In my last blog post, I explained why it is absolutely vital that the tool your court uses to collect court payments is designed for cellular users. In this post, we will continue exploring court payments and collections, their costs to courts and the public, and some of the features eCourtDate offers that will help your court collect more of their fines faster and with lower costs.
The steep cost of court fines and fees
While the amount of court debt varies by the size and structure of the court, and is affected by numerous interworking factors, all across the country courts are owed back fines and fees. Even small court systems report debts in the millions. To complicate things, reporting on the monetary cost of collecting these court payments is complex and difficult to pin down. The cost is shared among departments and divisions, and labor costs for judges, bailiffs, clerks, supervisors, and law enforcement can not often be parsed simply into time spent in collections and time spent on other duties. But rest assured, that over most of the country, the collection of fines, fees and court costs takes the time and energy of numerous court employees across the organization. These collection tasks cost real labor dollars, and divert time from primary tasks for these individuals.
Some courts and court researchers who have tried to pin this cost of collection down have found that the cost outweighs the actual collections. One study found that it cost the court $1.17 to collect every dollar from court payments. While a court is not a business with the goal of making money, it certainly seems there should be a more efficient way to collect what it is owed. Reducing the amount of time it takes to collect each payment can seriously reduce this cost by eliminating hours of labor.
So, how do you collect court payments faster? And with less labor costs?
The easy answer here is that you use the right tools. Like eCourtDate.
Marketers and business gurus have long known that if you want the public to do something, it helps to make doing that thing as easy as possible. People do not enjoy jumping through hoops to give anyone their money- they want quick, simple, and intuitive tools. Retailer apps have boomed in the past 5 years to do just this.
With personalized payment portals that link from emails and texts that we send automatically (more on this in a moment) that same app functionality that your client is accustomed to using to order their Chipotle and Starbucks is available to them for your court.
Automated Text and Email Payment Reminders
(And Court Date Reminders, and victim notifications, and drug test reminders, and wait list notifications, and more! eCourtDate really does it all! There are so many blogs to write!)
Your court needs to collect payments from a bunch of people, right? You could have someone on your payroll send emails and texts to a giant list of people on a regular basis. OR you could have eCourtDate send them for you. You will love how simple the process is- and our customer support team will walk you through every step of set up and beyond. We are passionate about Technology, and Justice- so we are always available to help!
Automated Court Notifications Sent Your Way
Your client lists can be uploaded automatically on a schedule, or any time you choose to manually. Your templates can be designed to use smart merge tags that can insert dynamic content, like Client Name, or Amount Owed, into them automatically. We’ll even help you write them if you want, or provide a list of samples and suggestions. And we will send them out when you choose- you want them sent every day, every 3 days, every week? We can do that. We can even send on different schedules to different groups to address whatever the needs of your court are.
Every Message is Linked to a Payment Portal
Now, everyone on that list is automatically getting emails and texts reminding them of their court fine regularly. Not only that, but every one of those messages they get has a handy-dandy hyperlink.
What do you do when you get a text from a trusted source that has a link? YOU CLICK IT, right? I know I do! Your clients will too.
When they arrive on the payment portal page and see just how easy it is to punch in their credit card info and make their payment, they will pay those fines. Honestly- it is easier than customizing my burrito at Chipotle.
You know that part of the infomercial where the guy says “But wait! There’s more!” We have arrived at that part, folks.
Did I mention we are Multilingual?
Court Notifications Sent in Your Client’s Preferred Language
Why is that important? Well, first of all, your client is a lot more likely to pay you if it is easy for them to understand the messages you are sending them. Secondly, not utilizing a client’s preferred language could open up your court to fines and fees related to National Origin Discrimination, which is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We want to help you collect the fines- not incur them. You can enter preferred language with the client information when it is known, or message recipients can choose their own language preference by replying to texts with keywords or they can self-select their preferred language on their Case Portal. Tada…or Voila, depending on what language you choose.
A Messaging Plan for Your Court
We want you to send more frequent and more productive messages to your clients. We want to increase your court’s efficiency and help you collect court payments faster. And we want you to do it in a way that will save your court money, not cost it an arm and a leg. After all, we are tax payers. This is why we have structured our messaging plans to cater to courts of various sizes and structures and to help every court achieve more with less. Choose a tier that works for your court, or partner with us to create a plan that is custom to your court’s needs. Click here to learn more about our pricing.