How Collection Agencies Can Leverage Speech Analytics

How Collection Agencies Can Leverage Speech Analytics

Debt collection touches every business, big and small. It’s an all-encompassing term that reaches across sectors and business stability. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in the first quarter of 2024, US household debt, including mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and car loans, reached US $17.69 trillion. Mortgages accounted for the most significant portion of that number, at US $12.44 trillion.  

Debt is part of life, and so are collections, so it’s vital to take every advantage of technology to help recoup some of the losses. Speech analytics help detect the subtlest of tone and word usage to help collection agencies pinpoint the likely folks to pay the debt back.   

Understanding the Collection Process 

Due to the rigorous nature of collecting debt and the regulations surrounding it, debt collection follows very strict scripts when talking with customers and policies around contacting debtors. The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act) is the primary regulation surrounding debt collection, which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect debts. With such clear standards as to what will and won’t be allowed, having a speech analytics platform that monitors all aspects of communication is invaluable. 

The Power of Speech Analytics 

Speech analytics puts the decision-making power in the hands of the debt collection agency. Based on reactions to emails, chats, or phone calls, the agents can narrow down the likely agreeable customers and focus on them. That edge can be the difference between concentrating that valuable time in the right areas or not. The goal is to get traction with the customer before it becomes a lawsuit. According to Pew Research, the percentage of civil lawsuits associated with debt has risen to 42 percent.  

Customer Sentiment 

The beauty of speech analytics during a live call, for example, is when the software starts to detect various tones and speech patterns from a customer, which then tells the agent to begin redirecting the conversation at that moment. It’s not about avoiding challenging situations—let’s be honest, they are all tough in collection—but it’s about making the discussion as productive as possible. 

Compliance Guardian 

Making sure your organization and agents are staying within the regulations is critical. You are to do right by all parties involved, and setting the speech analytics software to the parameters needed to keep on the right side of the regulations will make everyone’s jobs much more manageable. A FDCPA violation can be up to a $1,000 fine per plaintiff. On its face, this might not seem like a ton of money, but if non-compliance is rampant, that money can rapidly increase. If you decide not to do your part, you open yourself up for litigation. 

Agent Performance 

The old adage of quantity over quality may have worked well in the past, but that shouldn’t be the default. With the technological power behind speech analytics, you can have both quantity and quality. By digging into the data around each customer and interaction, you can devote your agents to their strengths to get the most out of each interaction. The data will give you actionable insights into both the success rate of the agent and the success rate of the scripts being used, making changes easier and faster to spot when needed. 

Data-Driven Insights 

Don’t leave anything up to chance. You have mountains of data, so use them accordingly. With speech analytics, gone are the generic or feel-good assumptions made on anecdotal evidence from surveys or questionnaires. You get reports and dashboards dedicated to every interaction and result. You get to see the hard facts and can adjust accordingly. 

Identifying Repayment Outcomes 

The opportunities for repayment fall into two camps: promise-to-pay and refusal-to-pay. Of course, there are a ton of different variables, but these two outcomes are all that you need to be concerned with because, as you know, getting the most paid back as possible is key. Speech analysis is crucial in determining where to spend the agency’s time and resources for the most benefit to the firm. 

  • Promise-to-pay: This is when customers positively respond to collections notices, and the tone and phrasing indicate the willingness to pay. These interactions can then be followed up on and handled according to the desire to pay.  
  • Refusal-to-pay: Language and effort surrounding dodging the interactions will force the analytics software to flag and change the tactic used with these specific customers. 

Detecting Abusive Language 

There is no way around it, but being in the debt collection business is stressful, and emotions can run high. It truly doesn’t matter how immune you think you are; there are times and moments when the tension will rise. It is crucial to use speech analytics software to put safeguards into your business that allow for alerts and teaching moments to be cataloged. 

This goes back to the compliance concerns mentioned earlier for the FDCPA. Language can be considered abusive, so you need to have practices in place so that if an agent starts to get heated, the system can alert the agent and make a note for a supervisor to look into later.  

A Successful Collection Agency Needs Powerful Speech Analytics 

The debt collection business is not for the faint of heart, and the tools you need to run it successfully need to be top-notch. Here at Vaspian, we care immensely about providing the very best in business communication. We specialize in a host of technologies suited for collections and call centers. Contact us today to bring your organization to the top of the collection industry. 

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