A large storm is almost upon us but it is not the typical storm we see in the sky. This storm happens every year, will generate a flood of collections and can uncover a multitude of opportunities that can define a debt collector’s performance for the rest of the year. What is this impending storm referred to as?—Tax season.
According to IRS data, more than 70% of consumers who file taxes receive a return in excess of $2,000. With consumer refunds driving an increase in debt recovery, all call centers must focus efforts on maximizing every collection account. Is your call center prepared for the next tax season storm? Here are four ways to ensure that your call center is ready to effectively, efficiently, and compliantly manage the tax season with maximum returns.
Optimize Average Handle Time (AHT)
The average handle time for a call center is an important metric to measure the effectiveness of collections. It is imperative to not only decrease overall AHT, but to make sure that customer service does not suffer in the process. Based on our speech analytics experience, average call handle time can be improved by over 10% in less than 90 days.
To efficiently manage the high call volume through tax season, average call handle time must be analyzed objectively to identify areas for improvement such as agent availability. Root cause analyses can show why an agent might be spending large amounts of time in a conversation with one consumer versus another.
Further Train Agents on Tax Disclosures
As tax season encourages higher recovery rates, it also brings about a plethora of settlement campaigns. Many issuers and debt buyers require specific disclosures related to settlements, offers, 1099c language and many more.
To avoid unnecessary risk, further training of agents on settlement related disclosures may be required. Instill training opportunities for all agents and spend additional time with agents that have had a history of missing out on these types of disclosures.
Boost Negotiation Skills
Collections can benefit most from heightened agent negotiation skills during tax season. Establish a higher standard of negotiation by training agents with an optimum payment negotiation workflow.
To maximize positive outcome calls, employ a negotiation workflow during tax seasons that is different from that of an average conversation. This workflow must focus on the ongoing campaigns rather than the standard workflow of requesting a balance in full and the use of probing questions. Utilize agent review discussions to provide feedback on the negotiation workflow and ensure that these adjusted practices are being implemented.
Don’t Forget Customer Experience
While tax season provides the opportunity to maximize collection efforts, it should not come at the cost of consumer experience. High call volumes and hectic working hours may result in agent frustration that could impact how a customer call is managed.
Provide adequate training to agents around enhancing the customer experience during the tax season to maximize each opportunity for collections. Ensure adequate training on metrics such as politeness and empathy are provided.
Learn how Provana’s Integrated Call Analytics Platform (ICAP) utilizes advanced speech analytics technology to objectively score 100% of your interactions and can help you maximize next year’s tax season returns.