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Survey Reveals Consumers’ Communication and Payment Preferences For Dealing With Past-Due Debts

An overwhelming majority of individuals do not wish to be contacted about unpaid debts via phone calls, according to the results of a survey released by Intelligent Contacts.

When asked how they would prefer to be contacted about an unpaid bill, only 9% said they would prefer a phone call, compared with 43% who want to be notified via email, 41% who prefer a letter, and 7% who said they’d like to be contacted via a text message. What’s more interesting about the results is that adults over the age of 55 and individuals who are retired were among the smallest cohorts that preferred to be contacted via the phone, according to the report, which can be accessed by clicking here.

After asking how the individuals would like to be contacted about a debt, the survey then asked those people how they would like to pay that debt. Nearly half of the respondents said they would prefer to pay the debt online or through a link received in an email, followed by those who want to mail in a check, then pay via an automated phone system, such as an interactive voice response (IVR) platform, followed by paying an agent directly while on the phone, and then paying via a link received in a text message.

When asked about negotiating payment plans, most of the individuals who were surveyed said they would prefer to set up a payment plan via a collection agency’s website. Somewhat surprisingly, only 4% would admit to ignoring calls and overtures from collection agencies until they were in a better financial position and could pay the the balance.

But, interestingly enough, when asked about negotiating a settlement to pay off an unpaid debt, the most popular choice was talking to a live person.

One of the conclusions drawn by the survey is that collection agencies need to have non-confrontational means of attempting to communicate with individuals, such as letters and emails, if they are to be successful.

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