February 24, 2010

The changing landscape of collections

If you are reading this and thinking that the cell phone in your pocket is the most cutting edge method you have of communicating with the outside world, then you are likely not under the age of 30. Thousands of books and articles have been written on the way communications have changed in the last 10 years, but now, even the speed of change is increasing. It has recently been reported that 40% of customers in the United States do not have a land line phone. However the cell phone is not the revolution, the cell phone was the revolution at the end of the 20th century. A decade into the 21st century the cell phone has become absolutely common. The meteoric rise of text messaging in the last ten years has been yet another shift in communications. However, with the advent of social networking style communication we need to brace ourselves for yet another shift. With the recent introduction of the I-Pad and the more common Net Books we are set for even more changes.

30 year olds are not only communicating differently, they seem to be at an ever increasing risk of becoming delinquent in paying their bills. For example, it has recently been reported by insideARM.com that 30% of 19 to 30 year olds are not covered by health insurance. It seems that for the most part they are not able to afford coverage and coupled with increased difficulty in receiving credit they are likely to end up past due.

How then does a collection agency communicate with an individual with no landline phone, who is extremely transitory, and with real unemployment in this country near 17%? The struggle is obvious and requires a shift in skip tracing procedures, focusing on varying contact strategies, and introducing new technology.

Skip tracing becomes ever more difficult and requires an agency to constantly search for new partners with innovative products. Checknet has recently introduced a product that not only returns relevant data, but also waits for new information and automatically forwards it on. The product allows an agency to constantly search for new information on individuals who are constantly on the move. Getting a number to contact an individual is only half the battle, the other half is monitoring when we attempt to contact an individual and constantly vary that time to ensure contractibility. Finally, this shift requires an agency to explore new technology and yet maintain our adherence to state and federal law. Checknet is constantly striving to remain on the cutting edge of communication tools. Especially as the legal landscape levels out; Checknet will be introducing new and better ways to reach debtors.

Like everything collections is always changing. Remaining at the forefront of cultural changes will allow Checknet to continue to capitalize on those changes and continually serve our customers.

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