Optimising the Collections Process: Aspect Software

Author: Aspect Software

Date: 3rd March 2013

Consumer debt has ballooned to record levels, topping $11 trillion in the U.S.1 A rising number of consumers face a precarious balancing act, forced to choose between covering basic living expenses and paying down their debt. For many, this growing debt bubble is subject to burst when unforeseen circumstances, both macroeconomic and personal, alter a family’s income and savings levels. Rising fuel prices and interest rates that combine with a personal crisis like unexpected medical bills or unemployment can create a past-due spiral that triggers entry into the collections business process.

Ironically, the most affluent developed countries are among those facing the highest consumer debt. Topping the list for the greatest household debt is Britain, followed by Canada, the United States and South Korea, according to World Debt Guide published by The Economist, September 2012.

Achieving Effectiveness As Well As Efficiency

The efficiency of the collections process will always be an important goal. Metrics such as talk times, after-call work or wrap times, penetration rates, and dollars collected per hour are necessary and standard measurements to gauge business process efficiency.

Gauging the effectiveness of the collections process, on the other hand, is more difficult. Business process managers must truly understand their contact centre metrics in the context of overall business and financial goals. As the collections process evolves, more and better effectiveness measures are being brought to bear, e.g., promise-to-pay kept percentages, roll rates, cure rates, etc. Other measures of effectiveness are even harder to quantify: How is effectiveness enhanced when collectors are connected directly to customers? Can the collectors overcome objections? Can they sell debtors on paying this debt before paying other creditors? The metrics of talk times, after-call work or wrap times, or right-party contact rates may not capture these performance indicators.

Strategic management ensures that the collections process is both efficient and effective and provides the greatest chance for engaging past-due customers and improving right-party contact rates. Customer profile data can be leveraged with the right tools and technologies to enable best-time-to-call strategies, while enhancing right-party contact success and agent productivity.

Monitoring and Tuning Performance

One way to achieve strategic collections management is through real-time analysis of available information. True data analysis involves more than building new contact centre reports. It is essential to continually optimise operations by measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as right-party contact rates and promise-to-pay kept percentages by agents, lists, campaigns, and portfolios. These are true effectiveness measures that track collections success.

Creating and tracking KPIs that contain both efficiency measures, such as percentage of after-call work, as well as effectiveness measures, such as percentage of promises kept, assists contact centre managers in creating trend analysis and baselines for productivity improvements. This helps to maximise the most valuable and costly resource - contact centre staff - to enhance agent performance, improve collection, and optimise resources, which results in increased customer contact, productivity, and quality.

Performance scorecards containing efficiency and effectiveness metrics to evaluate agent, team, and overall contact centre performance ensure a meaningful impact on collections process effectiveness. A performance data warehouse that can automatically populate performance scorecards is required to measure the KPIs that drive successful collections initiatives and facilitate the management of both efficiency and effectiveness measures to optimise collections efforts and best practices.

Analysing and understanding performance trends over time improves the health of the business. This allows strategies to be adjusted in real time to tune operations as needed. Optimised operations automatically gather data from multiple sources and create an ongoing performance data warehouse with trend analysis capabilities.

Aspect Software

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