The fact people don’t like getting calls from collection agencies comes as no surprise. Though, according to new research from, FiSite Research consumers are willing to deal with online collection services.
In a survey of 1,000 consumers, 87 percent either had a good or excellent opinion of the idea of an online collection service. Most survey respondents (83 percent) say they’d rather use an online collections service than receive a call from a collection agency. Those who chronically pay some or all their bills late (“late payers” represented 21 percent of the survey sample) were even more inclined to prefer an online service to a telephone call, with a percentage of 86.4 percent.
Advantages of online collection services extend to several types of debtors, too. For those unwilling or unable to pay a bill, 64.7 percent thought they’d find such a service useful. The number rises for those who would want to pay a bill over time (83.2 percent), and is higher still for those who want to pay a bill quickly (88 percent).
Offline collections are often fraught with confrontation and anxiety, which is in part what online collections hope to mitigate. Reasons why users may prefer an online collection agency to a traditional agency call are at least twofold. The primary reason respondents cited was “convenience and ease,” at 90 percent. Potential to reduce “bill payer emotional stress” was noted by 78 percent of the total, with chronic late payers ranking a bit higher at 84.5 percent.
“It validated what we thought would be a natural inclination of a consumer to want to avoid the anxiety and stress of that kind of confrontation,” said FiSite President Paul Jamieson.
Despite the fact users in this survey show a clear preference for dealing with an online collection agency, it hardly spells the end for traditional agencies. Jamieson explains online collections agencies are unlikely to displace their traditional counterparts for a few simple reasons.
“Collection agencies have a tendency to go after those who are looking to skip,” Jamieson said. ” There may be some decrease in revenue, but I don’t see it as displacing them. We don’t think online services, where you’re counting on the individual to self care themselves enough to be responsible to use these online tools in a self directed way, is going to stop another individual who’s simply looking to skip on a loan.”
Repo men (and women) have little to fear from digital collection agents. Their brand of collection will continue to be necessary. “There will always be those individuals that need a more aggressive type of collection service,” said Jamieson.
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