January 11, 2023
Best Practices for Legitimate Debt Resolution Contact Centers
Many debt resolution contact centers offer legitimate services that help consumers get out of debt. In Q3 2022, US households had $16.51 trillion in debt. Nearly 1% of that amount was 90 days or more delinquent, putting them into a category considered “serious delinquency.”
Debt resolution organizations can offer a way to debt recovery while helping consumers avoid high fees and interest rates. Unfortunately, a few bad actors have tarnished the industry’s reputation, making it harder for helpful debt resolution contact centers to reach people who need their help.
The following best practices for legitimate debt resolution contact centers should make your organization more successful.
Compliance for Debt Collectors
All contact centers need to follow some industry and federal regulations. Debt collection agencies face higher scrutiny, so they need to comply with regulations established by Regulation F, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
According to these regulations, debt resolution and collection contact centers may not:
- Call a person more than seven times within a seven-day period.
- Try to contact alleged debtors at their places of employment.
- Threaten to sell the debt.
- Use obscene language.
- Make threats or speak in a threatening manner.
- Call people before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. (their local time).
- Retain records of your communication attempts.
- Communicate clear information about any existing debts and debt collection options.
- Itemize dates by either:
- The last payment date.
- The last statement date.
- The charge-off date (the date a creditor determines the debt uncollectible without assistance).
- The transaction date.
- The date of a court’s order.
Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to steep fines and potential prosecution.
How to Tell Whether a Debt Collector Is Legitimate
The types of services debt collectors provide can make them look predatory or illegitimate to consumers. The score of bad actors masquerading as legitimate debt collection contact centers makes it even more challenging for contact centers to connect with debtors.
Legitimate debt collection contact centers stand out from bad actors by:
- Clearly identifying themselves and their agency.
- Naming the creditor the debt comes from.
- Providing the creditor’s contact information.
- Working with consumers to reduce their debts, often through payment plans and similar options.
- Provide validation of the debt within five days of contacting a person.
Scammers often use questionable tactics that include:
- Withholding information about the debt and its origin.
- Resorting to threats.
- Trying to collect unknown debts.
- Asking for consumers’ sensitive information, such as account numbers.
- Offering gift card payments.
Best Practices for Debt Resolution Call Centers
Improving your debt resolution contact center’s strategy should make it easier for agents to reach consumers and keep them on the line. In general, people don’t trust these services, so you need to make consumers feel comfortable with discussing sensitive information that scammers would use to commit fraud.
The following best practices will help your contact centers stand out as a legitimate organization that wants to help people.
Scrub Against the Reassigned Number Database
Make sure the numbers you dial actually belong to the debtors you want to reach. You can take a big step toward improving accuracy by scrubbing your numbers against the Do Not Call list and the Reassigned Number Database.
Be Transparent About Your Call’s Intent
Transparency helps build trust with consumers. Training your agents to clearly identify:
- Themselves by name.
- Your organization’s name.
- The creditor trying to collect on the debt.
- The amount owed.
- How to contact the creditor.
The more transparency you include in a call, the less your operation looks like a bad actor trying to steal personal information.
Train Agents to Use Empathetic Conversation Skills
Pushy, aggressive call agents can seem rude or unfriendly, which encourages people to hang up. No one wants someone to talk to them like that. This behavior can also lead to consumers blocking or flagging phone numbers.
Teach your call agents empathetic conversation skills so they can sound more understanding and helpful. If they can respond with empathy, debtors are more likely to negotiate and settle debts.
Offer Realistic Solutions
People with debts don’t usually have enough money to repay the amounts. Outside of some small circumstances, most people want to repay their debts as quickly as possible. If they had the money, they would pay.
Therefore, your debt resolution call center’s agents shouldn’t expect consumers to repay their full debts. Instead, they should offer more realistic solutions. For example, call agents might recommend setting up a payment plan that works with the debtor’s budget. They might also negotiate lower settlement amounts that benefit the creditor and debtor.
Monitor Your Outbound Numbers and Redress Issues
Debt resolution contact center numbers get flagged a lot. Most people know that the industry attracts some scammers, so they tend to report numbers more often than others. Additionally, some consumers who don’t want to repay their debts might block your number to avoid future contact. Your organization will probably get flagged and blocked numbers even when you follow best practices.
Following best dialing practices will help protect your numbers from flags and blocks, but you need to keep a close eye on phone number reputations.
Start by monitoring the information your numbers display on caller ID and smartphone screens. Caller ID Reputation’s Device Cloud product gives you screenshots of real mobile devices using popular networks owned by Ting, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and other service providers. If you see inaccurate information or warnings, you can remove affected numbers until you redress the problem.
Learn more about redressing erroneous flags and warning labels here.
You can also use Caller ID Reputation to monitor your number’s historical and real-time data to avoid getting flagged. For example, a number that dials too many times per hour might get flagged by an algorithm. Managing your calling behavior can prevent phone numbers from receiving flags from analytics engines and carriers.
Protect Your Calling Reputation
Scammers have made it difficult for legitimate debt resolution contact centers to reach consumers. Transparency and the right agent training helps protect your agency from warming labels and flags. Still, you need a simple way to monitor number reputations.
Start a free five-day trial to see how Caller ID Reputation can help.