Digital-First and Consumer-First Are the New Table Stakes: Takeaways from the ACA International Convention

Consumer Friendly Debt Collection Results in Greater Recover Rates - ACA Convention 2021

One of the leadership principles Coach Dick Vermeil offered at the always terrific ACA International Convention last week was to bring energy to the workplace. Let me tell you, ACA’s three-day event was brimming with energy and engagement from more than 700 attendees.

It was great to see so many customer friends and colleagues. And honestly, it felt good to be at an in-person event again.

Here are my top 3 takeaways:

Federal OK to go digital

While we were together at the conference, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that the final rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) will take effect November 30, 2021. This means that debt collectors can now take full advantage of all the benefits of an omnichannel customer communications management (CCM) platform.

Many members are getting ready for digital, and Expresso® will help you optimize print and digital communications. In addition, Expresso can support several areas of your FDCPA compliance program under the new rules:

  • Simplify delivering communications based each consumer’s preferred delivery channels, including email, text and mail, for every type of document from statements to payment alerts and confirmations.
  • You can easily customize and update disclosures, only including those that apply to the consumer you are communicating with.
  • Retain documents for any length of time with our online archive for data and images, available 24/7.
  • Whether you migrate to the Reg F model validation notice or use your own notice, you can make content changes quickly and easily to ensure you meet disclosure requirements.
  • We build and host unique, secure APIs for clients to access their documents and leverage Expresso’s patented functionality. Clients also use the ExpressoPay® to quickly set up branded payment portals.

New models cater to consumers

New players are turning the traditional collections approach of sending letters, then following up with calls, on its head. TrueAccord leads with digital, personalizes messaging and uses behavioral analytics and machine learning to determine user tendencies and preferences. In fact, more often than not, the company never talks to anyone, providing self-service tools and making it easy for customers to make payment arrangements and come current.

This approach reminded me of our Expresso client Cedar, a health tech leader which also focuses on the consumer’s financial journey, leverages data analytics and puts the individual at the center of everything it does when handling patient billing and payments.

By catering to consumer preferences, digital channels for communication and payment can make debt collection more consumer friendly. Most importantly, they’re producing better results via higher recovery rates and consumer satisfaction ratings.

Improved performance

ACA’s new president, Kevin Baich of Day Knight & Associates in Ballwin, Missouri, has a clear vision for the future of the association and is enthusiastic about the opportunities that innovative technology brings to so many facets of collections, including productivity and recovery. We appreciated that Kevin took the time to visit with us at our booth to introduce himself and chat about the conference and the industry.

CCM technology gives collectors unmatched control and flexibility to adapt to new regulations, meet changing business conditions and consumer expectations and boost their operating efficiency and automation through digital transformation.

One of the takeaways of our own ACA Innovation Stage session Leveraging Multi-Channel Communications to Increase Collections, was that increasing customer contact success through an automated multichannel approach can result in greater recovery rates while remaining compliant with new rules.

If you didn’t make the ACA convention this year or missed our session, drop me a note and we can schedule a video call for a brief walkthrough of the presentation and demo.

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