Mastery of one’s tools is a vital step toward virtuosity. The following accounts receivable professionals have been selected by their peers as those who push the frontier in collection technology and set precedents as to what is possible for an accounts receivable entity. These Top Technology Leaders in Accounts Receivable reveal what you can do today that will improve your practices through technology and game changers for the industry.
What is a technology or technological practice every accounts receivable entity should implement?
Gordon C. Beck III
President & COO
Valor Intelligent Processing
At the beginning of each year, based on current trends, agency needs and available opportunity, a great practice is to task the IT Team to bring two new technology projects to the table and see them through to completion. Whether it is a replacement to an existing and aging technology or a brand new technology or both, it is vital that the technology team is always working on the “next best thing.” By requiring this of your CIO it ensures that he or she is always on the look out and ready to take on new projects.
Marc A. Carter
A direct communications line to the collection plat form provider is vital to drive systemic up grades and top line results.
Director, Information Technology
Action Collection Agencies, Inc.
Speech analytics for compliance and quality assurance.
Debt Recovery Solutions
Implementation of a scoring model to assist in and increase account receivables liquidity.
Michael T. Gardner Jr.
Credit Clearing House of America, Inc.
Develop a database of litigious¬consumers that are flagged when clients place new accounts. This¬prevents contact with consumers who are associated with the well-known plaintiff attorneys in the industry.¬
Chief Operating Officer, CISM, CISA
Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP
Data analytics. Examining data to draw conclusions, change processes and adjust to what is successful is crucial in the industry. Data analysis enables organizations to make better business decisions based on quantifiable metrics and increase collections. Relying on data analytics is as important as the actual technology you use.
Matt Kiefer, MBA
Chief Officer of Information, Compliance & Development
The Preferred Group of Tampa
A good audit mechanism, whether it is a vendor that covers multiple processes or homemade, that you can audit your processes and ensure that what you think ought to be happening is, in fact, happening. I like queries or reports that you can run again and again as in “show me accounts that should be X but are not X or are Y?” For instance: a report that shows me accounts that have a phone, are a recent placement but have never received a call but should have, is a good start.
Director of IT
Sentry Credit, Inc.
Information security is always the number one risk that everyone should be focused on. The Accounts Receivables industry is a service-based industry, and if you leak your client’s consumer information out in to the “wild,” you are not providing them very good service, are you? Maintaining the security of consumer NPI [non-public personal information] should be the prime driver of all aspects of information management controls. Consumers, clients, and regulators expect peerless data security controls and a solid focus on this area of risk in all new and ongoing operational projects and initiatives.
Senior Database Administrator
Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc.
Be open with your information. First, have a consumer and client web portal. Younger consumers prefer to interact this way. Your clients also appreciate quick responses and confirmation that the accounts are being worked and issues are being addressed. Second, generate and deliver invoices and client reports on time and regularly. Collections is a function of accounting. If an agency can’t do its own accounting quickly and correctly, should they really be handling your accounts?
Chief Risk and Security Officer
MRS BPO LLC
Diversified Consultants, Inc.
Making sure you and your staff are knowledgeable and protected from the latest security threats is where it all starts. With all of the cyber security threats out there today, one simple lack in protection will close the doors permanently, so make sure you are safe from any threats first and foremost.
Marty M. Sarim
President and CEO
Enhanced Resource Centers
There are many technologies that every company in the ARM space should deploy but it all starts with what you’re trying to accomplish, your tolerance for spending and your ability to integrate. From there you can really decide what makes the most sense for your individual business. Many ARM companies have diverse segmentations of business based on age, verticals, etc; so not all technology will impact the same.
Diana Maltese Schobel
Certified Accounts Receivable Specialists
There are many! One practice we recently implemented was direct drop voicemail. This has greatly increased our inbound calls and overall consumer contact.
Chief Information Officer
General Service Bureau and Early Out Services, Inc.
Multichannel communication strategies to engage with consumers in a compliant fashion is a critical element for successful accounts receivable entities. Through technology we can tailor communication strategies in ways that resonate in a more meaningful fashion with the consumer. Today’s consumers, across all generations, are tech savvy and with that, they demand personalized attention that dictates when and how they want to be contacted along with easy online or mobile payment options.
