A Practical Guide To Maximizing Results with Your Automated Collections Dialer

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1 A Practical Guide To Maximizing Results with Your Automated Collections Dialer 1 P age

2 Traditional dialing methods have been used for decades as a means to collect debt. These traditional methods, while marginally effective, have certain limitations which can significantly affect the end results. One of the biggest hurdles that manual dialing presents is low level of productivity on the part of the person doing the dialing. Consider the fact that it can take upwards of 20 dials to actually reach the intended party on the phone. The low rate of contact associated with manually dialing one number at a time results in a substantial amount of time spent dialing unproductively, which often involves unanswered calls, wrong numbers, busy signals and answering machines. So while agents are certainly productive when they re speaking to debtors, actually getting a live person on the phone is a challenge, thereby reducing the level of efficiency and productivity. Simply put, low productivity translates directly to reduced profits. Automated collections dialers present a solution to this very real and very costly problem. By placing multiple calls in tandem and delivering only legitimate, answered calls to agents, a collections dialer can drastically improve debt collector productivity. Instead of averaging a low manual dial rate of 5 to 15 minutes per hour spent speaking with live persons, with a collections dialer you can increase this to 45 to 55 minutes each hour. From low to high, that represents an improvement of up to 1000%! Getting the Best Results All statistics aside, simply employing the use of a collections dialer doesn t necessarily mean you ll be realizing the best possible results. There are a number of methods and techniques through which you can optimize your collections dialer to ensure you re getting the most out of it. This guide is designed to highlight specific strategies for the effective use of automated dialing in the debt collection process. 2 P age

3 Inbound/Outbound Collaboration In terms of effectiveness, a common question that often arises is whether collectors should be dedicated exclusively to outbound calling or if strategically combining these outbound dials with incoming calls produces better results. The fact is this collaboration can be extremely effective when done properly. The key to doing so successfully is employing a collections dialer that can dynamically adjust volume based on the incoming call volume. This essentially provides a balance of all three collection methods inbound, manual outbound and automated dialing. Those in the debt collections industry recognize the high value of inbound calls, since they essentially involve the debtor reaching out to the collector, creating a guaranteed speaking opportunity. As such, handling inbound calls effectively is critical. So who should be handling these important calls? Should you designate your top collectors to answer all inbound calls? If yes, then how many? Furthermore, what happens to the productivity of these top collectors when the inbound load is heavy, or conversely when the inbound volume is light? The answer to these complicated questions is often more questions and without specific, effective answers productivity will ultimately suffer. Inbound/outbound collaboration provides the ideal solution. When calls are properly blended the collections operation can make the most out of all of its valuable resources. Collaboration allows top collectors to aggressively tackle outbound calls when inbound call volume is low and to shift back toward inbound calls when that volume increases by automatically slowing down the collections dialer. By dynamically routing inbound calls to the most successful collectors, the end result will be greater. 3 P age

4 Optimizing Call Volumes There are only so many hours in the day, and only a select number of those hours can be used to collect debt. Collections operations place hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of calls each day, only a marginal percentage of which will result in speaking to a live person. An even smaller percentage of these people will be the right party. To achieve the highest level of successful collection, optimizing call volumes to right parties is essential. In terms of debt collection, call volume refers to the list of accounts and/or numbers that are dialed in order to collect a debt. There are a number of different methodologies that are regularly employed to optimize collection call volumes. For instance, some collections operations focus on contacting those debtors who owe the largest balances. Each debtor is ranked in terms of collectability, or the ability to actually collect the debt that is owed, and contactability, or the likelihood of contacting said debtor at a given phone number after a specified number of attempts. This scoring and the subsequent sorting of call lists so that the optimal contacts are at the top of the dialing list can be very effective in maximizing collections. Where the collectability/contactability method falls short, however, lies in the fact that simply getting a debtor on the phone is only half the battle, so to speak. The overall skill and ability of the collector to actually achieve a promise to pay is just as important. The goal is to be able to call the right person at the right time and have the highest skilled collectors ready to take action at that moment. Skills- based routing, another call volume optimization technique, allows the collections operations to assign certain skills and proficiencies to each agent, and subsequently associate specific skill requirements to outbound calls. Unfortunately even this method has its downfalls. For instance, what if those collectors deemed to be the most skilled are simply not available? Here s where a collections dialer can help. Because collections dialers are not only automated, but also dynamic, they can strategically match the basic or minimum skill requirement on a given account with those collectors who are available at that moment. 4 P age

