The influence of technology on the quality of customer service in field debt collection
Nowadays, specialised IT systems prove to be an invaluable aid in almost every industry. It is no different when it comes to carrying out the duties of a field debt collector. Debt collection companies frequently face the question of how to streamline the management processes in their company. At the same time, they are looking for solutions that will not generate huge costs, but will effectively improve the quality of work. In this article, we outline the responsibilities of a debt collector, as well as the benefits of choosing to use our application at work.
Who is a field debt collector?
Most people, due to stereotypes, associate the duties performed by a debt collector with debt enforcement and an unpleasant atmosphere. In reality, the role of a field debt collector is to reach a settlement with the debtor, as a result of which he or she will pay off the financial obligations incurred. They serve as a public official, acting on the basis of a power of attorney granted to them by the creditor.
Contrary to appearances, practising this profession is not at all easy and it requires special competences from the person performing the role of a debt collector. A field debt collector should remain in constant contact with the client, and it is obvious that not every debtor will strive for an amicable settlement of the matter. In such cases, resistance to stress, communication skills, patience, but also firmness and flawless negotiation abilities are invaluable. A person with such character traits undoubtedly has an excellent aptitude for this profession.
The scope of action for a field debt collector: legal and ethical issues
As already mentioned, a debt collector does not deal with debt enforcement. What, then, are their duties? Looking at the legal issues, it is clear that, in fact, the list of restrictions is much longer than what a debt collector is allowed to do when carrying out their duties. Under no circumstances may they enter the debtor’s home without their consent, seize part of their income, conduct an eviction or collect any fees. Otherwise, they risk receiving a complaint from the client. In addition to negotiating, a debt collector may only investigate the situation on the ground, hand-deliver a pre-litigation request for payment or agree terms of payment with the debtor. A collector is obliged to inform the debtor of the penalties and sanctions for ignoring payment requests.
Debt collection companies, apart from visiting the debtor in person, very often decide to contact the debtor by telephone, however, there are legal guidelines for making such calls. They can only take place at certain times, only on weekdays (which is related to a certain ethics – the debtor cannot be harassed by phone calls at any time). A debt collection company is not allowed to contact outsiders about the debt in question without the debtor’s consent. These and other rules are set out in the Good Practice Principles in Polish law.
Electronic management systems for field debt collection
Constant contact with the client is crucial in the work of a debt collector. However, it is worth noting that companies often serve numerous customers, both corporate and smaller. This is why companies choose to digitalise their management processes. By purchasing systems that allow the collection of complete information from the visits carried out in a consistent and structured manner, the work of field debt collectors becomes much easier. Data security is also a priority, which proves to be a daunting task when work takes place not only at the company’s headquarters, but also in the field. Specialised applications are an integral part of the management process, and VSoft Mobile Workforce can be perfectly integrated with the debt collection system.
Mariusz Główczyński, Deputy Director of the Debt Collection Department at Kaczmarski Inkasso, which applies the VSoft Mobile Workforce, emphasises: “The introduction of modern technological solutions directly into the first line of contact with the debtor influences the perception of the whole process and, consequently, of the field worker, as more professional.”. This is primarily because, thanks to the use of technology, both field negotiators and office staff have the most up-to-date information concerning their cases. Mariusz Główczyński recaps: “By introducing modern technology, we gain time and build and strengthen our company’s professional image. These are precious values in business.”
How can a mobile app facilitate a debt collector’s work?
How mobile apps facilitate the work of the debt collector is a broad question. For example, informing the debtor of a visit can be done via SMS templates, and route optimisation, which supports the creation of realistic visit schedules, will be invaluable in ensuring punctuality. The applications can facilitate the creation of reports containing a predetermined, detailed list of questions to be asked of the debtor by the debt collector during the visit in order for it to proceed professionally and according to plan. The system also makes it possible to record a declaration of payment and divide it into appropriate instalments.
All this is made possible by the VSoft Mobile Workforce platform, and its effectiveness is readily confirmed by Mr Mariusz Główczyński of Kaczmarski Inkasso. “ The app is used by 50 mobile employees who perform on average 3500 visits per month. We have thus increased their efficiency by 26%. Thanks to route optimization, we complete 10% more customer visits per month”.
There are far more advantages of using VSoft Mobile Workforce. Field workers appreciate time saving, especially in terms of easy preparation of reports, as the application offers a convenient tool for collecting data and attaching files in the form of ready-made templates. Moreover, it is intuitive and works offline.
Implementing an optimised, flexible system for a debt collection company, improves the quality of the company’s operations, streamlines work and allows for significantly more tasks to be completed.