Three Reasons Why RPA Is Important for Revenue Collection Agencies

Three Reasons Why RPA Is Important for Revenue Collection Agencies

Revenue collection agencies are core to government operations. Their work ensures the funding exists for services that residents depend on. The more efficient these agencies are, the more revenue they can collect. That’s why innovative agencies are turning to robotic process automation, or RPA, to streamline processes and automate manual tasks.

The word “robot” might conjure up the image of a humanoid machine hard at work, but the robots at the core of RPA live in software. These bots often run atop legacy applications. In simplest terms, they use scripts and algorithms to automate rules-based, repetitive tasks. With that in mind, let’s dive into three areas in which RPA can be useful to revenue collection agencies.

1. Matching customers to campaigns

The task of revenue collection is two-fold: identify which individuals owe money, then figure out the best way to collect it from them. RPA can be useful in matching individuals to the payment plan that is most likely to be successful. More specifically, probabilistic models use individuals’ demographic and economic data, along with historic data around collections, to identify whether an installment plan is better than a lien or levy for a particular cluster of customers. If people have a history of not paying bills, for instance, a lien or levy will have a higher likelihood of success.

The point is that different customers at different points in time will be best suited for different campaigns. RPA allows agencies to streamline the process of putting customers into the ideal campaign given their situation at a particular point in time. This is particularly useful considering some agencies have limited resources to deal with customers. Staffing tends to be one of the greatest challenges at state governments—which brings us to the next benefit.

2. Better customer touchpoint

By automating rote work via RPA, revenue collection agencies free up their staff for more high-level tasks. Consider a time-consuming task like reviewing bank statements. With software bots able to tackle the time-intensive review process, staff can be reallocated to higher-value tasks like customer touchpoints.

Customer touchpoints are times in which residents are nudged into desirable behaviors—such as adhering to the payment plan that’s been chosen for them. Despite the appeal of leaving such a task to a customer service bot, the reality is that customer satisfaction is greater when dealing with real, engaged people—and for revenue collection agencies, customer satisfaction drives the likelihood of customers paying quickly.

Since staffing can be a primary challenge for state governments, this reallocation has a tremendously positive impact. It is also worth noting that RPA projects are only successful when agencies have the right staff to oversee the technology and the change management associated with it.

3. Ability to iterate

At the core of RPA is the principle that things are predictable and that actors are behaving rationally. As we all know, in the real world, that’s not always the case. The good news is that RPA models can be updated as new events unfold. For instance, several bank failures have made headlines recently. A large-scale irrational event like a bank run was likely not baked into anyone’s RPA model. The same can be said for events like the Great Recession in 2008 and the pandemic in 2020. But now that we’ve seen them, we can build such events into future RPA processes.

Irrationality happens at an individual level too. Perhaps someone is put into an installment agreement—the best campaign for their customer profile—yet instead of paying it, they opt to purchase an expensive car. While RPA cannot predict irrationality, it can adapt to it. RPA’s feedback loop may also drive new questions and areas of inquiry. Going back to the first benefit, an agency might be able to identify a new cluster of taxpayers with certain characteristics and pay profiles. All in all, as changes happen, RPA can evolve to address them.

The bottom line

Altogether, RPA can benefit revenue collection agencies in many ways. Now through 2030, the market for RPA is slated to grow by more than 22% annually. Already, about a quarter of state agencies say RPA and artificial intelligence are transforming operations, while nearly 65% say that will be the case within three years.

Deploying RPA doesn’t generally require a massive IT overhaul or hard-to-source tech expertise. Instead, it simply requires the proper change management. By automating areas that are highly manual and transactional in nature, agencies can accelerate processes, save money, combat staffing shortages, and free up workers for higher-value activities.

If your agency is interested in learning more about the myriad benefits of RPA, contact us today.

-Peter Arena, Chief Strategy Officer, Voyatek