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Aust Post - Helping To Change The Face of the Collections Industry

by Carl Jones

Significant recent and further forecast increases in the cost of postage, coupled with ever-slowing delivery times, will continue to have a profound effect on the collections industry as suppliers look to more time-efficient and cost-effective methods of communicating with debtors.

Apart from the obvious impact of increasing business costs for collection agencies that will place pressure on margins and may then lead to increases in commission costs to clients, there is also the possibility that guidelines may change resulting in the '7 day demand letter' becoming a thing of the past and letters needing to refer to 10 or 14 days to pay. This is not a desired outcome as a shorter timeframe assists create pressure and increases the likelihood of a debtor paying.

As times change, so too does the capabilities of our collections software with developers focussing on improving functionality to either SMS or email debtors direct from within the software itself (i.e. from within a debtors own particular account). The SMS technology is also crucial in getting through to debtors who deliberately avoid answering, block calls or screen the number calling them. Depending on the quality of our customer's mobile phone data, we can also undertake bulk SMS campaigns to reach 100's and 1,000's of debtors withina few seconds.

Emails obviously allow us greater reach as we avoid problems associated with mobile phones such as people not switching on international roaming, and emailing a debtor direct from within their account avoids the need for us to cut and paste from emails sent via Outlook, etc. - the same applies for emailing our Clients in relation to specific debtors. Emailing functionality within our collections software also provides us with greater flexibility to attach letters of demand (and other documents), and therefore importantly enable us to continue to demand payment from them within 7 days. Whilst knowing a debtor's physical address will always be important and you should always request it, keep in mind the ever-increasing value of your customers email and mobile phone information.