How government agencies can conquer account revenue management challenges in 2018
By Steve Ard and Brett Sivits
There are many challenges facing government agencies in 2018, both big and small. Chief among them is the age-old question: how can they do more with less? Government collections agencies are being tasked with more and more accounts, but with fewer staff to manage them. The national political climate hasn’t helped, either. State and local governments are extremely risk averse; some are dealing with pressure to streamline agencies and close central collection units. Agencies have been reluctant to offer new RFPs in 2017. Few have adopted new technology solutions, as most don’t have the in-house expertise to implement them. There is no way of knowing how long the downturn will last, but there is strong hope that things start moving forward in 2018.
With that in mind, how can agencies successfully tackle account revenue management (ARM) in the next year?
For starters, governments need to learn about the collections technologies that are available on the market and then determine how to implement them to their best advantage. There are many ways to accomplish revenue recovery without increasing staff, primarily through automation. Getting educated on what is available and then acquiring and implementing a useful automation toolset can substantially boost revenue recovery. There are even ways to do it without impacting the budget.
The single easiest way to move the needle is to add new channels of communication. Dialers, unattended messages, email, and SMS are necessary going forward. Using analytics to determine collectability and direct resources appropriately would also be a step in the right direction. By partnering with technology and solutions providers with a strong background in compliance, government collection agencies can reduce costs and increase revenue—all while remaining compliant. Blending compliant collections tools and technology can be done with little to no impact on the government’s budget.
Another key is to maximize employee productivity. Many state and local governments are slow to enforce employee productivity standards. Employees see themselves as “case workers,” which translates to a great deal of misplaced time from individual staff. Staff should be more segmented and procedures more automated. This can be done by using a combination of state-of-the-art collections tools and technology and providing the appropriate level of training for the collections staff. Buying a good collections product is useful, but it only goes so far if the staff doesn’t know learn how to use it to full advantage. Utilizing the right product from an experienced vendor—and providing the proper training—yields amazing results.
By educating themselves on available solutions, picking the tools that best suit their needs, and maximizing their employees’ productivity, government collection agencies can conquer ARM challenges in 2018 while reducing costs and increasing revenue.
Steve Ard and Brett Sivits respectively serve as the director of government services and a client executive at Ontario Systems, an accounts receivables management company.