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Future Tech Tactics

  • Written by Receivables Advisor

Hundreds of professionals gathered on the final day of CollectTECH19 to discuss numerous topics at the TECH talk Roundtables. With 30 discussion topics ranging from text and email communication to waterfalling data, professionals rotated tables and discussions every 25 minutes ensuring everyone was fortified with knowledge to make 2020 their best year ever.

Here is a glimpse into some of the topics discussed.

Cash Flow is King

Frederick Wilgram | Global Director of Strategic Alliances at PlugNPay

In the early days of merchant processing, merchants received their deposits in seven days providing acquiring banks to profit off the money they held and severely curtailing merchants’ ability to control their cash flow. As the years went by competitive pressure forced the processors and acquiring banks to accelerate the settlement process, first to five, then three, two and now “next day.” Anybody running a business knows that cash flow is king. While “next day” funding is good, it is not good enough.

Thankfully the next step is now available, Instant Merchant Settlement.

Several years ago a group of bankers and financial experts began to formulate a way to accelerate cash flow by creating instant merchant settlement (IMS). Now, a merchant can batch out and one second later, all their processing funds are in their bank account 24/7 including holidays.

Many industries will take advantage of IMS. One industry that is prime to take advantage is the collections industry. For agencies having gross remittance clients, IMS allows the agency to use their daily batch funds to fund their clients rather than front the funds. PlugNPay, established in 1996 is the oldest payment gateway in the US, prides itself as being on the cutting edge of technology. PlugNPay and its financial partners are pleased to offer IMS to the collections industry. PlugNPay can be integrated into any collection management software. It’s your money. Why wait for it.

Improving Collections with Text Communications

Leigh Ann Lindsay | VP of Client Relations at Solutions by Text

By 2020, nearly 49 million people will opt in to receive text messages from businesses. That figure has grown by 31% since 2016. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers want to use text messaging to interact with businesses. Are you communicating with your consumers the way they prefer?

Consent is the Key
When communicating with consumers, obtaining consent is key. There are laws and regulations that dictate that companies are required to obtain consent before sending a text message to a consumer. Great news is Solutions by Text has all the tools to keep you compliant every step of the way.

The World is Changing
Digital communication is becoming more prevalent with businesses. Text messaging is the most frequently used application on consumers’ smartphones today. There are more than 6 billion text messages sent in the United States every day in the United States. Three out of four consumers reported they were upset that they could not reply via text message. Twoway texting offers the opportunity to equip your representatives with a tool that will yield results.

Watching the Bottom Line
An impactful call-to-action is key to a successful campaign. Branded links, or shortened links built around a brand name, have a 39% higher click-through rate than generic URLs. Smart Click provides a unique opportunity for customers to self-serve via payment portal, text pay or website. It also has trackable shortened URLs, either via SBT’s {sclk.me} domain or via a custom domain, which allows you to see what is happening and optimize accordingly.

Solutions by Text offers a wide variety of products and services to send the perfect message at the perfect time.

Is Your Collection Software Platform “Omni-Channel Collection” Ready?

Rob Fite | VP of Business Development and Marketing at Telrock

Three out of every five existing collection platforms in use today have become a hindrance to their collection organization. The reason being, these software platforms have become outmoded, and do not provide the broad and rich set of capabilities needed for how collections operations want and need to collect today. This is especially true for collection operations that want to take an “Omni-Channel Collection” approach. In other words, collection operations that want to move to a more holistic and frictionless collection approach. One that can help them achieve a better customer experience, drive more overall collection efficiency and effectiveness, lower operational expense, while adhering to compliance requirements.

The good news is that certain modern collection software platforms coming to the forefront of the collection industry have been designed and built new, from the ground up, with modern technology, and more intelligent designs. They provide the latest capabilities needed for today’s collection environment, including omni-channel collections.

In order to properly and more fully support an omni-channel collection approach, a collection software platform must provide:

• real-time processing
• embedded digital channel messaging (1 & 2 way texting, email and chat)
• integrated self-serve consumer collection portal
• integrated multi-channel communications
• a centralized rules / strategy engine
• consent / contact tracking & management
• real-time tracking / reporting

These features and functions must be seamlessly integrated, centrally set / controlled, and perform in a highly cohesive, automated, and instantaneous manner. Only in this way can a collection software platform enable collection operations to perform collections in a holistic and friction-less communication and engagement way, otherwise known as “omni-channel collection.”

