An effective Collections/Recoveries team is an integral part of an overall Accounts Receivable strategy. Since collecting cash is the foremost priority for an AR department, effectively managing and measuring the efforts of the Collections/Recoveries team is a key ingredient to enhanced recovery and collections. Finding an effective telephony system that can be deployed in your financial systems stack can greatly assist in managing call center teams.
A Features List for Telephony Systems Criteria: Enhanced Recovery & Collections
System selection is one of the most important phases in the overall system lifecycle. When selecting a telephony system, a few key features need to be offered in the software solution you’re considering. Let’s review these features:
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
ACD routes calls to a specific agent or department ensuring effective customer routing. The system can be customized with parameters when mapping the call routes to specific agents/departments (e.g., by days past due, base vs. premium accounts).
Calling activity of the calling team can be monitored, broken into important KPIs and available through automated reports. Examples of relevant KPIs would be:
- # of Calls
- Abandoned Calls
- Average Talk Time
Your telephony system should have the ability to automatically record calls with the ability to review, pause and replay calls. This feature is used to assess call quality and provides the ability to audit select calls.
Customized Automated Actions
A call outcome can be programmed to trigger another action through workflows. For example, a non-response from customer might trigger an email to that customer. Workflows can be customized to suit the needs of the business.
This useful feature triggers the system after an unanswered/missed customer call. The systems will call that customer back when the agent ends the current call that they are engaged in.
Call Outcome Codes
Tagging every completed call with an “outcome code” is vital to measuring call output and outcome. (Example codes might signal “promise to pay” or “ringing no response.”) The system also summarizes the codes and produces automated reports.
API Connection to Customer Data
The customer call information/outcome should be integrated with the customer account information, so calls are tied account values. Automated reporting provides key metrics such as the dollar value of call outcomes across the portfolio, average talk time by account delinquency (e.g., days past due), and so on. The ability to judge agent efforts by account value is a key managerial tool.
IVR (Speech Recognition)
Speech recognition software allows the customer to interact with the system and be routed to the appropriate agent immediately saving the customer and the company, time and effort.
Customer Information Integration
Incoming calls from customers should immediately trigger the system to display the customer account information on the agent screen by recognizing the incoming number if it’s associated with a customer account.
Call Queues and Auto Call Answer
Incoming calls should be stacked up in a holding pattern and calls automatically routed to open agent lines. This functionality leads to fewer dropped calls while maximizing agent utility.
Call Monitoring and Barging
This feature allows a supervisor to listen to a call without the agent knowing and intervene if the need arises. The ability to resolve a potential issue in real time has immediate and long-term benefits.
Security protocols can be set in place restricting access to levels within the software environment so that managers and supervisors have access to data that is restricted for agents.
Call Predictive Dialer
The system only connects outgoing calls that are answered by a live person, reducing agents’ idle time waiting for calls to be answered or routed to voicemail.
Custom Agent Status
This is a useful tool for optimal resource allocation in a calling environment, where agent call statuses are visible to the entire team, and team members can route calls to open agents.
Voicemail by Email
If an incoming call is not answered by an agent, the customer is provided the ability to leave a voicemail that is emailed to the agent. The agent also has an additional reminder to call the customer back.
Caller ID Masking
The calling system can assume any caller ID and even be customized to assume a local area code to match the destination number when calling.
VOIP has become an industry standard as it is economical, portable and reliable especially with current high internet speeds. This is an important feature that needs to be included in the software solution.
The software solution should ideally store all its data in the cloud, where it is easily accessible, secure and backed up as opposed to housing the data locally.
Learn More About System Selection
Telephony systems are crucial to managing and measuring a Collections/Recoveries team’s efforts. This tool offers a backbone for efficiency and increasing the velocity of Cash Collection, and they lead to efficient and enhanced recovery and collections. The desired function feature set listed above should be used when undergoing the system selection process to ensure the system possesses the desired capability.
If you’re interested in exploring related processes and considerations for system selection, you can download our whitepaper: “Tips for Selecting Best-in-Class Revenue Management Software for ASC 606”
You can also learn more about our financial systems consulting by clicking below:
About the Author
Vikram possesses 17 years of experience focused in Financial Planning and Analysis across a variety of industries such as Entertainment, IT Communications, Banking, Food and Beverage, Investment Consulting, Retail, Publishing, Aircraft Distribution, and Real Estate. Vikram’s core competencies include managing finance teams and operations (Supply Chain/Inventory Management, Cost Accounting), conceptualizing and leading budgeting and forecasting processes relating to the P&L, Capital Planning, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow analysis for both mid-sized and Fortune 1000 Companies. Vikram has project managed and led several financial system implementations such as Rightsline, Anaplan, Hyperion Essbase and TM1 Cognos. Vikram attended Willamette University (Oregon) where he received his MBA specializing in Finance. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Christ College in Bangalore and a Master’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Bangalore University.