From Collector: The Rise of AI in Debt Collection

Artificial intelligence is making inroads in the accounts receivable management industry. What can AI do for your business today—and what can we expect to see in the future?

6/22/2018 1:00 PM

NewsCollector Magazine
From Collector: The Rise of AI in Debt Collection

The majority of a debt collector’s day is spent making decisions: When should I call this consumer? Is this person implying that the debt I’m calling about is not his? How should I negotiate this payment arrangement? Each of these questions requires the collector to consider multiple factors before proceeding, and the wrong move can have enormous consequences for your business.

But increasingly, accounts receivable management agencies have started implementing artificial intelligence technology that manages the most tedious tasks by thinking for the collector. AI systems are programmed to mimic human intelligence, making decisions based on established rules and carrying out tasks as a human would, Collector magazine editor Anne Rosso May reports in the June issue.

Personalize Consumer Communication

Right-party contact rates are plummeting, in part because it’s hard to pinpoint the best phone number to use to reach a consumer. AI can help solve this problem.

“AI can be used to decide on what techniques work for each situation, and to automate and create the perfect balance between human and machine thinking,” said Ranjan Dharmaraja, CEO of Quantrax, the first AI-based tech vendor in the collection space.

For example, most companies have no specific method of calling phone numbers evenly, making sure each attempt was made at a different time in the day. But when contact frequency is managed by an intelligent system based on a number of variables, including what’s been done in the past, what’s worked and what hasn’t, suddenly your communication strategy is actually a strategy.

“Our system systematically attempts every single number on an account, calling each at a specific time of a day that hasn’t been called yet, based on parameters defined by management,” said David Sopourn, president of operations at Capital Collection Service, which has used an AI-powered dialer and collection system for more than 20 years. “It always knows where it’s at for an account, so if you stop a campaign or lose power for a day, it’ll start up where it left off. It takes all the human guesswork out of it, especially the opportunity to have an agent who keeps dialing same number at 8:30 every morning because it’s the first account that pops up when they get to work.”

Free Up Agents to Focus on Specialized Issues

Debt collectors are often tied up with busywork, starting the second they get a right-party contact on the phone.

“I don’t want collectors to think about where the call should go next and who needs to see it. I want the system to drive all that,” said David Byrne, assistant vice president at United Consumers Inc., which uses an AI-powered collection system. “The less that I have to teach them about data management, the more they can focus on saying hello and resolving the account.”

That’s exactly where an AI system can step in, eliminating simple tasks that take up too much of your time. For example, each night an AI-powered collection system can crawl through every account on your system to determine the next day’s collection strategy, create dialer queues, run consolidations for accounts and automate reports—which is exactly what Sopourn loves about his system.

“Without it, we’d have to come in 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start running these processes to export them to a dialer,” he said. “Everything is defined in the system to create in our queues is ready to go with the push of a button the next day.”

Increase Your Compliance

People make mistakes. No matter how well trained your collectors are, they will eventually slip up; and when they do, your company is exposed to risk.

Teaching a collection system to work your accounts the right way eliminates the chance your directions won’t be followed. It automates all the habits of your best collectors and ensures communications are accurate and consistent.

Intelligent software can impose strict parameters on how your collectors work each account. For instance, if you want collectors to confirm three pieces of identifying information before they can see any account details, the software can lock it down until the desired information is supplied.

“You cannot expect an agent to think of all the possibilities on a call (state rules, client rules, etc.) and make quick decisions,” Dharmaraja said. “Of course, humans are smarter than machines (today), but how many agents forget to verify contact information? How many know when to read the safe harbor language?”

Read more about how collection professionals are using AI in the June issue of Collector magazine.

To provide more insight on AI in the accounts receivable management industry, ACA International is hosting a new Hot Topic Seminar, sponsored by Interactions Corporation, July 18. Gordon Beck, CEO of Diversified Consultants Inc. and Mostafa Sarim, servicing department manager at National Recoveries Inc. will lead the can’t-miss seminar “Preparing for AI and Evolving Consumer Preferences.” Registration is open now and check back to ACA Daily and acainternational.org for more updates on the seminar.

