debt collection | tips 

The 4 Costs Of Unscheduled Downtime In The Debt Collection Industry

march 29, 2021 | by Emily Faracca

If you work in the debt collection industry, you might believe that phone system downtime is just “part of the cost of doing business.”

Whether you are an agent who is unable to do any part of your job, or a manager who is struggling to find ways to keep your team productive and engaged, downtime can be inconvenient – but it’s also costing you.

Downtime is not something that we take lightly, and you shouldn’t either.

Aside from the obvious time cost, there are four main costs associated with downtime that might not have crossed your mind:

1. Reputation
2. Employee Engagement
3. Opportunities
4. Data

We’ll walk through how consistent outages and downtime can lead to significant costs down the road.

1. Downtime Can Cost Your Reputation

Word travels fast in this industry.

Any negative encounter with your agency can and likely will spread like wildfire, putting you at risk for negative reviews. It can also put you at risk for a filed complaint in an official capacity.

Imagine you receive a call from an unknown number, decide to call back, and the line is dead.

You probably won’t try and make that call again – you might even block it.

In the current calling ecosystem, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to create positive associations with your phone number.

2. Downtime Can Cost You Employee Engagement and Productivity

When your agents are unable to do their jobs at work, for any amount of time, it can lead to a steep decrease in morale, even after the phones come back up.

No motivated employee wants to stare at the wall, or be forced to do busywork, and will likely start to look  for a different opportunity that can provide a stable environment for them to make money.

This brings us to the concept of Deep Work: the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. 

If you are a high performing agent who has found your flow – making calls, taking calls and negotiating payments – and all of the sudden, it comes to a grinding, unscheduled halt – your deep work flow is toast. 

Keeping your high performing agents happy is one of the best things you can do for revenue. The flipside of that can cost you big time.

3. Downtime Can Cost You Opportunities

Your phone system is the lifeline of your agency. When your phone system goes down, you could be missing inbound calls that you only had one chance to get the first time around.

And if you work in the debt collection industry, you know how critical inbound calls are.

A consumer calling in is typically a sign of a consumer willing to talk through their options, or even get started on a payment plan.

You never know what calls are coming in when downtime strikes.

4. Downtime Can Cost You Data

Even the best service provider will not be able to guarantee 100% that an unexpected outage will have no consequences to your data. This can have serious impacts to your operation, especially in debt collection.

When a good portion of your productivity and even liability depends on data, a significant loss of data due to downtime can have long lasting costs.

What Can You Do To Minimize Downtime Costs?

You may not have control over your vendor’s service outages, but there are still things you can do to prevent downtime from permanently damaging your business.

Train and Communicate With Your Agents

Create procedures and best practices for when unscheduled downtime occurs, and train your collectors regularly on what to do if and when downtime should occur.

Your agents are the ones who will be hit by downtime the hardest, so help them understand how it’s really affecting operations, and what the best course of action they can take would be.

Protect Your Data

Make sure that either you or your vendor is backing up your sensitive data – especially things like call recordings. Most software allows you to export reports at the end of the day, and some providers will store your data safely.

Talk to your vendors about the data you need kept safe and find solutions to protect it, even if downtime does occur.

Choose Your Vendors Carefully

Even the best phone system in the world will still experience unscheduled downtime. When it comes to selecting a vendor, make sure that:

  • Their support team is accessible and easy to work with
  • They are proactive about protecting your data
  • They are transparent and take accountability when downtime occurs

To talk more about how downtime is costing your business, schedule a call with us to learn more about how Arbeit is proactive about downtime and how we can help.

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