How Voicebots Can Help Collection Agencies Prepare for Tax Season

Tax season is the busiest time of the year for collection agencies. According to a recent report, 44% of Americans say they earmark their tax refunds to pay off their debts or bills. With 3 in 4 U.S. residents receiving a tax refund from the government during this season each year, the number of people who will wisely take advantage of the reimbursements to pay off their debt is high.

In 2023, the average tax refund for individuals in the U.S. was $3,054.

Collection agencies know it’s important to take advantage of this window of opportunity to maximize their recovery rates and agency margins. During tax season, the industry usually experiences a peak in payments, paired with a general openness of consumers to engage with collectors. Many consumers will be relying on tax refunds to pay off their debt at this time of the year.

Now is the perfect time for agencies to prepare for tax season and the volume surge in outbound and inbound calls. In this article, we’ll explain how Voice AI (the technology behind a voicebot) can transform tax season for the better, making it a less stressful and more profitable time for collection agencies.

The Challenges Collection Agencies Face Before and During Tax Season

While tax season undoubtedly represents a window of opportunity, it also presents several challenges for collection agencies. The best way for management to tackle these challenges is to prepare in advance and to involve their collectors on the floor in these preparations.

Here are some of the most common challenges collection agencies face before and during tax season:

Hiring new collectors: To handle the surge in call volume, collection executives often seek to hire new collectors to join their staff. Hiring takes time and resources; since the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become more challenging to find new talent, as people are inclined to seek more flexible jobs, and salaries have become more competitive. You’ll need ample time to find new talent and train new hires.

Training staff to prepare for the season: Whether newly hired or seasoned, all collectors should receive the appropriate training before the beginning of tax season. All training materials should be easily accessible, focusing on the challenges and skills specific to this time of the year.

Updating the agency’s compliance management system: Every agency should have a compliance management system — often found within the collections management software. This system is used to store and organize the current laws and regulations of the ARM industry. Before tax season begins, the agency’s compliance officer or manager should ensure that the system is up to date with the latest regulations, including state laws; outdated regulations should be removed. Additionally, this system should be easy to access and browse for collectors.

Planning a successful settlement campaign: The surge in collection volume encourages some agencies to offer small discounts for a limited time; other agencies take it to the next level by planning a wide-scale settlement campaign. For a settlement campaign, the agency focuses on a specific group of accounts, typically consumers with higher recovery rates and debt whose age falls within a specific timeframe. If the agency services third-party debt, then it also must coordinate the campaign with the original creditors. Executives must decide what balance reduction they are going to offer those consumers and the running time of the campaign. The entire process can make the agency extremely busy, and things are likely to get hectic for the collectors on the floor.

How Voice AI Can Make Your Life Easier During Tax Season

Voice AI, the technology behind voicebots, has become one of the favorite automation technologies in the accounts receivables industry. Voice AI enables collection agencies to automate collection calls, both inbound and outbound, making it much easier for executives to scale their collection campaigns without the need to hire additional or seasonal agents.

Skit.ai’s Voice AI solution initiates thousands of calls to consumers within minutes, establishes right-party contact, reminds them of the outstanding balance, and encourages them to make a payment or captures promise-to-pay. The solution easily transfers calls to your live agents so they can speak to the most engaged consumers and collect payments on-call.

It’s important to note that Voice AI is not IVR (interactive voice response), an outdated and unpopular solution commonly used in customer service. Unlike IVR, Voice AI can handle intelligent, two-way conversations with consumers.

Call automation with Voice AI is transforming collections across the board, as it enables collection agencies to handle many more accounts simultaneously, recovering payments at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, this technology augments the work of live collectors, who are empowered to handle more complex cases and focus on more revenue-generating tasks; whenever agents get a transfer from Voice AI, they receive the context on the consumer’s previous interaction with the voicebot in real time.

While this technology is helpful all year round, during tax season it becomes particularly essential. Here’s why:

Make it super easy for consumers to pay. Any roadblock in the payment process can significantly hinder the recovery of the debt. That’s why customer experience plays an important role, and making the payment as easy and frictionless as possible is a priority for your agency. Voice AI makes the process smooth and pleasant for consumers.

No need to hire additional collectors during tax season: Voice AI enables executives and managers to scale their operations, without the need to hire additional collectors during this busy season. This way, they can continue to rely on their trusted team and get the extra help they need from the Digital Voice Agents, who are unlimited in number and can handle thousands of calls simultaneously. Collections with Voice AI are significantly cheaper; additionally, voicebots don’t take any commission!

