Phone Calls vs Emails for Debt Recovery
June 2017

Since Alex M Adamson LLP was established over 50 years ago the way people communicate has changed dramatically. From door knocks, letters and faxes to emails and text messages, advancements in technology have made it much simpler for people to communicate.

The most popular means of communication today are text messages and emails, but does this translate in to the debt collection sector? We take a look at the two most common methods of communication by debt collection agencies to see which is better for debt collection: phone calls or emailing.

The way in which we communicate here at AMA has been developed over an extended period and is the result of our extensive research and our wide experience within the industry. Although it appears that one method does not outperform another, what we can say is that using the right method at the right time in the right situation is critical for creating positive engagement.

Calling is an effective way to reach your customers. It allows for a deeper relationship to be established as people are more likely to open up during a phone call so collectors can read their situation better. This in turn lends itself to investigating any problem situations and is essential when dealing with any ‘non-routine’ circumstances. Similarly, it is easier to solve problems when having a conversation over the phone rather than emailing back-and-forth. Working together with customers to solve problems is a big component of building positive relationships with customers and providing high levels of customer service.

Having said that, email has earned its place as a highly effective method of communication within the debt collection sector. Alongside the key ability to attach documents to emails, providing greater clarity in certain circumstances almost immediately, it also has the advantage of being largely accessible from anywhere with the proliferation of 4G smartphones with cheap/free data allowances. Email communication does not require any dedicated call centre equipment and can be handled by any member of staff at almost any time. It works well for existing customers that have routine circumstances and usually pay on time. It is also ideal when communicating with international collections, when sociable contact hours don’t overlap.

Key debt collection communication tactics should always strive to find the balance of the right method at the right time & it is good practice to use more than one method of communication.

At AMA we are exceptionally well placed to take advantage of the benefits of each method to the fullest extent. Our case management system, Minerva, operates in tandem with our phone system to ensure staff only handle calls where there is actually someone to speak to and we automate a large number of emails for the purposes of providing regular account updates to clients. E-mail and phone communication are built in to the system and accessible from multiple points allowing staff to leverage whichever method best suits the specific circumstances at that time.

The array of communication options available in these modern times is something the debt collection industry should see as an asset and by fully incorporating these options in to their communication systems they can support their debt recovery processes.