Ringless voicemail technology is positioned to help dramatically improve medical debt collections. Medical debt collectors may be the first and primary beneficiaries of this innovation in communications, though debtors and healthcare service providers may find it a welcome change too.
Medical Debt In America
In general Americans love debt. They love big mortgages, big car payments, store cards and flashy credit cards with big, or preferrably no limits. There’s another kind of debt that few love or are prepared for. That’s medical debt. Perhaps unless it was for a voluntary cosmetic procedure.
According to the data, 30 million Americans have a least one debt in collections. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics over 300,000 people work in debt collections, making it a highly competitive space. Discounts and profits on debt have shrunk substantially over the past decade. Both due to better performance and more demand for it. This could change soon with the new recession and the end of Obamacare.
When it comes to third party debt collection, almost 40% of all debt is collected in the Healthcare space. The largest share of any type of debt. We’re talking about a pie that is tens of billions of dollars.
More than 20% of US households have unpaid medical debt. In fact, it is posed that unpaid medical bills are actually the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States according to KFF.
The Number One Challenge To Collecting On Medical Debt
The big challenge to medical debt collectors is contacting and connecting with debtors. It’s 90% of the battle.
Yes, some have gone bankrupt and just don’t have all the money right now. Yet, there is a great willingness and need to pay these bills. Data shows that 63% of those with health insurance who face difficulty in paying medical bills have been willing to use up most if not all of their savings to pay it. 75% have spent less on clothing and food and essentials to pay the debt back. A significant percentage of others have picked up extra jobs, borrowed from family and friends or even downgraded housing to make these payments. Others are finding out that unless they pay up that even their local hospitals and ERs are turning them away. So, desire to pay isn’t the main challenge in collecting more on medical debts.
Some may not genuinely owe the debt. It could be a billing error, or overcharge. They will often ignore collectors no matter what. Though most seem to want to pay and will try hard to do so. If collectors can connect and do so in a warm way, the odds are high they will try to come up with some payment arrangement.
The two main roadblocks to this a firstly that it is so hard to get people to answer a phone long enough to hear the message. Secondly, all too often inexperienced debt collectors and call center reps try to act too tough and turn off the potential for any future communications. Often because they are burned out from talking to the wrong people and the sheer frustration of trying to make quotas with so few answers.
If you can connect, getting through in the right tone, with right message you’ll facilitate a positive call and outcome.
Old Efforts Have Failed Miserably
Some collectors report trying to contact debtors as much as 15 times a day. Even if they can attempt this without danger of falling out of compliance with the FCC, TCPA and FDCPA, it has generally proven to be a huge waste of time, labor, money and energy.
Outbound calls, emails, direct mail and social media stalking can all fail miserably in this effort.
How Ringless Voicemail Changes The Game
Ringless voicemail technology enables medical debt collectors to drop well polished and uniform (or personalized) voice messages right into debtors phones. The phone doesn’t ring so there is no risk of the message being bounced. Few people, if any can resist listening to voicemails. So, your message gets through. It gets listened to when they have time. Typically when they also have time to respond. It also means a clear and objective message that doesn’t rely on how your call reps are feeling that day or in that moment. It just works way better.
In turn, collection staff end up only speaking with live inbound callers who want to resolve the situation. That’s a completely different call. The dynamics are far different. As are the outcomes of each call.
Side benefits include:
Lower operational costs
Lower labor costs
Great team happiness and retention levels
More appeal to new hires
Increased collection amounts from the same customers
Better profit margins
It also means an increased likelihood of their friends and family members paying their collection accounts. Often they will have been in the same accidents or faced the same health issues together. It’s a two or three or more for one.
One of the most overlooked benefits of this technology is also acquiring more profitable new debt accounts. Try using ringless to reach those with the debts they need collected on. Use your applications of ringless technology as a marketing tool for improved collection results. With all these benefits, it’s worth trying.