Fewer concerns about compliance thanks to Voice AI: Executives can worry less about complying with laws and regulations since the solution is fully trained to comply with regulations at the state and federal levels. Unlike live collectors, the automated agent is always compliant and does not go off script.

Execute a smooth settlement campaign at scale: With Voice AI, collection agencies can execute a settlement campaign at scale, reaching thousands of consumers in a very short amount of time to offer the settlement and collect the payments.

When Should You Start Preparing for Tax Season?

While it’s never too early to get started, we see many agencies evaluate partners and vendors before Thanksgiving, just as the holiday season approaches and many U.S. residents are known to use their credit cards for holiday spending.

However, make no mistake: it’s also never too late! At Skit.ai, we pride ourselves on our fast and efficient implementation process. From the moment you adopt our Voice AI solution, you can go live and start using the platform in as little as 48 hours.


Are you ready to take the next step toward call automation with Voice AI? Schedule a free demo with one of our experts using the chat tool below!

How ARM Companies Can Boost Right-Party Contact with Voice AI

What Are Connect Rate and Right-Party Contact (RPC)?

Debt collection agencies invest time and resources in getting in touch with consumers. In theory, all it takes for a collector to speak with a consumer is to hit the call button, but in reality, it’s not that simple; oftentimes, the number is wrong, the consumer does not answer the phone, or the wrong person picks up the phone.

Connect rates and right-party contact rates are two metrics that significantly affect the outbound operations of a contact center—including a collection agency.

The connect rate measures the percentage of calls that are picked up over the total outbound calls initiated. The right-party contact rate is the percentage of calls in which an agent is able to connect with the target consumer, which could be either the debtor or a relative who has been given permission to handle the debt. Right-party contact (RPC) is the most accurate measure of the effectiveness of an agency’s outbound calling efforts.

In this article, we will explore how conversational voice AI technology can efficiently verify right-party contact, leading to significant time and cost savings for collection agencies.

☎️ Factors that affect connect and right-party contact rates
❌ Wrong number
⛔️ Busy line
? No answer
? Voicemail
??‍♀️ Wrong party answers the phone

Why Right-Party Contact Can Be a Challenge for Collection Agencies

Collectors know it very well: reaching consumers can be tricky.

Given the limitations imposed by the TCPA and the FDCPA, collectors can’t call debtors at any given time of the day. While timing is everything, even a well-staffed agency can only contact consumers so many times in order to reach them, as the number of available collectors is limited and you don’t want them to spend too much time trying to reach the same numbers too often.

Right-party contact can be a serious challenge for collection agencies. Collectors (and their managers) want to spend as much time as possible actually speaking to consumers and collecting payments — and as little time as possible trying to reach people on the phone. Calls not resulting in RPC don’t lead to a collection and result in an overall waste of resources.

This is where automation and artificial intelligence come into play.

How Voice AI Solves the RPC Issue for ARM Companies

With rising costs, staffing challenges, and shrinking margins, accounts receivables companies are looking at digital transformation and automation as valid solutions to their operational challenges.

Contact centers in all industries have been relying on automatic dialing systems (or auto dialer software) for decades. These systems make the dialing process faster and easier, boosting agent productivity; in addition to queueing calls and dialing the target number automatically, they also screen out inactive numbers, busy lines, and answering machines, drastically improving the contact center’s connect rate.

But what about right-party contact? 

Once the collector reaches a person on the phone, they must establish whether the person they are speaking to is the right party (the consumer or debtor) or not. The right party could also be a third party (a person authorized to handle the debt or an attorney representing the debtor). This process can take a few minutes.

A conversational voice AI solution like Skit.ai can handle the actual call — rather than just the dialing process.

Once someone picks up the phone, the voice AI solution confirms right-party contact and authenticates the consumer through SSN, DOB, or zip code; it then engages with the debtor, offering ways to pay off their debt. If needed, the solution will negotiate a payment plan or transfer the call to a live agent, who can assist with more complex queries.

The entire process is faster and cheaper, and allows the collection agency to save on resources, enabling live agents to focus on more complex calls and engage with consumers who are already authenticated. Below, you can see a step-by-step summary of how Skit.ai’s voice AI solution handles a debt collection call:


Are you interested in learning how voice AI can transform your collection agency’s results? Schedule a call with one of Skit.ai’s experts using the chat tool below.

What Is Call Automation and How Can It Impact Debt Collections?

