Converting Hidden Collections: New Customers May Be Old Ones Who Still Owe You
If you’re like many communications and utilities companies, you’ve adopted the habit of separating active and inactive accounts into different databases. This is particularly evident in large companies serving millions of customers who wish to simply reduce the size of their databases. The downside — and it’s a big one — is that your inactive accounts may basically be left in the shadows. Without converting hidden collections, you could have no idea what they may still owe you in terms of fees, penalties or hardware, or even if they’ve been reactivated.
Fortunately, there are powerful tools you can use to compare active and inactive accounts — tools that allow you to pinpoint which inactive accounts are still in arrears in terms of retained hardware or outstanding fees or penalties.
The offline solution
Systems like Connexus™ from Equifax help solve this problem offline. The process begins with an evaluation of the quality of your customer files. This is accomplished by sampling a subset of your database and analyzing it to determine if, for example, it has the correct address format. The files are then “Connexus-keyed” and returned back to you, allowing you to map the same individuals across both databases.
Once you’ve identified the same individuals in both databases, you can review their inactive status to identify critical data: Did they leave in good standing? Do they still owe a penalty or fee? Did they fail to return any equipment? At this point, you can determine how you want to approach any collections efforts. For example, you could simply turn the entire list of accounts identified as delinquent over to a collections agency.
Another advantage in using collection tools that convert hidden collections is that they can be customized to accommodate specific needs. “We work with you on implementation and customization,” says Tom Lenahan, Vice President of Product Management at Equifax. “If your solution includes the use of offline, batch files, we’ll ask if you want to refresh the keys daily, weekly, monthly or every quarter.”
The online solution
In an online scenario using a decisioning platform like InterConnect® — when a prospect desires to open a new account — a key can be generated for the new prospect. InterConnect then searches both previously Connexus keyed active and inactive databases for that customer using the key.
This can reveal all the details of the customer’s past activities as well as any delinquencies — information you would need before granting that customer new equipment or access to services. This critical information is provided in real time at the point of transaction.
Protecting your investment in customer hardware
Powerful customer data integration tools like Connexus allow you to recoup heavy investments in customer hardware. This is an ideal solution for medium-to-large regional utilities, or telecoms that provide satellite or cable TV. If you have a growing number of inactive customers who have retained their smartphones or DVRs, or have failed to pay early termination fees, the losses can be considerable. Companies like AT&T have already saved millions using tools like these.
Finding and converting hidden collections can present a challenge to today’s Telcos and utilities. But using advanced tools like Connexus can help take the work and worry out of this problem.
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