Solve It Strategically is a new series from iA Strategy & Tech where we discuss current industry challenges and how some tech companies solve those challenges with sharp technological and strategic thinking. In this installment, iA Strategy & Tech's Erin Kerr sits down to talk with McKay Bird from TCN about how Natural Language Compliance can help collections and recovery companies reduce costly TCPA violations.
If a consumer can prove an organization violated the TCPA, each violation can cost the caller $500. If the violation was willful, it can cost the organization $1,000. That’s $1,500 per violation. Without a technical, strategic approach to call compliance, businesses are leaving themselves open to a serious threat of costly litigation.
And that’s all before the implementation of Regulation F last year. Now, in addition to costly TCPA lawsuits, and potentially damaging FDCPA violations, companies must adhere to call caps that previously did not exist at a federal level. Add in all of the state regulations, and manually managing call compliance becomes a major risk for your organization.
TCN has spent a lot of time and energy on finding a tech solution to helping organizations with call compliance. Their solution: Natural Language Compliance.
In this installment of Solve It Strategically, iA Strategy & Tech's Erin Kerr sits down to talk with McKay Bird from TCN about Natural Language Compliance tech and how it can help collections and recovery companies with call compliance challenges.
In this short video interview, you'll learn more about how TCN is strategically solving the challenge of complicated call compliance with their service, Natural Language Compliance. Plus, find out:
- How to convince your leadership team to invest in compliance-first strategy and technology;
- Why relying on your legal counsel to ensure call compliance isn’t enough;
- How Natural Language Compliance can save your organization time and money
You can watch the video, or read the full interview transcript below.
[Erin Kerr]: Hi everyone. Thank you for joining me for this episode of Solve It Strategically.
Solve IT Strategically is a series where we discuss current industry challenges and how some tech companies are trying to solve those strategically.
I'm here today with McKay Bird, the marketing director at TCN. We're going to talk a little bit about TCN’s product, Natural Language Compliance. McKay, Thanks for joining me today.
[McKay Bird]: Hi, Erin. Thanks for having me.
[EK]: Absolutely. So let's talk a little bit about the industry challenges that TCN is looking to solve strategically using Natural Language Compliance.
[MB]: I appreciate you asking that question. What we actually set out to solve originally with Natural Language Compliance was related to the TCPA. I know the TCPA has been something that's been an ongoing challenge with debt collection for many years since it was first introduced, but our tool was an industry-first tool in helping debt collection and agencies automate their compliance, and it also helps to mitigate the regulatory and reputational risk. But [Natural Language Compliance] really allows an individual [to manage the risk].
You don’t need to have a law degree to be able to go in and type a compliance rule into our compliance engine. But really it started out as addressing some of the issues with the TCPA and those calling rules. And when Reg F was introduced and that deadline came and passed last year, it was a natural fit because our Natural Language Compliance engine was built for rules. And essentially, that's all Reg F is; taking a set of rules and applying them to different campaigns. It happens in real time. [Natural Language Compliance] is something that we introduced with the TCPA, but it's been able to be adapted and used in light of Reg F.
[EK]: Absolutely. So as someone who was formerly in a compliance role at an agency, I understand that there are so many rules if you're dealing with all 50 states and maybe some international stuff, there's a lot of layers to those rules. It's really something that you can't manually do anymore. Maybe 20 years ago, you could, but now you can't, especially with Reg F.
It sounds like you guys have been pretty in tune with what's going on in the industry, but specifically, how did you sort of learn about the challenges in the industry that led you guys to create Natural Language Compliance?
[MB]: TCN has [always] had a very strong focus on debt collection. We've been doing this for over 20 years and as we've developed voice and omnichannel communication tools and consistent reporting tools, it was something that we came together as a team and said, “how can we help our customers contact their consumers more effectively?” We didn't set out to try to skirt the law, but we did set out to try to help [our customers] follow the law and to build rules.
There's a lot of bad actors out there. A lot of times, agencies, whether in-house or external, can get a bad rap. [TCN] set out to try to bring a little more trust to what the industry is doing with this tool, and [TCN wanted] to be able to help our customers in a way that we felt that no one else was doing at the time. We set out to give our customers the tools at their fingertips to build these [call compliance] rules.
It’s not just the TCPA rules. Now that we have the seven and seven rule [from Reg F], and consent as well as preferred contact method, like you were saying, it's very hard to manage all those rules in disparate systems. We've been able to bring that all into one place and help bring those rules directly to where [agencies] are running their campaigns and with [very little time for] integration.
We have a lot of resources actually on our website covering Reg F, as well as our product, but we boiled a lot of these rules down into simple, easy, digestible solutions to help address some of these ongoing concerns. I think there are still businesses, even with the deadline that passed in November, that are struggling or still scratching their heads, wondering where to turn to, what to implement, and how to implement it. [They are asking] “am I compliant? Do I need to have an auditor?” We've basically made it as simple as possible to be compliant and to run a debt collection practice.
[EK]: Right. I want to address a couple of things you said there first. I want to say that you guys do have great resources even for those who aren’t using your product. [TCN] puts out a ton of really, really helpful content on the subject of compliance with Reg F.