Let’s face it: debt collection agencies often sit on high-volume portfolios of accounts, as they lack the capabilities and resources to contact all consumers in a timely manner. Ultimately, some agencies give up on reaching all those accounts to focus solely on the larger ones.

ARM companies usually handle thousands of new accounts each month, but many of those accounts might be left untouched due to the lack of bandwidth. For each account, agents need to establish right-party contact (RPC), remind the customer of their outstanding balance, and offer ways to help them pay off their debt, such as a payment plan. More often than not, customers are not available right away, and the agent has to call them back at a different time.

What if I told you that you could automate this entire process?

Yes, you heard that right. A conversational voice AI solution can handle your collection calls on your behalf. In this article, we’ll explain how this type of solution works.

What Is Call Automation?

Nowadays, 88% of consumers expect organizations to offer a self-service support portal. Contact centers in all industries — from banking to e-commerce and, of course, accounts receivable management (ARM) — are turning to automation as a strategy to overcome the challenges of managing both inbound and outbound calls with customers.

In this rapid-changing environment, marked by the surge of generative AI, conversational AI has emerged as a key debt collection software to solve automation challenges. These tools are capable of handling conversations with consumers from start to finish, without the need for any human intervention.

Voice AI technologies may sound “new” to you today, but they are set to become the industry standard in the collections and payments space within a few years. Early adopters are already reaping the benefits as they are ahead of the learning curve.

When they hear “call automation,” many people tend to think of IVR (interactive voice response) systems. Think, “To make a payment, press 1…” In recent years, voice automation, AI, and speech recognition technologies have significantly evolved, also with the emergence of conversational voice AI and large language models, delivering a much more sophisticated technology than IVR. You can think of IVR as the “grandfather” of voice AI.

A conversational voice AI platform delivers a human-feeling and effective two-way conversation with a consumer, answering questions and providing context-specific information.

Once you upload data for a collection campaign, the solution can initiate thousands of calls to consumers, establishing RPC and reminding them of their outstanding balances; the solution then helps them pay via select payment gateways or negotiates a payment plan.

What Does an Automated Collection Call Sound Like?

Because Skit.ai’s technology is powered by AI, no interaction will be identical to the other; every customer is different, and each call is personalized. The technology is built to handle a natural-sounding back-and-forth conversation with the consumer following their responses, cues, and questions ad hoc.

If you want to learn more about our approach to customer experience (CX) and how we build a persona for our voice AI solution, read our article about how Skit.ai elevates CX in collection calls.

The voice AI platform handles these scenarios:

Is an AI-powered Collector Compliant?

Compliance is one of the most common pain points and concerns for executives working in collections. There are many regulations at both federal and state levels, and sometimes consumers may file lawsuits against ARM companies, causing major expenses on the agencies’ part. Additionally, regulations often change, and collectors sometimes struggle to keep up with the new developments.

Skit.ai’s conversational voice AI solution fully complies with the current laws and regulations related to collections and phone calls, such as Reg F, the TCPA, and more. We ensure that the solution initiates calls only at the permitted times of the day and within the correct frequency. We prioritize information security; we have, among others, ISO 27001:2013 and PCI DSS certifications and use AES-256 encryption.

It’s actually easier to ensure that an AI solution rigorously complies with regulatory requirements; this is because the solution:

  • never goes off-script
  • always provides identity disclaimers
  • only calls customers at permitted times
  • always honors do-not-call registries
  • never resorts to threats or aggressive language.

Do you want to learn more about call automation for collections and payments? Are you looking to adopt a Voice AI solution for your business? Schedule a call with one of our experts by using the chat tool below!

How Is the U.S. Planning To Regulate AI in Financial Services?

From automation and decision-making to fraud detection and customer experience, the applications of artificial intelligence in financial services seem endless. As companies, both large and small, navigate this evolving landscape and its plethora of vendors and solutions, many ask themselves: How will this technology be regulated once our legislative branch starts looking into it more seriously?

At Skit.ai, we organized a panel discussion hosted by our friends at Accounts Recovery with three renowned experts, to whom we asked the most pressing questions on AI in financial services and the regulatory environment. What regulations should we expect? More specifically, which aspects of AI will regulators be more interested in scrutinizing?

In this article, we’ll discuss the current role of AI in the financial sector — with particular attention to the accounts and receivables industry — and report some of the insights from the industry experts we interviewed during the event.

