Virtual Collection Agent (VCA) initiates new approach to collections; Launch Partner ERC drives agent productivity and revenue recovery
FRANKLIN, Mass.—July 22, 2020—Interactions, LLC, the world’s largest stand-alone artificial intelligence (AI) company, today announced its expansion into Accounts Receivable Management (ARM), with the launch of a new product, Virtual Collection Agent (VCA). The company also unveiled the product’s early success with ERC, a top international business process outsourcing company (BPO), where it dramatically improved efficiency and profitability.
2020 brought the ARM industry to an inflection point. Consumer debt has risen to record-breaking heights, reaching over $14 trillion. Challenging economic conditions due to COVID-19 have led to skyrocketing call volume at collections agencies and subsequent agent burnout. Agent productivity and streamlined customer experiences are the lifeblood of collections, and with both agents and customers heavily strained, the need for digital transformation has become paramount.
“In an industry where contact center agents churn 50 to 100% YoY, there’s a big need to transform what those roles look like. Effective conversational AI offers a compelling solution,” said Mike Iacobucci, CEO, Interactions. “The need for security, flexibility and compliance in collections has, to date, made digital transformation a challenging process. Each call involves personal financial information and requires compassion and understanding to negotiate debt recovery plans that work for each customer. With 16 years experience creating effortless, human-centered conversational AI solutions, we knew our technology was well equipped to modernize the sensitive and important process of collecting payments.”
In addition to driving operational efficiency for businesses, Interactions VCA brings significant benefits to customers. Recent studies have shown that one in four U.S. consumers prefer interacting with a virtual agent when dealing with uncomfortable financial information, and 70 percent report being okay with bypassing a human agent when discussing personal finances. This reality is especially important in the collections space where financial issues are the crux of every conversation.
At ERC, agents were spending valuable time fielding calls that should have been automated. In partnership with Interactions, the companies took action to implement a Virtual Collection Agent, named EVA, to increase both agent productivity and revenue recovery. Since deploying EVA, ERC has seen:
- 60% reduction in wrong numbers handled by agents
- 27% reduction in inbound calls directed to agents
- 30% increase in the probability of speaking with a right party
“Keeping pace with emerging technologies that help streamline the customer experience has always been a top priority. Over the past few years—and particularly in this pandemic—we recognized that automation was no longer a “nice to have” in our industry, it was a requirement for addressing demand,” said Marty Sarim, CEO, ERC. “The response we’ve seen from both our customers and live agents has been encouraging, and the efficiencies we’ve been able to build into our business has put us in an extremely competitive position.”
Powered by Interactions industry-leading conversational AI, VCA offers a variety of unique benefits to ARM agencies:
- Conversational CX At Scale: Equipped with Interactions’ proprietary Adaptive Understanding™ technology, VCA blends the best of conversational AI with real-time human intelligence to understand even complex alphanumeric phrases with human levels of accuracy.
- Increased Agent Productivity: VCA takes over data-driven, transactional interactions, such as efficiently handling wrong party contacts, that can inundate agents with non-revenue generating calls. As a result, VCA helps increase agent productivity and reduce churn.
- Automated Negotiation: With a first-of-its-kind customizable negotiation engine that can personalize payment plans in real time, VCA automates the debt collection process from end-to-end while keeping consistent with business rules regarding payment arrangements and negotiations.
- Seamless Integrations: VCA comes with standardized integrations with key systems such as Outbound Dialers, CRM systems, Payment Processors and other knowledge bases, allowing it to utilize and reference relevant data when talking with customers.
- Compliance Adherence: Every interaction with VCA is structured to follow defined dialogue flows and adhere to complex compliance regulations and processes.
- Business Continuity: VCA operates in a highly secure, scalable and proven cloud-based infrastructure, with the ability to maintain business continuity and operations in any circumstance.
The ARM industry joins an impressive roster of verticals seeing meaningful results from Interactions’ conversational AI, including communications, retail, and insurance. Following the launch of the Guest Experience Platform (GXP) for food services in 2019, VCA is the second Intelligent Virtual Assistant purpose-built for the unique needs of a specific industry.
To learn more about how ERC improved operational efficiency and profitability with EVA, see here. For more information about the opportunity for conversational AI in collections, see here.