Collections agencies rely heavily on their contact center agents to maximize recovery of clients’ outstanding debt. Not only do agents need to know the right things to say to collect payment, they also have to comply with strict requirements so their efforts do not run afoul of the law.
For too long, ONLINE Information Services Inc., a collections agency that’s been around for decades, relied on out-of-date insights into how their agents were performing and struggled with post-call analytics technology that always left them a step behind and was hard to maintain. They turned to Balto’s one-of a-kind real-time technology to help improve their compliance, training, and overall contact center operations.
The Run Down
Finding qualified staff, ensuring compliance while optimizing debt collection, and maintaining a complex post-call analytics solution.
Balto’s real-time guidance, which simplified onboarding and training, and offered in-call support to improve agent effectiveness.
Improved call structure resulting in better compliance, reduced time spent making updates to playbooks and scripts, and planned expansion into sales and training.
ONLINE Information Services, Inc. helps its clients eliminate bad debt through point-of application risk assessment and bad debt recovery. With its proprietary database technology, ONLINE is one of the most sophisticated collection agencies in the nation, priding itself on delivering excellent results for the utility, property management and healthcare clients, as well as other types of delinquent debts. The key to ONLINE’s success is its call center collection team, which strives to collect outstanding money at the point of contact and resolve clients’ debt.
Balto enables our agents to sound more professional on the phone. What they were saying before we began relying on Balto would get their point across, but they weren’t using the keywords and phrases that were the hook to get people to pay. Now that we are able to provide them with more consistency in language and checklists, the call flow is better and more effective.
– Mike McCeney, Collections Manager
Finding Qualified Staff and Maintaining a Complex Call Analytics Solution
Based in Winterville, N.C. – about 80 miles east of Raleigh – ONLINE faces challenges hiring, finding and retaining qualified staff, since there are no other similar third-party agencies in the area that employ experienced collectors.
We had to increase training time for our new hires to ensure they were properly equipped to handle calls professionally and collect more without wasting too much time
– Mike McCeney, Collections Manager
The team leverages software to ensure applicants are qualified, and then once collections agents were hired and trained, ONLINE relied on a popular post-call analytics solution to help them improve their interactions with callers. But this solution wasn’t ideal because it:
- Could not offer agents guidance live in the course of calls to help them adjust tactics and make collections.
- Was overly complex, requiring ONLINE’s compliance officer, Paul Lengyel, to undergo intensive certification training and learn to code.
- Took too long to implement insights from analytics to drive improvements.
- Complicated Analytical Software
- Lack of Guidance During Calls
- Long Training Times
- Compliance Mistakes
The Balto Solution
Easy Onboarding & More Effective Calls
Frustrated with the time spent maintaining its post-call analytics solution, the ONLINE team started to explore options that would enable them to offer real-time guidance to their agents. That’s when they discovered Balto. ONLINE first deployed Balto’s real time guidance platform in its collections call center. They centralized all resources in Balto for easy access, so agents didn’t have to rummage through files to find the most up-to-date information.
I spent about two hours a day, every day managing our previous post-call analytics solution; three to four hours
a day if we were making major changes, like adjusting scorecards. Now with Balto, even these more extensive changes only takes 10 min.
– Paul Lengyel, Compliance Manager
With Balto, ONLINE is able to:
- Onboard new agents quickly because they have the information and tools in front of them as they begin making calls.
- Instill greater confidence in even the most experienced by ensuring they have the flexibility to talk more naturally while hitting the most important points, rather than robotically reading verbatim off the screen.
- Track compliance, to ensure agents verify they are speaking with the right party of contact, obtain a secondary ID, receive consent and follow other laws required during collection calls.
- Update scripts in a matter of minutes, without coding expertise or weeks-long delay.
- More Structure & Flexibility During Calls
- Better Tracking
- Improved Compliance Scores
- Greater Visibility
Greater Efficiency, Improved Compliance and Expansion into Sales and Training
With Balto, collections agents have the information they need in the moment, and data can be downloaded easily to rate the agents’ compliance scorecards. Balto was particularly helpful during COVID-19, as the company brought back furloughed collections agents, giving them:
- Online access to Balto to support them as they worked from home.
- Playbooks that got them quickly back up to speed.
- Dialogue that were quickly altered to be more empathetic as the pandemic impacted the finances of those who owed ONLINE’s clients money.
Balto not only provides the collections agents with better structure, it also gives ONLINE’s managers better visibility into performance and enables them to track progress. Thanks in part to Balto, compliance scores increased dramatically in just three months, going from an average of less than 40% to over 86%.
Now that Balto is up-and-running in the collections call center, ONLINE is in the process of implementing it in other ways:
- Sales, to support 10 sales agents with six distinct playbooks for prospecting calls and scheduling demos among key verticals.
- Training, using it in roleplay scenarios with ONLINE managers acting as customers and new agents honing their call skills through the scripting and playbooks.
Increase in compliance scoreboard averages
Reduction in weekly management time