Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Third Party Collections – you can’t build castles on quicksand

There is a wide array of somewhat tacky quotes about building on solid foundations and chains being only as strong as their weakest link. I won’t bore you by quoting these, but I would like to outline their relevance in managing third party collections activity.

Analytics, data and insight are like 21st century modern buildings: exploring new innovative ways of utilising the above techniques to align collections strategies with customers’ needs, hence improving customer experience whilst driving performance. As with these extravagant new buildings, the importance of sound foundations which underpin the overall solution is often overlooked. The same can be seen in the collections industry where underlying technology is a key enabler of innovative activity, for example:

Do systems allow for the seamless integration of external data into third party collections activity?
Can a segmented approach be deployed to ensure that the right debt is supplied to the right supplier?
Does the introduction of a segmented approach cause fundamental challenges around areas such as account and invoice level reconciliation?

Ensuring that all elements of a process are working effectively is the key to success in any field. As an example, the best quarterback in the world will be ineffective without the necessary levels of protection from his offensive line. Once again, the same is true within an external collections strategy which, even with the most sophisticated strategy with superior suppliers, will be totally ineffective if;

You cannot be 100% confident in the exact location of all accounts, and hence accounts are falling into black-holes and being un-worked
You are not responding to queries in a timely and effective manner
Accounts are not closed and recycled to latter stage placements in an effective and timely manner

As with engineers designing and building new structures from the foundations up, we see that the deployment of effective technology and processes is the key to building and developing an effective external collections strategy, without this buildings (and processes) quickly come tumbling down!

By John Telford, CEO - North America, TDX Group

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