Ask the Flexys Experts : How can artificial intelligence improve my collections department performance? | Flexys

Ask the Flexys Experts : How can artificial intelligence improve my collections department performance?

9th January 2019 by Astra Baker

We meet the Flexys Research and Development team and ask how these emerging technologies can increase the amount of debt collected while driving down costs and maximising efficiency.


1. Let’s start with a simple definition of machine learning

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems with the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of algorithms that can identify and predict data patterns which can then be matched against individual customers or agents data to determine an optimal action.

2. What is Flexys Labs and could you introduce your team members?

Flexys Labs is the research and development division of Flexys Solutions. We use our deep domain expertise in Machine Learning (2nd generation AI) and Contextual Adaptation (3rd generation AI) purely to enhance collections performance. Our team is driven by a natural curiosity and enthusiasm for process improvement backed up by a rigorous scientific approach to data and analytics. Joe Heath is our Chief Research Officer and co-founder of Flexys with an MSc in neural networks as well as many years experience in the collections software business. Don Liyanage is one of our Research Engineers who, alongside his work at Flexys, is studying for a PhD in Neural Network Reasoning Using Case-Based Reasoning. Our Software Engineer Kieran Sears, also a postgraduate student, provides invaluable support to the team.

3. How are you applying AI and ML to the Flexys suite of solutions?

We have developed the Flexys Cognition solution, a highly scalable microservices platform to automate strategy optimisation, identify customer segments, define sentiment and identify vulnerability. Cognition can optimise early-stage collections by quickly identifying “can’t pays” from “won’t pays” ensuring vulnerable customers are identified and treated appropriately. Meanwhile “won’t pays” can be fast-tracked to DCAs, reducing the cost to collect. Cognition can also be used in late-stage collections to match an account’s characteristics to a DCA’s core competencies to ensure the best collections outcome in terms of cost and debt collected.

Cognition is delivered as a SaaS cloud solution, which can be implemented and delivering improved collections performance within a matter of weeks. It works seamlessly with legacy systems and modern digital platforms as well as integrating with other Flexys modular solutions to deliver a complete end-to-end enterprise collections system.

4. What does the Flexys Cognition function offer to collections agents? 

Cognition provides the busy agent with a dynamically customised journey for each customer. This is not based on a stagnant set of data applied to entire cohorts but a constantly evolving, intelligent and reasoned application of methods derived from your existing data. Each step of the customer journey is determined by customer circumstances in full compliance with business and regulatory objectives.

Agents can also visualise the best option for next-step engagement with the customer and alternative steps when needed.

5. How can my business measure the benefits Flexys Cognition offers?

Any business that has a collections functionality has large data sets consisting of sales details, billing history, payment records, and customer information. Most organisations keep this data as a system of records for procedural and regulatory requirements. However, holding this data in the system requires additional costs including storage, back and recovery maintenance/procedure, compliance-based data protection and security procedures. Today, organisations can bring machine learning into core business processes that are connected with the business’s data streams to improve their decision-making processes through real-time learning and to turn a ‘cost’ into a benefit.

Benefits include:

  • Lower cost to collect through more accurate treatment of customers
  • Increasing your recovery rates from late-stage debts
  • Optimising values of debt sales
  • Protecting your business reputation with customers and consumers
  • Helps rehabilitate customers and build loyalty
  • Reduces call centre workloads

6. What is next for Flexys Labs? 

We have been awarded an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership to collaborate with artificial intelligence experts at The University of the West of England. This partnership will develop methods to identify next best action on an individual level (segment of one) within collections, taking advantage of the latest research and driving real-world benefits. We are already looking at the potential use of Open Banking in the collections environment and the use of sentiment analysis to help determine the customer journey. Our sole focus is to bring the very best of research and development to make real business benefits for our collections software customers. It’s an ongoing process to ensure our cutting-edge technology and innovation stays ahead of the game.

Read more about the Flexys suite of collections solutions at www.flexys.com

Book a demo of our digital self-service Collaborate solution