Understanding AI’s Impact on Financial Services

AI in financial services is not a prediction or a catchphrase. According to an international survey published in 2020 by the World Economic Forum and the Cambridge Centre of Alternative Finance, 85% of financial services providers already use AI in some form. Additionally, 77% of the responding institutions reported believing that AI would become essential to their business in the following two years. With the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, these numbers can only be higher now.

Some of the most notable applications of AI in the sector, according to Deloitte, are:

  • Conversational AI (such as chatbots and voicebots) for consumer interactions
  • Fraud detection and prevention
  • Customer relationship management
  • Predictive analytics
  • Credit risk management

The Regulatory Framework in the United States

Over the last few years, there have been efforts for legislators to study and regulate the use of AI in various industries, including the financial services industry. But while other foreign legislative bodies have been notably faster than the U.S. at passing timely legislation, there has yet to be a successful attempt at the federal level here in the United States.

In 2022, a bipartisan privacy bill, the American Data Privacy Protection Act (ADPPA) was introduced in Congress, but it did not make it through the Senate and has ever since been abandoned. Later in 2022, the White House published a policy document named the “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights,” seeking to provide guidance on the different rights that lawmakers should keep in mind when framing the discussion on the regulation of AI across industries.

In September, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing about “Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services” to discuss AI’s applications, risks, and benefits in the industry.

The witnesses who spoke at the hearing were Melissa Koide of FinRegLab, who spoke about credit underwriting; Professor Michael Wellman of the University of Michigan, who raised concerns about algorithmic trading and market manipulation; and Daniel Gorfine of Gattaca Horizons, who focused on the opportunities presented by AI.

Most recently, the White House issued an executive order on artificial intelligence, establishing guidelines for AI safety and security. The order includes requirements that aim to protect consumers from threats to privacy, discrimination, and fraud.

Insights from the Experts: Possible U.S. Regulations of AI

The following quotes are excerpts from the webinar hosted by Accounts Recovery. Watch the recording to listen to the entire conversation and get the full context. The four experts who spoke are Dara Tarkowski of Actuate Law, Heath Morgan of Martin Golden Lyons Watts Morgan, Vaishali Rao of Hinshaw Culbertson, and Prateek Gupta of Skit.ai.

(Please note: The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only.)

Key Takeaway 1: Look at the European Union for Guidance

The United States is pitifully far behind the EU, the UK, areas of APAC, and Australia in the way they’ve approached the technology and the utilization of the technology. If we want to see which direction our country will go in terms of AI regulations, we have a five-year playbook of what it looks like in the rest of the world.”

“What we’ve seen from the hearings that have been held in Congress; at its base, the concern by lawmakers and regulators and a lot of the practitioners, is that bad data leads to bad outcomes, which is selection bias. Then we’ve got process bias, which means that bad methods and bad processes lead to bad outcomes. Philosophically, those are the two issues that lawmakers are trying to address in whatever sector.”

“If you’re looking for guidance, put together a framework that is largely compliant with what the European Union has already laid out as the ethical and safe use of AI. In a global economy, it would be foolish of the United States to deviate too much from what the rest of the world is already adopting.”

Key Takeaway 2: This Is Not About Replacing People with Technology

“In our industry, the usage of these types of technologies is not and should not be to replace people or to replace the thoughtfulness and the consideration of the decisioning. However, a lot of these technologies can help speed up and improve our decisioning, so that people can make better and faster decisions, which is better for both businesses and  consumers.”

Key Takeaway 3: AI Must Provide Value to Consumers

When it comes to the use of chatbots and voicebots, “you can’t keep consumers in an infinite loop with the artificial intelligence system and not let them talk to an actual human being whenever the AI is unable to provide a resolution. One of the focuses needs to make sure that AI provides value to the consumer, and is not used as a way for companies to create a hurdle between consumers and live agents.”

Key Takeaway 4: Waiting for Regulations May Not Be the Best Strategy

Should we wait for regulations before adopting AI solutions to avoid any risks? “You can’t bury your head in the sand and say: ‘We’re not going to deploy this technology until there are regulations.’ It really isn’t a question of whether you are going to adopt this technology—it’s a matter of when. The more you accept that and look into having risk assessments, an AI policy, and an AI committee, the better you’re going to be. The technology is coming to you through vendors and consumers before you know it.”

Key Takeaway 5: Set up an AI Task Force

“Set up an AI task force, so you can set up a framework on how to use AI properly.”


Want to learn more about Conversational Voice AI and how it can benefit your business? Use the chat tool below to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts!