Yes, it’s a Monty Python reference, and if you have never seen the
Pet shop skit please take a moment to watch it now, and give yourself a treat!
So the question remains: is the Collections industry fatally wounded by all the restrictions and regulations that lay at its door, or is it ‘just resting’? I know some organisations have suspended some collections actions and practices in response to recent
regulations, for example:
- Debt sales suspended or severely restricted for fear of not being in compliance
- Power dialler use restricted due to concerns about ringing mobile phones
- Litigation and foreclosure volumes are dramatically reduced
- Robo-signing has opened the property system to legal liability
- Skip trace activities now more strictly regulated
Is this the death knell for collections? I don’t believe so. As long as financial institutions, utilities, hospitals, telecommunications companies, and governments continue to lend money, provide services, and collect taxes, there will need to be a group
of people skilled at talking to customers and asking for the money due! I believe that there is a wave of events now taking place that the collections industry must react to in order to further evolve.
However, a deep clean is in order. Rigorous documentation control and operational transparency must underpin all actions. There must be a clear line of sight and documented paper trail of a customer and their debts, from the point they signed a contract,
to when they took on the debt or service. Next, the collector must position how they treat each customer as an individual, and understand their circumstances in order to offer appropriate solutions. The collections industry must adopt a holistic ‘customer
service’ approach and deliver debt solutions to really assist customers.
I still believe we need experts in the field of collections. I know from personal experience that this not a role all contact centre people will enjoy or excel at, but collections specialists with the right tools can be part of the customer’s ‘recovery’
back into good financial standing. Collections can be the solution if done sensitively and with the customer’s long term interests in mind.
The Collections industry is not dead; it has not gone the way of Mr. Praline's Norwegian blue parrot in this classic Monty Python skit, it is evolving. It just is having some growing pains and a low pulse while deciding how to best take the next evolutionary
step. In the meantime, we’ll continue the CPR!