Automation has been known to produce a great return on investment. It turns the repetitive monotonous tasks into nearly instantaneous events that require little to no intervention. The trick is to perfect the automation. This is a journey collection professionals have been on for some time. How does one recreate the consumer experience without a collection professional on the other end of the interaction?

Over the last several years, advances have been made in technology and vendors have altered products to better address the regulatory and operational obstacles collection professionals face on a daily basis. Step-by-step virtual collection technology moved closer to what consumers and collection professionals would agree is a preferable account resolution experience. Several virtual collection vendors weigh in to describe where the software capability is today.

“There have been a number of recent updates to our Virtual Agent,” said Matthew Hill, president and CEO of The InterProse Corporation. “We have added WebAR Analytics dashboards to provide in depth consumer metrics to determine when and how consumers are paying. Armed with this information the agency can construct campaigns to optimize consumer behavior. We have also added live chat capability if the consumer wishes to chat with an agent during their session.”

By working with collection professionals, vendors understand what it meant to be a compliant collector. They also increase their understanding of the collection process and what information a professional needs at his/her fingertips to make sure collection activities are running optimally.

“PayStream has been a major focus in our development efforts in the past 18 months, with over 10 software releases,” said Michelle Jeffers, VP of business development at Applied Innovation. “Compliance, customer feedback and increased agency profit potential drive development and are the main considerations in prioritizing what we do. We have added advanced algorithms to increase the highest possible payment amounts. In cases of partial payment, you can direct the consumer to create an additional arrangement to satisfy the balance in the future. Recurring payments and settlements have lockdown features preventing manipulation of the system in attempts to attain the lowest possible payment.

“The new settlement protection feature will not offer a settlement in certain circumstances if the consumer actions indicate you have the opportunity to receive payment in full. Virtual collector workflows mimic those of live collectors. Pay- Stream users have a different experience based upon ‘wizard’, configured by any combination of status code, client code, balance, etc. Agency users can now set up payment plans in the admin portal allowing for automation of recurring payment reminders – no more mailing! In addition to the virtual collector, you now have an express pay page that does not require authentication.”

Take the time to speak with your virtual collection software provider. It is in their as well as your best interests to voice your needs on the collection floor. Only through a continuing dialogue will virtual collection software surpass the level of performance collection professionals need to satisfy clients and consumers.