Waterfalling Data – Improving Success Rates for Right-Party Contact

Niki McKinnell | Marketing Manager at Delvepoint

Waterfalling is one of the most effective ways to find specific data needed for larger-volume placements or purchases, while minimizing costs and increasing accuracy. By starting your research with basic, most cost-efficient batches and progressively increasing queries, you ensure you’re getting the data you need at the best price point.

Waterfalling can have many pitfalls if not done correctly. Inadvertently reprocessing data within your waterfall can be costly and waste time. Be sure to keep these tips in mind as your teams waterfall data:

Scrub Your Data First
Remove duplicates, incompletes and blatantly incorrect data first. There’s no use running searches on faulty data. Be sure to do a thorough scrub before starting your waterfall.

Batch the Bulk
By uploading a CSV file to your data provider with your debtors’ names, known addresses and/or historical phone numbers, you can run a batch append. In as little as one hour* of the upload, you will receive a customized listing of additional right-party contact (RPC) information, enabling you to start making contact instantly.

Once you’ve processed the first batch, repeat the process with your no-hit records through a higher-tiered data provider until you’ve exhausted all the no-hits.

Multi-task
Some data providers allow you the option to run multiple providers in one interface, for both batch and individual searches. For example, start by running the lowest-cost persons search, then if you need more data, run the query in the next level data source within the platform.

* Standard returns are one hour. Times may vary based on provider.

AMCA Breach: The Tale of a Cyber Horror Story

Keith Barthold | CEO of DKBinnovative

In March 2019 news broke of a massive healthcare data breach – over 20 million records exposed from American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), the third-party billing collections service provider for Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp among others. This nightmare was way too close to home for collection agencies nationwide, putting the ARM industry on the map as a high value target.

• 2015 – AMCA invested over $1 Million in IT and security.
• August 2018 – System hacked.
• March 2019 – Breach first discovered.
• June 2019 – $3.8 Million in mail alone for individual notices. $400K in IT consulting to identify and stop breach source identified as their payment portal. With contracts lost and class actions lawsuits forming, 113 employees reduced to 25.
• June 6, 2019 – Bankruptcy filed after a 40 year run.

What Can We Learn?
“Won’t happen to me” and “never been a problem before” doesn’t fly. In 40 years this was AMCA’s first security incident. One crack in the wall (in this case an insecure payment portal) causes the entire castle to crumble, even with a million-dollar wall.

Can an agency survive amidst this cyber battlefield? Yes!
Protection alone is no longer an adequate cyber defense. Identify threats by performing disciplined risk management processes. Asset threat mapping is one approach. By identifying what is being protected (payment portal data) and what could go wrong (a threat like loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability) we can quantify the risk and then prioritize where to focus security investments.

Breach detection is a must-have. Does a bank only rely on locked doors? No! Motion detectors and surveillance cameras notify law enforcement immediately when doors or windows are breached. AMCA didn’t know they were being hacked for 8 months, and traditional anti-virus and firewalls will not detect a breach. SIEM and a 24x7 SOC (security operations center) identify hack attempts so actions can be taken to stop a breach and avoid this nightmare.

Identify and detect are two critical framework functions that can’t be ignored in today’s cyber-secure agency.

Applying Automation and Articial Intelligence to Credit Dispute Investigation

Joe Sage | VP of Business Development at Palinode

All agencies are so busy, management and owners are pushed in so many directions. You may have a ton of projects on the IT board to do and others to consider.

So, common decisions or thoughts are:
• Status Quo: We are very busy and we are doing alright doing things our current way, I think?
• Don’t want to spend money right now: I don’t want to spend money on things if they are working. • It’s not in the budget for this year.
• I don’t want to disrupt the department with another new process this year.
• Last time we purchased the newest, best thing it was not good for us. I’m hesitant to purchase new technology.
• I know we need to evaluate this so add it to the list or just hire another person.

Things to consider:
• When you stop investing in your business eventually you stop growing or worse.
• Waiting to the last minute sometimes is more costly for several reasons.
• Focus on revenue generators.
• Consider Automation, use artificial intelligence or machine learning only if it can outperform your manual processes at a reasonable price.
• Increase ROI by automating, using AI or machine learning for non-revenue producing/repeatable task like automating much of your e-Oscar and direct credit disputes with a software like Sonnet.

Future proof your technology:
• Utilize technology and platforms that can easily add on automation, artificial intelligence or machine learning.
• Automate to organize processes that are repeatable, nonrevenue generators that require compliance.
• Automate or utilize other technology in areas of business that human error can prove costly in fines or lawsuits, etc.
• Improve needed documentation with automation or AI.

Vet all vendors and technology before purchasing. Call unsolicited references. If it’s affordable and outperforms your current process, evaluate the ROI and update technology for the future of your business.