A “wave” of tech startups, such as TrueAccord, are aiming to revolutionize the collections industry by applying machine learning and algorithms to create a kinder, gentler, collection experience for individuals, according to an article that was published yesterday by WIRED magazine.
Putting aside the stereotypical descriptions of the collection agency that seem to grace any mention of the collections industry — aggressive, living nightmare, shady, sketchy, pushy collection agents — the article looks at how a different approach to collections, by using technology to create an improved user experience, has the potential to reshape how the industry has operated for more than a century.
Treat debtors more like online customers early in the process and you can save them from less-friendly players down the line.
The intention of these companies is to use data to predict patterns and see trends that humans just aren’t able to see. By analyzing payment patterns, how individuals interact with a website, how they manage payment plans, and how they respond to emails or text messages, these companies believe they can improve user experiences and do a better job of collecting down the line. Every piece of data is fed into a machine that analyzes the data to find answers about how to handle the next interaction with the customer or how to improve a similar interaction with someone else.
Venturing into an area that is highly regulated is a little out of place for technology companies, but the technology can help minimize the risk of lawsuits.
Tech companies can keep debt “out of the ‘hands of increasingly aggressive, shady, and sketchy collection agents,’ ” said one of the investors in TrueAccord. “…our research and conversations with [TrueAccord CEO] Ohad [Samet] suggested that TrueAccord wasn’t simply a ‘less evil’ product but one that at scale could help consumers settle their debts, improve their credit, and remove stress created by their previous financial decisions.”