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, which was sponsored by Arbeit Software, a number of great ideas were discussed.
The panelists for the webinar were:
- Julie Hughes, Senior Product Manager, TrueAccord
- Christopher Repholz, Chief Growth & Customer Officer, MRS BPO
- John Viggiano, Communications & Marketing Executive, Simon’s Agency
Simon’s Agency maintains different websites for business development and its payment portal, Viggiano said. MRS, meanwhile, recently re-designed its website, turning its homepage into more of a landing page which gives visitors three options — information about making a payment, information about doing business with the company, and information about getting a job with the agency.
As well, where Simon’s uses pictures on its website, MRS chose to use illustrations instead. The pictures on Simon’s payment portal are meant to convey the idea that anyone from any demographic or age category can comfortably use the site. MRS chose illustrations instead of using stock photos as a means of trying to be more whimsical, Repholz said. TrueAccord, meanwhile, tries to have as few images as possible and prefers a cleaner, flat design, Hughes said. The differences show how collection agencies can be unique in their website design, but still accomplish the same goals.
Hughes said there are five core components that any collection website should have:
- Relevant information about who the collection agency is and how to contact them
- Information about the debt and explain to them in a way that makes sense
- A way to pay off the debt – including options to pay in full, settle, or make a payment plan
- A way to dispute the debt
In identifying that many people do not want to speak to debt collectors, MRS rolled out an online chat function on its redesigned website, and Repholz said the company has ben surprised with how many individuals are using the chat to interact with collectors. Every chat is recorded, just like the agency’s calls, and every chat goes through the same compliance and quality assurance process that calls do, Repholz said. Chatters are also presented with the option to initiate a call with the company at any point during the chat but, “that is not how the conversations are going,” Repholz said.