When it comes to debt collection, a key objective is to collect money that is owed by customers without negatively impacting the customer experience. As a long-time partner of a major telecommunications company, TTEC has proactively spearheaded innovative initiatives that improved the customer experience while driving greater efficiencies and increasing cost savings. When our collaborative team of forward-thinking leaders/associates saw an opportunity to increase debt collections while reducing customer and agent efforts through automation, they leaped into action.
By aligning with the client's goals around debt reduction, increased efficiency, cost savings, and improving the digital experience, we came up with a Proactive Solution centred on automating repetitive tasks. We carried out our plan to implement the solution in 5 stages:
1. Explore: By analysing the manual work that our 62 FTEs were doing, we identified 25 automation opportunities. From these 25 workstreams, we prioritised 12 manual tasks based on ROI and cost savings. From there, we established that 65% of the prioritised tasks were simple tasks that could be automated such as account review, remediation, sending of notifications, and collections treatment.
2. Design: In the next stage, we did a series of discovery sessions with the Digital team and created an action logic for the 12 bots to design a solution matrix. For instance, one of the bots that we built was for the collections treatment. An agent would typically make 15 clicks and check 6 screens to do an account profiling review, outbound call, and manual routing in a collections treatment. It took 4 to 5 minutes to complete all the steps. The bot could do it in 30 seconds.
3. Propose: After finalising the design of the 12 bots, we moved on to the proposal stage. With the help of our Sales team, we showcased our automation design and digital capabilities to the client. The client was impressed and quickly greenlit the project.
4. Test: After the project deal was signed, we started testing. Our Digital team programmed the 12 bots and performed end-user testing in a span of just 4 months.
5. Deploy: Now over to the last stage of our roadmap: going live and deployment. Soon after the bot deployment for Collections, the bots were so efficient that we shifted the associates who previously did the work to other lines of business.
The initiative is ongoing but early results were incredibly successful: the bots handled manual tasks such as reviewing accounts faster and at a higher rate than the associates. In addition to reducing associate effort, by speeding up the review process, the bots reduced customer effort since customers no longer had to follow up to check on the status of their account. As a result of increased productivity via the bots and re-engineered processes, the client achieved a 50% debt reduction equivalent to $13 million in additional collected debts.
According to our calculations, our automation output will deliver $4.3 million in headcount cost savings in 5 years (the client invested $540,000 and ROI will be achieved in 7 months). This automation project has improved debt collection while driving efficiencies and has paved the way to conversations on other automation projects and opportunities as we continue to deliver value to the client.