Secondly, we talk a lot at iA Strategy & Tech about how to strategize using the seven and seven rule. But, compliance is a strategy, right? Because you don't want to cost yourself money. So it's certainly important to make sure that you're using those seven calls appropriately, but it's also important that you're not outside of those boundaries that have been set by Reg F. It’s great TCN is a resource for that kind of thing.
We've talked a little bit about how Natural Language Compliance works, but could you tell me exactly what your customers get when they sign up to use your services and, and how that works for them?
[MB]: Yes. It’s directly integrated into our platform. We have a compliance suite and within our compliance suite, we have this tool called Natural Language Compliance. And it's basically a little GUI where you simply type a rule. As you type, machine learning actually predicts what you're going to type, or [identifies] the type of rule that you are going to write.
If I were to type a rule [for example]: deny calls in seven calls, within seven days, the AI and our machine and our Natural Language Compliance would actually predict and apply the rule, because it would understand the keywords deny seven calls seven days. It would actually apply that rule.
So, in layman's terms you would be able to type as many rules into the GUI, and you can have as many different rule sets for different campaigns, or different strategies for TCPA, for Reg F for FDCPA specifics, or different strategies that you're trying to focus on.
And again, [it’s] a way to save money. You have precious resources. Your full-time employee time, your agent time, and then as well as telco costs. But machine learning will actually predict and build rules as you type. It's actually quite phenomenal. People who have seen it in action have been blown away. It's something that I don't think anyone else in the industry is actually doing or providing to the debt collection industry at the moment.
[EK]: To that end, I will say that we have a demo of Natural Language Compliance available for those who are interested. They can take a look at how it works. It's a short demo that [TCN] put together so that our audience could check it out. It sounds really cool.
You mentioned machine learning. I know that's a buzzword right now. How exactly does that work? Is it looking at a database of information or is it something that you train? How does that work?
[MB]: Yes. It's looking at a database of information, of keywords, and it is something that we also trained as [Reg F was] introduced, we tested against [those rules]. We tested the possibilities of building rules with Reg F, and we haven't had to make any adjustments with new rules or regulations that have come out.
It really speaks to the power of the database that we built, that's continually being updated. But then as well as as well as the programming that supports it . It really relies on data ,and tying two systems together. We have a lot of ability, and default integrations between collector systems or CRMs so that you can actually pull in account information like phone numbers, names, etc. [For example: if someone has more than one phone number or more than one account number, [our customers] can actually build rules based on account numbers.
[Our customers] can actually go even a layer deeper and say: if this person is associated with more than one account number, deny those calls. It really has a lot of layers to it. And the predictive analysis that goes into it is very, very powerful.
[EK]: That’s excellent. I think, after listening to you talk about this for a little bit and seeing the demo of the product, to me, the most exciting part of it is the ease of use. You don't necessarily need a developer to go in and adjust the code. Like you said, it's natural language, so you can type it in. From your perspective, how would you say that [Natural Language Compliance] is different from other solutions on the market that are looking to improve call compliance?
[MB]: I don't think anybody has built a predictive compliance tool like we have, so I don't think anyone else is doing it like we are.
I think competitors are potentially doing it through different databases that have to be tied together and disparate systems, which is quite ineffective. And for agencies and debt collectors, if you're doing a manual process for your compliance efforts, it may work for a time. But as you try to scale, or as you try to adjust rules, or even as new provisions come out, it gets complicated and it can get a little bit hairy.
I would just invite those that may be on the fence at looking at automating compliance, or those that are using disparate data to try to build compliance rules mechanically, to take a look. That's why we call it Natural Language Compliance. It's a play on natural language processing, but with the compliance element.
[EK]: So you heard me slip up and say natural language processing earlier.
[MB]: Yes. It’s actually a play on natural language processing. That's how we actually came up with this entire product. We wanted to be able to give power to the end user, and to make it as easy as possible. That's one of the missions of our product: how can we give power to the users in one of the easiest ways to use the solution.
It really just speaks to the power of the processing engine and what is happening on the backend [that our users are able] to build and distinguish those rules very quickly.
[EK]: That's great. Imagine that we're going to continue to see regulation in this space of calls. Some states have already put forth more restrictive measures than what's listed in Reg F. I imagine that this is going to become more and more valuable to the agencies as layers build up.
Any other final thoughts about solving this challenge strategically?
[MB]: No. I just shared that invitation with owners and compliance managers that are using disparate systems to take a look at what you're doing. There may be solutions out there to help. A lot of people rely very heavily on legal counsel, which is okay and which is necessary. But being able to digest these rules can be done very easily, and in a way that way you may not have thought possible.
TCN has just over 1500 logos using our solutions. And there's a reason why we have such a strong brand, and such a powerful product. The brands that trust TCN every day with our solutions know why, and they keep coming back for these products
[EK]: I appreciate you sharing that. As McKay mentioned and I mentioned a little bit earlier, we have the demo available for you to take a look at, so please check that out and contact TCN for more information about their Natural Language Compliance.
Even if you don't check out the demo, check out TCN’s website because they have tons of great content around Reg F and it's super helpful, especially for people who are newer to the industry.
Thanks so much McKay for joining us. And this has been Solve It Strategically, and I will see you all very soon. Thank you.
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