Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology can be a huge help for payment collectors, from allowing customers to make payments over the phone to simply checking their balance.

In a recent survey conducted by payments processing company BillingTree, 33% of respondents said they were planning on adding IVR technology within the year, and in a recent webinar on IVR hosted by BillingTree, 32% of respondents confirmed these findings. IVR is certainly front of mind for these companies.

The benefits of using IVR are not just in cost, but it also added a very valuable customer support service. And we are finding that organizations are experiencing other key benefits from using IVR – in particular in meeting the stringent and growing demands of compliance.

The growing requirement to be compliant with the rigorous standards in the debt collection industry is arguably one of the biggest headaches for any company collecting payments and we are seeing companies starting to look to technology such as IVR to help keep them compliant. On our webinar, in response to the question “What is your top consideration when selecting an IVR system?” some 18% said they were looking for increased compliance.

Just how does IVR do that? Here are some very simple rules to follow to ensure that IVR and compliance go hand in hand:

First, it's important to verify information. When setting up your system, and to ensure compliance,  it is important that you as a business verify information before allowing the customer to make a payment. This can include security questions such as a PIN code or a password.

Secondly, keep your knowledge of the law up to date. Make you are current on federal law, state law, card brands & NACHA, and ensure your system and practices are complying with these.

Also, it's important to remember thatIVR is based on automated scripts, and provides a perfect way of ensuring you remain compliant and within the laws, rules and regulations. Consumers will hear and be asked the appropriate questions in order to meet compliance standards—and with an IVR solution, you have a recording for auditing and proof of customer conversations during the course of every call.

We hear a lot about the importance of customer service and the customer experience in retail and service industries, but perhaps not so much in the collections of payments. But IVR is certainly a great way to improve the customer experience. By providing customers with a simple automated method to pay a bill when and how they want to, you significantly reduce the amount of work customers have to do in order to make a payment as well as letting the customer know whether that payment has been accepted or declined, so that they—and you as a business—can then take the appropriate measures.

And remember, IVR technology is not just a great way to improve your payment collections, compliance and customer service—ultimately it will allow more free time for your collections agents to deal with more difficult payment issues.

Dave Yohe is head of corporate marketing for BillingTree. The company's recent webinar on IVR can be found at http://info.mybillingtree.com/WBN2014-08-26SpotlightSeries-IVRWebinar.html