Jamacian Call Center News

One of the services provided by Lighthouse Consulting is near shore call center management, consulting and agency set up, particularly on the island of Jamaica. So in order to better educate my US call center operators I will start providing information about call centers that are involved in debt collection, debt settlement or other ARM services in Jamaica.

an overturned boat on the beach in the Caribbean. Boat is painted "Rasta" colors.

an overturned boat on the beach in the Caribbean. Boat is painted “Rasta” colors.

Let’s start by giving you some information. Jamaica is a major call center destination receiving and making calls around the world to English-speaking countries. Call centers handle everything from Pizza delivery orders in Montréal, Medicaid healthcare products sales, Cable TV sales, debt collection and many other projects. There are tens of thousands of trained call center workers in Montego Bay and Kingston. Vistaprint has they’re only worldwide call center in Montego Bay and is one of the major employers of the city. Delta, Fingerhut, American Airlines, Insurance companies and many more all use call centers on the island.

I first came to the island as an auditor for collection accounts that were placed in there with Alliance One in 2000. So as you can see the island has a long history of debt collection. In future articles I will provide information on some of the call centers that currently exist on the island and how they may Bring value to your debt collection operation. With the average wages for a trained bill collector in Jamaica equaling half that of the US and similar results, the ROI is easy to caculate.

Reasons to use a Call Center in Jamaica

English is the primary language 

Accents are mild and pleasant

Jamaica is a call center hub

Favorable wages 

ROI is high VS USA staff

Close to manage (1 hour flight from Miami, 2 hour flight from D.C.)

Work lower unit yield accounts at a profit

Data entry and admin functions

Insurance reps

Transfer agents

wZtizoK

“¡Me pica qué, me rasca aquí! Translated “It itches me here, but you are scratching me there.”

The Quote above is from Judge Million of People’s Court. In the court case, the judge quoted this Cuban phrase, describing a defendant’s avoidance in answering her question, by answering a different question.

judge-milian-photos-i18

Question avoidance, intentionally or unintentionally, is a common issue in the debt collection process. The agent is seeking specific information that will help him or her collect the debt. Yet they ask a question that leaves the door open for a variety of answers. The individual on the other end of the line ends up providing useless data to the agent.

A debt collection call is much like the job interview process. Many common questions are looking for specific answers, even though the question is vague. For example, it is common to ask an interviewee to, “tell me about yourself.” The manager wants specific work history that relates to the job in question, helping the interviewer to evaluate their work experience. If the applicant responds with places they have lived and their growing up years, this information does not provide valuable insight regarding the type of employee they are. Employers are fortunate that most job applicants understand the questions intent and give the manager what they want, even when questions are obscure.

The collection industry does not work with customers educated in the debt collection process. Consumers require more guidance and handholding, in the form of the right questions. Customers are not typically experienced with the debt collection process, and may be hesitant to cooperate because they don’t want information they provide used against them.

It is the agent’s job to ask quality questions that provide clear guidance on the information they need, and this comes with proper training. Staff training is essential to your business because the agents must remain compliant with regulations, obtain valuable information about the consumer’s financial situation, and bring them into an agreement on a payment arrangement. Those are not the skills of a rookie.

In order to avoid the situation faced by Judge Million, agents must have the grace of a Gazelle with the questioning skills of a lawyer. They must lead the consumer to the conclusion that the agent will help them pay off the debt within their financial constraints and move the collection process forward. Lawyers much like debt collectors must phrase each sentence in a specific manner to increase the likelihood of gathering useful information.

Lighthouse Consulting has almost two decades of experience working with companies just like yours. Their industry experience can train your staff to quickly and efficiently obtain the information required to collect on the debt.

Contact us today to learn how we can increase the efficiency of your staff through proper training.

Do Not Utter The “F” Word

Debt collection is a high stakes game centered around high emotions on both sides.

160934-165373

The trouble is, when emotions get out of hand, you lose control of the debt collection process.

Always remember Failure is not an option. Uttering the “F” word in this industry spells trouble for your business. However, success is dependent on finding creative solutions that address the many industry issues companies face.

When emotions get high self preservation kicks in quickly, creating defensiveness and instincts resembling the fight or flight response to danger. Consumers are keen to preserve income by failing to pay, and debt collectors must extract payments to stay in business. Compromise and cooperation can be hard to come by, with so much at stake.

Collection agencies are in a tough business right now. We face issues created by regulations, which largely favor the consumer. We face issues created by the debtors, who refuse to pay their obligations or follow through with payment agreements. We face issues created internally by staff or infrastructure. To succeed in this environment companies must refuse to accept Failure as not an option and find innovative ways to succeed.

As a consultant in the industry for the last two decades, I have seen a major industry shift in compliance making it more difficult and expensive to operate your business. The result is the cream rising to the top. The very best collection agencies and law firms are spending the time and money to ensure failure does not occur. They are finding success by aligning with vendors specializing in the industry, improving training for staff, hiring industry consultants who understand the challenges you face, and improving their procedures and processes. The cream rising to the top will lead the collection industry for decades to come.

As a consultant in the debt collection industry, I see both sides of the fence. On the one side are aggressive agencies seeking out improvements, training, automation and better processes. On the other side are agencies doing just the minimum to get by, hoping the regulatory environment will change before they have to spend the money on upgrades. It is very obvious to an industry veteran, like myself, which strategies are the most successful.

Most owners and managers are burdened with daily operations tasks to keep the agency or law firm profitable and in compliance. They do not have the time to investigate the necessary improvements required to maximize efficiency and stay on top of new compliance rules. This reactionary response is more expensive in the long run than taking a proactive approach to legislative changes. As CFPB enforcement increases, it makes more sense than ever to hire an outside consultant to provide innovative solutions for your agency or firm. Changes in both compliance and technology are creating both roadblocks and opportunities for those on the leading edge. Identifying which is essential to an agencies success.

Lighthouse Consulting has been a beacon of knowledge in the debt collection industry for almost 20 years. If you are looking for reliable advice and an intimate understanding of your needs, contact Lighthouse Consulting for information on our services.