What is the big technological game changer¬ for the accounts receivable industry?
Gordon C. Beck III
It is going to be interesting to see what technologies are developed and become available as a result of the new CFPB rules, but until that becomes available, it is quite obvious to me that artificial intelligence is currently the biggest technological game changer for the industry. Not just using AI for the sake of using it, but actually focusing in on what it can accomplish for the agencies is paramount.¬As it stands, many agencies are spending 30% of their day with “revenue absent calls” such as removing wrong numbers, handling fraud accounts, deceased accounts and even aiding in disputes. Implementing AI to handle these types of calls from cradle to grave, subsequently giving back that 30% of time to the agents so they can handle revenue generating calls, that alone is a huge technological game changer and that is only one aspect of what AI brings to the table.
Marc A. Carter
For CBC, the game changer is Alex, our chatbot. With multi-lingual capabilities and 24/7/365 access by consumers, Alex has provided the platform for compliant communications to debtors with a minimal cost when compared to FTE [full-time employee] costs. ¬ Scott Collins Here I would say there are two. One on the regulation side and the other purely on the revenue side:
• Regulation - Cell phones and the forever-changing laws for contacting consumers on them using dialer technology.
• Revenue - Scoring accounts for propensity to pay using vendor data and your own historical data.
TCPA ruling on¬autodialing cell phones.
Michael T. Gardner Jr.
No question the big game changer in the A/R industry is the new¬upcoming CFPB rule changes. These rules will allow our industry the ability to email and text consumers, finally allowing us to communicate like we are in the 21st century. Companies need to start setting up processes and procedures¬immediately¬so they are able to take advantage of these new forms of communication when the¬regulations¬are implemented.¬
Self-service technology (online web portals, IVR, multi-channel options for customers) have had a huge impact on the industry. Simplifying the process of resolving their receivables and making it easier for consumers to settle accounts in a variety of ways achieves faster and better results.
Matt Kiefer, MBA
I think voice drop technology, specifically using VoApps, was a huge game changer. Not just for TCPA but for reaching people in general in a nonobtrusive manner. I was among the first to implement it at a former company after having learned about it when VoApps was a first-time vendor for a conference of the Florida Collectors Association. I analyzed it, read the legal whitepaper on how it works, talked to their people and implemented it. How quickly we saw the ROI!
The incorporation of voice analytics. The ability to systematically analyze all consumer calls for demeanor, regulatory risk and customer satisfaction gives us the tools we need to provide a detective control for non-compliant behavior and allows us to properly coach our staff to improve performance.
Robocallers. Legitimate agencies now have to test and make sure their phone numbers are not on suspected robocaller lists. This is a manual and tedious task at times. Due to the proliferation of robocalls, more people do not answer their phones…at all. They return calls instead. This has greatly impacted dialer strategies. STIR/SHAKEN [Secure Telephony Identity Revisited/Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs] looks promising but implementation faces many hurdles and will take more time than anyone cares to wait for.
Voice assistant technologies coupled with artificial intelligence.
Automation is key to any process! Automating your back office processes and speeding up the time to process files is allowing faster recovery times. The faster and more secure you can recover a debt, the more you will benefit in the long term. If you can secure, work and allow zero down time in all offices at a faster pace, you will out recover your competition every day.
Marty M. Sarim
Hands down artificial intelligence coming online in more user friendly and affordable ways to the average company. This has really allowed many businesses to disrupt their own work. There have been thousands of tech companies born in just the past few years that are very nimble and much more cost effective that use AI and will allow more plug and play options.¬
Diana Maltese Schobel
The technological game changer is the ability to contact our consumers using current technology such as text messaging and emailing. This would allow us to communicate with the consumers in the manner they prefer. However, until the proposed rules are finalized, we are not been able to fully implement this technology.
The biggest technological game changer is happening right now with the recent release of the CFPB’s proposed rules related to the allowed usage of modern communication technologies. The personalization of customer communications will be critical to the success of any receivables firm especially when it comes to collecting overdue accounts which are considered an intrusion if not communicated effectively. Personalized communication solutions tailored to customer preferences help in developing trust and building relationships with consumers.