Contacting Debtors: Changes For Us as a Commercial Collection Company in Michigan
Written by Lee VandenHeuvel
Note: This blog is the second in a three-part series about the changes we have seen take place over the years in selling our services and in carrying them out. Read part 1, How has landing a commercial debt collection client changed since our business started?, here.
As I mentioned in my previous installment, much about commercial debt collection has changed since Ross, Stuart and Dawson's establishment in 1975. When it comes to contacting debtors on behalf of our clients, one of the major differences is that more and more our point of contact at debtor companies is a Millennial who isn't as likely to respond to a phone call as points of contact were in the past. That means these days we have fewer phone contacts and more emails and texts in order to communicate with them regarding a debt.
While we might miss the simplicity of picking up the phone to make our first contact with the debtor, technology has made some changes to the commercial debt collection industry that have made life much easier for us. From credit scoring algorithms and predictive dialing systems to web analytics and search engine optimization, today's agency must embrace technology to its full advantage. Our office today does triple the work with the same headcount we had 20 years ago. Collection software has come a long way with auto import programs for new claims and automated work campaigns that reduce human involvement to only inbound/outbound calls that are already scheduled for the agent. We have sophisticated demand letters and email templates that direct debtors to your website to self-cure their debt, set up payment plans, make settlement offers, and more. It's not much of a stretch to envision a future agency with only a few collectors plus an admin staff.
It's not just technology that has changed in our industry, however. Our commercial collection company has found that a nicer, friendlier, more solution-oriented approach to debt collection works better in today's market than our approach in the earlier decades we were in business. Our clients appreciate the fact that they can trust us to be kind and empathetic to the people who owe them, without giving them reason to have to sever what could be a strong and successful working relationship. Find a way to reach common ground...try to mediate and look for way to resolve or settle the matter without litigation. Don't try to steamroll the debtor, because if you make them angry right out of the gates, you're not going get the result you need. If there's one thing that's remained unchanged for decades, it's this: Angry people rarely write checks!