5 Productive Dialing Effective Tips, Tricks and Strategies Every successful collections operation has them their little bag of tricks of well- guarded secrets to getting the most out of every dial. Yet surprisingly there are a number of highly effective methods and strategies that are readily available and somehow not widely utilized across the industry, many of which can be optimized with the use of a collections dialer. Some of these innovative approaches include: Leaving messages without wasting valuable time - In the age of advanced telephone technology, it s quite common for collectors to be faced with having to leave a message, whether voice or pre- recorded, in an attempt to encourage the debtor to call back. Leaving messages can cost an agent valuable time that could be better spent dialing their next account. With a collections dialer agents can transfer answering machine calls to the automated system which will then leave the message, freeing the collector up to focus on the next call. Using local caller ID Studies have shown that people are much more likely to answer incoming calls when they are from their own area code. A savvy collections operation can capitalize on this by reserving numbers that begin with major area codes and then using these numbers to place their outbound collection calls to debtors who live in these areas. These local calls can then be integrated seamlessly into the queue of calls to be handled. Some operations have claimed that this practice alone has improved their rate of connection by as much as 30%. Streamlining no answer timeouts Collections dialers allow firms to specify the amount of time a phone is allowed to ring before the call is determined to be a no answer. The typical formula in North America takes into account that each phone ring lasts approximately six seconds and that answering machines are typically set to pick up after the fourth ring. This results in a no answer timeout range of 21 to 25 seconds (6 seconds per ring x 4 rings). The goal is to allow enough time for a live party to answer, but avoid triggering the answering machine, which can incur additional fees and waste valuable time. This allows agents to spend their time more efficiently handling live calls thereby improving productivity and collections success. Changing outbound phone number order - One of the nicest and most effective features of automated collections dialers is the ability to dynamically change the order of phone numbers to be dialed. For instance, systems can be programmed so that the debtor s place of employment (POE) is dialed during regular working hours, and their home and/or mobile number (if allowed) dialed during evening or after work hours. These time- based rules allow collections operations to optimize their chances of reaching the debtor and speaking with them live. These campaigns can also easily be modified to change the numbers dialed and the order in which they are called at any time. 5 P age

6 Leveraging Inbound/Outbound IVR Features Inbound interactive voice response, or inbound IVR, provides debtors the opportunity to dial in to a toll- free, automated system to make payment promises. This method is often effective with debtors who for whatever reason couldn t be contacted via outbound call and who prefer to work with an automated system after hours. Often debtors feel more comfortable dealing with an IVR than a live agent, so leveraging this feature can have a significant, positive impact on the debt collections process. Outbound IVR involves dialing out to debtors and playing a recorded message to any live person who answers the phone. These messages typically allow non- debtors to opt out of hearing the message and provide right parties with the opportunity to be connected to a live agent to discuss their debt and make payment arrangements. Both methods have been proven to be highly effective, automated methods that improve agent efficiency. Take Advantage of Texting and SMS Debt collectors across the globe are realizing the value of using text messaging, or short messaging service (SMS) as a tool for contacting debtors. With U.S. consumers sending nearly 80 billion text messages each month, this method of contact is fast becoming one of the most successful way to reach someone. The goal, of course, is to achieve consistent response rates. Text messaging is particularly effective for receiving payment promises in the same way that inbound IVR is - it allows for debtors to make contact without having to speak to a live agent, which many prefer. When combined with a multi- channel collections strategy, text messaging can be an excellent component of the overall debt collections process. Conclusion The fact remains that telephone contact is still considered to be the most effective method of successful debt collection. It only stands to reason, therefore, that by providing live agents with the tools and features of an automated collections dialer and maximizing this system by applying proven efficiency strategies, the collections process will be further enhanced to achieve the best possible results. 6 P age

7 What s the Next Step? While there are certainly a number of critical components to a successful collections operation, perhaps none is as important as agent productivity. Being able to reach right parties at the right time and successfully gain payment promises will produce the results you need to improve your bottom line. DCDIAL s Collections Dialer is a simple, flexible dialer that enables you to dramatically increase your contact rate with debtors, and significantly improves your agents productivity without the limitations of hardware licenses and telephony infrastructure. DCDIAL s highly effective collections dialer will automatically leave answering machine messages so your agents can maximize their time speaking with debtors and focus on getting results. DCDIAL will also automatically weed out busy and invalid phone numbers, and automatically detect answering machines. Collections Dialer from DCDIAL gives your agents the luxury of focusing on speaking with live customers, and dramatically increases your call center efficiency. Achieve effective inbound/outbound collaboration, optimize call volumes, and leverage all of the innovative technological advancements that are available to your agency with one easy to use system DCDIAL s Collections Dialer. To learn more about this and other solutions for the collections industry, visit us at or us at 7 P age

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