Collection agencies should be constantly testing their calling campaign strategies to identify trends and tweaks to help improve right-party contacts and successful connections, a panel of ARM industry technology experts agreed during a webinar yesterday, but the key is being able to identify honest-to-goodness trends from anomalies that may have an indirect impact on the results of a campaign.
That means the testing has to be rigorous, standardized, and monitored closely to make sure that the results are directly attributable to the changes that were made in the campaign, the speakers said during the webinar, which was sponsored by Arbeit Software.
While the panel advised agencies avoid knee-jerk reactions to data and that either champion/challenger tests or other experimentations should be rolled out slowly, if a campaign is performing poorly and the revenue is not coming in the door, then swift action must be taken.
“You have to move quickly if you see it affecting your bottom line,” said Robert Blair, the senior vice president of contact strategy and dialing systems at Diversified Consultants, Inc. “But you don’t want to make change just for the sake of making changes. You have to have tight controls. Looking at one day’s worth of calls is not going to do it. Look at it from all sides. Don’t rush to make a decision.”
Telephony-related items can be one of an agency’s largest expenses, which presents a lot of opportunities for wasteful spending, but also a lot of places where money can be saved. One often overlooked area where an agency can help manage its telephony costs better is by properly training collectors, said Matt Kiefer, chief officer for information, development and compliance for The Preferred Group of Tampa. Making sure that agents are not wasting time when on the phone can significantly cut the number of minutes an agency uses every month. Agents should be trained to make calls as efficient as possible, Kiefer advised, such as learning how to quickly overcome stalls and objections.
One tip shared by Blair during the webinar was that DCI has added a wrong number removal to its front-end IVR, which Blair said has improved productivity and efficiency because individuals can indicate they are not the intended party without having to speak to a collector. This frees up collectors to actually talk with the right individuals.
Telephony technology is changing and evolving every day, with new channels — text messaging, direct drop voicemails, and emails — becoming more popular. One area that could potentially save agencies a lot of money is to build apps for smartphones that can provide push notifications to individuals when a payment is due or for some other notification that would previously be handled via a phone call, said Jonathon Harbin, the chief information officer at Frost-Arnett.
Frost-Arnett is looking at developing that kind of technology, Harbin said, because sending those notifications are free.