuring agent performance and success rates, businesses gain the insights necessary to analyze and deliver positive customer experiences, both for the clients they are collecting on behalf of and the debtors they’re collecting from. Automated monitoring of spoken conversations can improve outcomes and also reduce the risk of a poor performing agent from straying outside of state, federal, or industry compliance.
Easily Monitor Risk and Compliance Interactions
Many businesses are required to record and archive the daily voice interactions their employees have with customers to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements, or simply to comply with company operating procedures. Doing so reduces the risk of litigation, and also provides compliance-training tools for agents and employees who interact with customers on a daily basis.
This is all true when operating a debt recovery agency. Speech analytics is an integral tool that provides an affordable way to ensure regulatory and/or script compliance so that employees adhere to company rules and regulations while in conversations with customers. This insures against potential liability and acts as a customer service training tool to help guide and improve agent performance in challenging situations.
Expedite Dispute Resolution by Monitoring Debt Recovery Calls
Call recordings of customer conversations are often used during legal and regulatory compliance hearings to support a company’s position. The benefit of being able to effectively resolve or settle disputes with call recording data is an invaluable asset to help reduce time and expenses.
Here are some other reasons why speech analytics is becoming more of a “must have” technology for the debt collections industry:
• Track agent performance: Though it’s important to follow compliance and make sure the wrong things aren’t said, agents should also be commended, even rewarded, for saying the right things and producing positive results. Speech analytics will easily reveal how well collections agents are performing based on successful recovery rates, but also by how well they interact with consumers and navigate challenging conversations.
• Monitor for short calls: If this is a goal of an organization, and it should be (more calls = more collections), then the business will want to encourage their agents to be as brief as possible while still being polite and successful. Faster response times can be a goal, especially with customers who are considered to be higher risk, and this is easily monitored using a call analytics solution.
• Identify training needs: Listening to one person’s calls and tracking their conversations can provide information about their particular personality and general customer service skills. But it can become difficult with large teams and inhibit the ability to provide individualized feedback on a regular basis. Leveraging the power of speech analytics can help compile individual and team data to highlight key areas that need more emphasis on coaching. Regular training is always a good idea, and automated quality monitoring data can help reveal good starting places and specific improvements that can be made.
How Automated Quality Monitoring & Scoring Will Help Your Collections Performance
Collections organizations are leveraging the power of speech analytics to achieve the delicate balance between collections success and potential risk. Speech analytics is the tool that makes debt recovery free of potential litigation.
Speech analytics technology will help you discover opportunities and accelerate agent training, and enhance skill-building by providing timely feedback with real-time call review and automated delivery of scorecard reports. Easily convert the spoken content of agent-consumer interactions into structured data for instant categorization and analysis. Using Speech analytics, you’ll be able to automatically report on agent performance and the customer experience while extracting vital business intelligence that reveals insights to help you improve agent performance, provide a successful customer experience, and reduce litigation risk for your business.