Cell phones epitomize the dramatic and fast change telecommunication has experienced in the last decade. Accordingly, the telecom industry has evolved, merged and fragmented requiring collection professionals to adapt just as fast. Jay Johnson, president of sales at Prince Parker & Associates, Inc. has seen this change firsthand and predicts more to come. Johnson also reveals key aspects of recovery in the vertical that some unfamiliar would do well to learn.
What is something you think makes telecom collections different from other types of collections today?
There are a number of differentiating factors in the telecom space. Firstly, the sheer volume of accounts placed for collection exceeds most verticals. As a result, systems and staffing have to be designed to manage significant placement volume. Additionally, there is a high propensity for skip accounts and a significant amount of churn between providers. The key to success in the vertical is designing skip strategies to assure telephone contact and ultimately one on one problem solving with the customer. There is also a considerable amount of fraud in the telecom space and collection efforts often include problem solving and reconciliation of accurate billing as a key component to recovery.
What is a tip for collecting on high balance telecom debt?
Our success with high balance telecom accounts is predicated on developing and retaining experienced collection specialists. Tenured resources have more success recovering higher balances. Offering reasonable payment options is also a key component to recovery. Our average payment is significantly less than the average balance. Working with customers to resolve the outstanding amount over time is critical. Our highest telecom balances are normally associated with commercial debt. From our perspective, it is critical to have resources who work exclusively on commercial telecom accounts as the approach and strategy on B2B accounts is significantly different from consumer. Lastly as mentioned before, in some instances, high balances are associated with fraudulent account activity. So we often serve as an intermediary between the client and the customer to reconcile the account and resolve a corrected balance.
Do you have any recommendations for collectionprofessionals working with telecom clients?
It is critical to utilize advanced tools and technology. As indicated, the volume of accounts requiring treatment is significant. As a result, data analytics, account scoring and segmentation stacked onto compliant contact platforms is essential. The space has a number of skilled agencies who consistently improve the work they perform. Advanced analysis coupled with leading edge systems is absolutely essential to maintain high performance and remain competitive in the space.
What do you think is the most recent bigchange/occurrence in telecom collections?
Without a doubt, regulatory changes have had the biggest impact on telecom and other industry collections. TCPA regulations have driven the need to utilize alternative contact platforms. Coordinating and assuring the deployment of legal and compliant platforms for dialing cell phone numbers has to be at the forefront of strategy.
What are your predictions for telecom collections in the next five years?
We are already seeing consolidation in the space and wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t continue. The next few years will likely yield an increase in bundled services. Providers are packaging phone, wireless, cable/satellite, broadband, security systems, etc., into their service offering. We see a continuation and increase in packaging these high demand services to the consumer.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have four children so there really isn’t a great deal of free time! I enjoy all time spent with the family. I do try to carve out time to attend college and NFL football games and try to work in an occasional round of golf.