Just Text to Collect
Text messaging in a social context has long past epidemic proportions and is now firmly a part of the fabric of daily communication. In fact, by some measures (in terms of reach, say, through Twitter) texting is in many respects the primary form of communication for many individuals. And now text has become of major importance in the commercial world, with debt collection a key application for the text medium.
One of the major advantages text has over other forms of communication is that it is instant. One message is capable of being sent to literally thousands. The mobile device is now ubiquitous and the sender receives an instant report confirming delivery.
Utility companies have led the way in the use of the text for a range of customer communications such as:
• Statement available to view online
• Account balance
• Date for payment to be taken (direct debit)
Debt collection is a legitimate application for text messaging and research carried out by StubbsGazette Debt Collection
indicates high levels of effectiveness. StubbsGazette found that 95% of all text messages are read. In a sample text campaign some 62% responded and 18% responded within 15 minutes.
Legislation requires that debt collectors can only contact debtors between the hours of 9am and 9pm Monday to Saturday and never on a Sunday or Bank Holiday. Text messaging for the purpose of debt collection must also comply with this law.
Text messaging for debt collection gets over many of the difficulties with contacting debtors at the workplace.
“We would normally respect any individual’s request not to be contacted during working hours, particularly where the person is conforming to a payment plan,” says Merci Kinahan, Head of Collections at StubbsGazette. “It’s as impersonal as we can make it.”
Texting, however, also gets over issues related to debtors who attempt to remain elusive to efforts to collect the debt. “When we call some debtors routinely, they recognize the number and refuse the call,” says Merci. “We might regularly get a busy signal when we know the number is active. Texting also helps to confirm debtor details – frequently people might change address but might not change their mobile device. Of course some people deliberately change their mobile to avoid creditors.”
Debt collection through texting is subject to exactly the same best practice principles as regular phone and mail contact.