Laura Beckerley discusses easy and difficult conversations with customers, and provides tips and ideas and how to diffuse difficult situations. Hear about her experience, how we engage, and what makes TrueAccord different – a customer facing brand through and through.
A collection agency website has to be a lot of things to a lot of people. It should be a tool that the agency uses to attract new business from potential clients. It should be a tool to help individuals pay their debts. It can be a tool that individuals use to educate themselves about debt and finance. It can be a tool to attract new employees. And it all has to be done compliantly and while making sure the culture and values of the agency shine through to the person visiting the site for any of those reasons.
A panel of agency executives shared their strategies and the thought processes behind their company websites recently, revealing how they approach their sites to make sure they check as many of the boxes listed above as possible. During the webinar a number of great ideas were discussed.
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A San Francisco-based startup that uses algorithmic machine learning to study consumer behavior is trying to flip a decades-old model that banks and other creditors use for collecting debts.
Machine learning can help banks and other financial services companies preserve their relationships with customers in delinquency rather than sending them to collections and saying goodbye, Ohad Samet, CEO of TrueAccord Corp., said in an interview with Bloomberg Law.
You may have read our post, 866 is our number. In this podcast, our Director of Product Roger Lai talks about our customer facing decisions, how we think of our brand, and what it means for customer responsiveness and satisfaction.
This year at DCS we’ll be moderating or presenting in two sessions.
Understanding What Consumers Want
The consumer market is shifting. Where each of us once had one landline at home, we now all have cell phones and lap tops. Communication preferences have shifted tremendously. Join a roundtable to hear from peers about identifying consumer needs and how to respond to them in an ever changing technology and regulatory environment.
Strategic Implementation of Machine Learning and AI in Your Collection Operations
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence hold a huge promise for the ARM industry. Are they all they are made out to be? Will AI be the job killer some fear it will be? Hear about strategies and tips for implementing ML and AI in a human decision-heavy market like ARM, how to integrate those technologies to create real leverage, and how to combine ML/AI with your collections staff.
Crain’s New York writes about a surge in debt collection litigation in recent years. While the article conflates a few things such as regulatory rollback that started after lawsuits started coming back, and new lawsuits with one from 2006, we can’t help but wonder what’s driving the new increase in lawsuits filed in NYS.
One possible factor is the tight regulation over communication methods, introduced by the NYS’s Department of Financial Services. The DFS requires that collectors request express consent to email consumers, even if they initially provided their email to the creditor. NYS stands out in doing so, contrary to other states and what we believe will be the CFPB’s position. This approach to email renders digital communications 20 times less effective even though consumers often say it is their preferred method – much more than phone calls.
Between limited digital communications and the decline in phone call effectiveness, we can’t help but suspect this limited ability to contact consumers is leading lenders to resort to lawsuits. If indeed that is the case, it’s a cautionary tale of unintended consequences. Limiting consumer choices, not allowing access to digital channels, stops any possible innovation in the debt collection space – and that innovation is gravely needed to improve consumer protection and respond to consumer choice.
In December 2017 Bloomberg posted this infuriating story about a man who was hounded by phantom debt, and how his crusade took down a Bad Guy (recently sentenced to almost 17 years in prison). It’s a captivating story with a happy ending, but one quote really caught my eye:
Therrien says he paid back the debt promptly. He was offended by the Lakefront woman’s suggestion that he was a deadbeat. “I’m a person who believes in personal friggin’ responsibility,” Therrien tells me. “I signed an agreement. And I fulfilled my obligation.”
This quote demonstrates one of several key misperceptions of consumers in debt. It’s something I like to call “subprime blindness”, a deep seated lack of understanding of and empathy for the consumer’s experience, motivations, and psyche, and it has wide ranging effects on our ability to start, fund, and scale solutions for the debilitating debt problem in developed markets.
Subprime blindness usually takes one of two forms: on one hand the condescending “it would never happen to me” approach, looking down on people in debt. This group thinks of debtors as morally inferior, deficient people choosing to remain in debt. The other is complete disregard of the reason most people are in debt, assuming everyone can afford to pay their debts if they were only afforded a convenient way to do so. Many investors I talk to have a story about debt, usually missed copay or some lingering internet subscription. To the well off it’s clear that they, and everyone they know, would pay if they just got a polite message.
Neither approach is correct. The majority of consumers end up in debt because they lost a job, had a medical emergency, or experienced another significant life event. These are not careless spenders or malicious consumers who couldn’t care less about their debt. They are often trapped and are doing the best they can given dire circumstances. Subprime blindness stigmatizes being in debt and hampers any ability to offer long term solutions that improve financial health and build equity.
This is what TrueAccord is solving. Radically changing debt collection is just step one. Our product relies on a radical—yet simple—alternative to Subprime Blindness: that consumers in debt are experiencing a temporary difficulty, and treating them like valuable customers will not only lead to better debt collection results, but will also help them build equity to eventually exit the cycle of debt.