If you handle any form of debt recovery, you might have considered paying for a system that would manage customer accounts and communication. You might be weighing the pros and cons of paying for a system and whether or not all the hassle is worth it… Here are 10 things to consider when in the market for a debt recovery system.
- Legal compliance
Given the amount of exposure that topics like In Duplum (or rather, Section 103(5)) and prescription have had over the past decade, it is hard to believe that many systems in South Africa still get the calculations wrong, or don’t cater therefore at all. Among others, the National Credit Act is quite prescriptive on the capitalisation of interest and fees. Also, fee structures and limits need to be fixed. Further, consider the effects of POPiA and GDPR on collecting and storing data, and also with regard to your system as far as encryption and security is concerned.
- Multiple forms of communication
Apart from having a seamless integration into your telephony solution, any system worth its weight should have the means of drafting legal documents to be sent to customers, manually or automatic. E-mail functionality must be combined with SMS, WhatsApp and e-statement functionality. Many businesses perform these actions outside of their system with disastrous consequences. That secretary drafting summonses from her desktop? That manager sending SMS’s via an external portal? Keep in mind that the more actions performed outside your recovery system, the more unreliable your data becomes.
- Automated reminders
A great feature for any system is automated reminders. Can your system remind the customer when their payments are due, and does your system notify your agent when a payment plan breaks? Do you receive reminders when a matter is at risk of prescribing, based on your preferred warning time-frame? Reminders to your customers, agents, as well as management become more and more critical as your volumes increase.
- Bulk actions
This is another great feature – especially if you’re collecting on a large scale. It allows you to create, among others, bulk documents, email and SMS actions, allowing you to contact a larger audience in a shorter amount of time. Other bulk actions should include outsourcing to an external debt collector or correspondent, and instructing tracers. If your system can perform bulk actions, make sure it allows you to apply intuitive pacing concepts based on availability of staff.
- In-depth reporting
A definite must-have for any manager is the ability to draw a wide variety of reports on short notice. Can you monitor your agents’ performance and do you have multiple views on your data from a client, book and matter perspective? Automated exception reporting is also a must to ensure that matters don’t fall through the cracks. A good system should have a combination of robust templates as well as the ability to create your own ad hoc reports.
- Integrity of your data.
A good recovery system will protect the integrity of your data at all costs. ALL staff must be prevented from deleting information. History notes should be automated and never be allowed to be tampered with, thus ensuring credibility in any audit.
- Allow 3rd party integrations
Your recovery system should allow you to integrate into other industry related systems like payment gateway providers and predictive diallers. A good recovery system would also allow a credit provider to encrypt and outsource matters to their external collection agencies and to enable Credit Bureau searches via an integration. Without integrations, data, like call statistics, become completely unreliable.
- Ring-fencing agent access
It is critical to consider an agent’s strengths and weaknesses by adjusting or ring-fencing their access to certain clients or certain types of work. This ability needs to be agile, based on your changing environment. A good system will, among others, allow you to pair agents with customers, based on a number of criteria like the customer’s preferred language or culture.
- Strategic workflow and continuity
Your system should allow you to build comprehensive and customisable workflows to allow for multiple strategies. Different strategies should be able to run concurrently and have sufficient intelligence to prevent duplications or conflicting workflows. Historic and current data must be available to predict models for the future. Automating these workflows (or parts thereof) is a key component in moving away from manual human intervention.
- Ease of use
A decent recovery system must never have a complicated front end. Quick adoption is key.
There are a number of decent systems available in the debt recovery space, but the above checklist will be a good start when meeting with a prospective provider.
Written by Rob Rafferty, CFO at FutureSoft