Many patterns repeat themselves in the debt collection process, so there are also numerous ways to automate collections. These seven automation tools can save time, improve accuracy, reduce injuries, and boost your firm’s collection efforts.
- Keyboard Shortcuts
There are an amazing number of keyboard shortcuts that can speed up actions frequently repeated by debt collectors. For example, Ctrl+Tab moves users to the next open tab in most browsers. Keyboard shortcuts are easy to find on the web, and employees can start using them quickly. There are no costs or new programs to install.
- Key Recording and Replay Software
Debt collection often requires transferring information from one database to another, which can cause repetitive stress injuries and slow down the workflow. Fortunately, there are programs that allow users to record and playback keyboard shortcuts and even mouse actions without requiring any programming. AutoHotkey is one of the best, and it is free.
- Enhanced File Managers
Collectors need to copy and transfer more files than ordinary users, so enhanced file managers can increase productivity. Built-in file managers have become weaker over the years, but today’s best programs add new features like bookmarks and tabs to old favorites such as dual-panels, integrated file viewers, support for compressed files, and FTP. FreeCommander is a good free option with support for many languages.
- PDF, OCR, and File Conversion Software
While paper documents are in decline in the collections business, data is increasingly trapped in online databases. Sometimes, it can be exported to CSV or other text files. Even when collections data cannot be exported to files, it is almost always possible to print it to PDF. Dedicated PDF software allows users to print to PDF and then convert the file to Microsoft Excel with the table structure intact. Adobe Acrobat is the original PDF program, but other programs are less expensive.
- VOIP: Voice Over IP for Business
Debt collectors can benefit from local or specialized VOIP solutions as well as better known choices like Microsoft’s Skype. Calling over the Internet has been around for some time now, but options continue to evolve quickly. Besides reduced costs, collectors benefit considerably from the ability to make calls directly from the computer. VOIP also makes it easier to route calls and offer local callback numbers.
- Dedicated Debt Collection Software
The main reason why collectors have to perform so many repetitious tasks is that most programs were not designed for collectors, which makes dedicated debt collection software very effective. Collections software integrates many functions directly into the software so that collectors can call or send messages without having to copy information to another program. Debt collection software also allows all notes, debits, and credits to be recorded in one place.
- Customized Collection Solutions
Customized solutions are usually the best way for collectors to access older data sets and proprietary online databases that even dedicated collection software cannot reach. For larger projects, using outside programmers from a firm such as Relational is frequently the most effective option. We can usually transfer all the old data to a new system for you. In some cases, we can also use APIs to directly access online information and save it on your firm’s computers.
Regardless of which tools you use, automation is a major development in debt collection. Automation tools reduce repetitive manual data entry, which gives collectors more time to settle debts and improve your firm’s bottom line.