During the pandemic most States instituted special rules and directives limiting collection activities. Some were in place for a short time, others are likely to stay in place for months. For example, the US Federal Government suspended Student Loan repayments and collection efforts on defaulted loans. Many US States suspended debt collection activities. Private sector businesses also suspended their debt collection, both internally and with their collection agencies. While all of this this helps consumers who are experiencing financial challenges during these uncertain times when more than 40 million have lost wages, collection activities will eventually have to resume.
The daily job of most collectors also changed during the pandemic. States that previously required debt collectors to work from an office relaxed those rules and allowed them to work-from-home. Where office-based collections continued, social distancing changed the physical nature of many offices, or shifted the work schedules. It remains to be seen if this is a temporary shift, or the part of a long-term change for some collection staff. Collection strategies, communication of special deferral options, and other interim programs also further changed work rules.
When organizations resume and ramp-up collection activities, they will need new strategies and tools. Rather than simply returning to business-as-usual, organizations can use this as an opportunity to re-invent themselves, changing the business of collections in ways that improve customer service while simultaneously decreasing the cost of collections.
In my multi-part blog series, I will talk about several ways collection departments can re-think and re-imagine the business of collections. First, I will discuss approaches to automate customer communications, reducing costs and the need for additional staff, while improving customer service. Next, I will cover how analytics can help refine your collection strategies to maximize productivity and provide enhance the customer experience. Finally, I will examine ways to consider ramping up to what will become the new normal.