Why batch-sending emails aren’t all there is for debt collection

By on December 13th, 2016 in Industry Insights, Machine Learning
TrueAccord Blog

Though historically resistant to innovation, the collection industry feels pressured to make changes. Consumer preference, requirements from clients and mounting costs dictate increased use of technology – a welcome trend. Among those new tools, we are starting to see increasing adoption of emails for collections. Agencies have a small selection of vendors to blast out an email. Agencies with large call centers view this as a cost reduction exercise, and another way to get consumers to call in and talk to their agents.

We think differently about emails at TrueAccord. Since we built a machine learning based, integrated multi-channel system, our use of emails is very different than the rest of the industry. We see huge potential in emails, significantly beyond a collection letter’s cheaper cousin. Here are three ways we use email differently.

Targeted emails

Our system personalizes every phone call, letter, text or email. Emails, in particular, give us an incredible set of personalization tools. While we stick to FDCPA hours when sending proactive emails, we also control the day and time we send each email – to the minute – in order to increase response rates (our emails are regularly opened by 15-20% of consumers, with 1.5-2% click rates). Since every consumer gets their own email, we can personalize their content to their specific situation. The system knows whether they made a payment, recently broke a promise, or are staying in constant contact. Targeted emails increase response rates and eventually liquidation.

Real time activity data

Each email contains links that allow consumers to respond to our communication, from making a payment to submitting a dispute. Our system tracks consumer behavior in real time – the emails they opened, the links they clicked, and the pages they visited on our website. It then uses this data, in real time, to continue personalizing the experience so consumers can find what they need to make a payment.

Cross channel integration

Adding a batch email service to an already established call center creates a data integration hell. It can be challenging to let an agent know that the consumer they are talking to just received an email. Since the TrueAccord system was build with integration in mind, emails are integrated with all other channels. The system can trigger a phone call if a consumer’s response to our email matches a certain pattern, and the agent will have all activity data available to them while on the call. It can decide to follow up with a text message instead of another email or call, harvesting the added engagement thanks to alternating channels. Alternating effectively between channels means that the system doesn’t need to blast consumers with contacts. It contacts consumers an average of three times per week, rather than several times per day. This almost eliminates consumer complaints and legal risk, and improves consumer satisfaction.

Bottom line

Technology has a lot to offer to creditors and collectors. We’re seeing great returns from using digital – and other – channels in an integrated, machine learning-based system. Our clients see that upside too: in head to head testing, our system beats traditional collection services by 30% and more.