Prodigal helps Unifin upskill the collections team in days

Nearly 22 million Americans have lost their jobs over a few short weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Record-high unemployment numbers pose unique challenges for collections agents as borrowers find it increasingly difficult to repay their debt.

Prodigal’s Natural Language Engine identified a surge in consumer stress beginning March 15 amidst the pandemic, with borrowers expressing fears about both their health (particularly among elderly borrowers) as well as loss of employment or a reduction in hours. Prodigal was able to automatically identify these trends due to its scale of anonymized speech data aggregation across multiple customers.

Prodigal’s smart reports were shared with all clients for free within two weeks of the announcement of enforceable shutdown orders. All agencies and lenders receiving reports with domain-specific trends on borrower behavior benefited from Prodigal’s economies of scale and Unifin was able to react swiftly to address the evolving situation.

Unifin prides itself on its initiatives of supporting, assisting and educating borrowers throughout the debt repayment process. All agents are highly trained to engage and collaborate over the phone. However, some agents had inadvertently failed to acknowledge the stressful situation borrowers might be in and thus did not show the requisite level of empathy. Agents are typically primed to collect debt as quickly as possible but Unifin wanted to encourage a different behavior in response to the current situation. “Unifin has a very thorough and graded coaching program for agents.  They were not only early to empathize with the situation the borrowers were in but also swift in incorporating the right response to the crisis” said Shantanu Gangal, Prodigal CEO.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

At Unifin, any sort of aggressive behavior by agents to collect from borrowers constitutes a high-level infraction. Unifin was particularly interested in identifying violations from among thousands of daily calls in order to proactively educate collectors on increasing empathy towards borrowers during these troubled times. Prodigal provided Unifin with a quick mechanism to identify agents violating the moral code of conduct established during the pandemic.

“Prodigal has time and again demonstrated its deep understanding of the ARM industry and their 40+ domain-specific tags were a powerful tool to slice and dice infractions by our agents,” said Clint Daoud, Unifin EVP. Prodigal independently flagged all conversations of this nature and made the trends prominently visible on its interface, simplifying the process of identifying agents who were repeat offenders or in need of coaching.

Thanks to Prodigal’s input, Unifin was able to incentivize recommended behaviors among its agents by swiftly identifying dozens of calls where agents had shown great consideration. Prodigal’s data also enabled Unifin to identify agents who had committed severe infractions so they could be guided to improve. By partnering with Prodigal, Unifin has been ahead of the curve in responding to an unprecedented ongoing macroeconomic situation.

Further analysis of the trends observed by Prodigal can be found in this whitepaper.