We also enjoy reminiscing about the “good old days” of the collection industry. Do you remember?
• Green sheets housed your handwritten call notes and promise-to-pay records.
Now: Jump drives store millions of account records in a space approximately 1.5” in length by ½” width.
• Card files held typed debtor/account info. The cards became your debtor history.
Now: Host collection software is used to easily manage and coordinate business activities.
• Phone books were a common skip tracing tool. When people traveled they used to “borrow” city phone books so they could take them back to the office.
Now: The internet and numerous vendors provide skip tracers all kinds of information.
• Rotary phones were in our homes until our mid-teens.
Now: Everything seems to have a phone on it.
• Speaking to 20 debtors within 8 hours was a highly productive day.
Now: Collectors speak to 20+ debtors an hour.
Predictive dialers increase contacting productivity by as much as 300%
Broadcast Messaging (IVR Messaging/Cloud Dialing) delivers hundreds of thousands of messages an hour.
• Computers? Some thought Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were delusional when they argued that computers (specifically personal computers) were the future in technology.
Now: Every office desk has a computer.
• Call recording was managed by attaching a small microphone device to the ear piece of the telephone handset. Calls were then continuously recorded to a cassette tape. If you wanted to find one single call then you potentially listened to the entire cassette.
Now: Call recording is frequently used on every phone call. Recordings are stored on a computer disk drive. You can find a specific call with just a mouse click.
• New accounts (hospitals, grocery stores, credit card companies, etc.) required you to physically go to their office and carry out box upon box of documents about their outstanding receivables.
Now: Everything is handled electronically.
Other technology efficiency advancements include transferring calls in milliseconds; call progress advancements; dropping a message directly into voice mail; message lay-in; voice analytics, etc.
Once you take a moment to reflect upon how business was conducted just 25 years ago and compare it to today you will wonder, like we do, how did anyone collect debt? How were the debtor and account information efficiently obtained or even shared?
Perhaps in 25 years the next revolutionary technology to be adopted into our industry will be holography or more commonly known as holograms. (Think Star Trek.) Imagine beaming an image of yourself into a home and interacting with the desired party!
Twenty-five years ago very few people thought it would be physically possible for one agency to dial 500,000+ accounts in one single day. Now it is easily achieved with predictive dialing and broadcast messaging technologies. Maybe the idea of using holograms to contact debtors is not too far-fetched. What do you think?
This article was written by Randy Dave