Subscriptions to the Collector magazine digital edition and email notifications for each new issue are available for ACA International members by logging in to ACA International’s website here. Members and nonmembers can also purchase a print subscription. Nonmembers can create a guest profile on ACA’s website to subscribe to available publications.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

From Collector: The Rise of AI in Debt Collection

The majority of a debt collector’s day is spent making decisions: When should I call this consumer? Is this person implying that the debt I’m calling about is not his? How should I negotiate this payment arrangement? Each of these questions requires the collector to consider multiple factors before proceeding, and the wrong move can have enormous consequences for your business.

But increasingly, accounts receivable management agencies have started implementing artificial intelligence technology that manages the most tedious tasks by thinking for the collector. AI systems are programmed to mimic human intelligence, making decisions based on established rules and carrying out tasks as a human would, Collector magazine editor Anne Rosso May reports in the June issue.

Personalize Consumer Communication

Right-party contact rates are plummeting, in part because it’s hard to pinpoint the best phone number to use to reach a consumer. AI can help solve this problem.

“AI can be used to decide on what techniques work for each situation, and to automate and create the perfect balance between human and machine thinking,” said Ranjan Dharmaraja, CEO of Quantrax, the first AI-based tech vendor in the collection space.

For example, most companies have no specific method of calling phone numbers evenly, making sure each attempt was made at a different time in the day. But when contact frequency is managed by an intelligent system based on a number of variables, including what’s been done in the past, what’s worked and what hasn’t, suddenly your communication strategy is actually a strategy.

“Our system systematically attempts every single number on an account, calling each at a specific time of a day that hasn’t been called yet, based on parameters defined by management,” said David Sopourn, president of operations at Capital Collection Service, which has used an AI-powered dialer and collection system for more than 20 years. “It always knows where it’s at for an account, so if you stop a campaign or lose power for a day, it’ll start up where it left off. It takes all the human guesswork out of it, especially the opportunity to have an agent who keeps dialing same number at 8:30 every morning because it’s the first account that pops up when they get to work.”

Free Up Agents to Focus on Specialized Issues

Debt collectors are often tied up with busywork, starting the second they get a right-party contact on the phone.

“I don’t want collectors to think about where the call should go next and who needs to see it. I want the system to drive all that,” said David Byrne, assistant vice president at United Consumers Inc., which uses an AI-powered collection system. “The less that I have to teach them about data management, the more they can focus on saying hello and resolving the account.”

That’s exactly where an AI system can step in, eliminating simple tasks that take up too much of your time. For example, each night an AI-powered collection system can crawl through every account on your system to determine the next day’s collection strategy, create dialer queues, run consolidations for accounts and automate reports—which is exactly what Sopourn loves about his system.

“Without it, we’d have to come in 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start running these processes to export them to a dialer,” he said. “Everything is defined in the system to create in our queues is ready to go with the push of a button the next day.”

Increase Your Compliance

People make mistakes. No matter how well trained your collectors are, they will eventually slip up; and when they do, your company is exposed to risk.

Teaching a collection system to work your accounts the right way eliminates the chance your directions won’t be followed. It automates all the habits of your best collectors and ensures communications are accurate and consistent.

Intelligent software can impose strict parameters on how your collectors work each account. For instance, if you want collectors to confirm three pieces of identifying information before they can see any account details, the software can lock it down until the desired information is supplied.

“You cannot expect an agent to think of all the possibilities on a call (state rules, client rules, etc.) and make quick decisions,” Dharmaraja said. “Of course, humans are smarter than machines (today), but how many agents forget to verify contact information? How many know when to read the safe harbor language?”

Read more about how collection professionals are using AI in the June issue of Collector magazine.

To provide more insight on AI in the accounts receivable management industry, ACA International is hosting a new Hot Topic Seminar, sponsored by Interactions Corporation, July 18. Gordon Beck, CEO of Diversified Consultants Inc. and Mostafa Sarim, servicing department manager at National Recoveries Inc. will lead the can’t-miss seminar “Preparing for AI and Evolving Consumer Preferences.” Registration is open now and check back to ACA Daily and acainternational.org for more updates on the seminar.

Subscriptions to the Collector magazine digital edition and email notifications for each new issue are available for ACA International members by logging in to ACA International’s website here. Members and nonmembers can also purchase a print subscription. Nonmembers can create a guest profile on ACA’s website to subscribe to available publications.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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