A digital collections strategy is table stakes at this point. How can creditors ensure their digital partner has the strategy & technology they need for successful digital collections? Here are five lessons for creditors interested in avoiding common RFP mistakes and implementing a true digital collections system. Strategy and vendor management executives at creditor firms, take note.
1. Understanding omnichannel
When approaching an RFP, it’s important to understand what an omnichannel strategy really is and how it differs from, for example, a multi-channel strategy. A really important concept here is seamlessness, says Michael Orefice, Business & IT Practice Leader at Bridgeforce.
Creditors should be asking potential partners about point-in-time capabilities and understand that “a [good] strategy combines all of those capabilities so that you can work seamlessly across them,” Orefice argues.
An omnichannel solution, by definition, requires all of your tools to exist in one environment. All of the channels you have available for customers are talking to each other, and reacting to the same data.
2. Crawl, walk, run
No one is denying that digital is the way of the future. "The question becomes: at what speed, scale, and pace?” says Ray Peloso, President & CEO of Katabat. It’s key for your organization to understand their capabilities based on staff, risk appetite, and need before implementing a digital strategy, or partnering with an agency that uses one.
Creditors should take a phased approach to using a digital strategy informed by an honest assessment of those capabilities, Peloso adds.
3. Flexibility is key
Especially as Reg F rolls out, creditors should be looking for flexibility in a digital strategy, according to Chris Repholz, Chief Business Officer, The CCS Companies.
“Is [the solution] really something that is flexible and that can grow with [the creditors] needs?” Anyone can say they send texts or emails, but what does that really mean? Creditors need to be prepared to ask," Repholz says.
4. Traditional RFP questions can be adapted to digital
Creditors should be asking all of the same traditional RFP questions, but with a digital spin, says Peter Lyons, Senior VP, Firstsource.
Creditors should be looking for “security, compliance, complaints management...but how do those same questions transfer now to digital?”
For example: how do you ensure website security, email security, and compliance with unsubscribe requests.
5. Prepare for staffing impacts
What is the impact of a digital strategy on how companies staff teams? Shantanu Gangal, Founder, Prodigal, points to one important example: the relative speeds of different communication channels.
Some digital channels, like emails, chat, or SMS, are generally slower than talking on the phone and that is going to impact productivity, he notes. Creditors should ask about concurrency in digital channels, and how that affects staffing and ACR, he advises.
Some insight from this article came originally from iA Strategy & Tech’s recent, three part webinar series: How to Build a Digital RFP and Measure Success of a Digital Strategy. For more on planning for a successful digital RFPs, register for How to Build a Digital RFP and Measure Success of a Digital Strategy Part 3 - Measuring Success, a compact webinar and Q&A, Wednesday, November 3 at 2pm ET.
Erin Kerr is the Director of Content for iA Strategy & Tech - a digital resource for collections strategy executives - and the Executive Director of the iA Innovation Council. She is a seasoned receivables management professional, with recent experience in digital strategy and a passion for crafting digital solutions for a better customer experience.