Listen long enough and you will hear a solution

Owners and managers of Collection agencies are just like the collectors that work for them and in most cases they got it honestly. They just don’t listen. When I do collector training 50% of the training is listening skills I teach the collector to listen long enough to get some offer of payment. Owners and managers who probably started as debt collectors have similar issues regarding improvements to the collection process.

As a consultant I am constantly sending emails like this or writing blogs that provide Solutions or at least hint at the solutions to today’s problems in the ARM industry. But just like the collector that doesn’t listen long enough to get a commitment of payment which will start the negotiation process the owners think they already have all the answers and turn their minds off two other solutions. When I started consulting 15 years ago I worried that finding better solutions would be difficult I quickly learned that what is difficult is getting the persons by-in to a new process. Most people do not like change and therefore just ignore improvements.

The face of the debt collection industry it Is changing and becoming much more electronic. As this change occurs everyone in the industry must embrace those changes and be willing to make the proper improvements. As we move to a self cure collection strategy how we use our live agents becomes even more important. More and more consumers will choose to self cure as the electronic options become more consumer friendly and available. Self cure liquidation rates will only be driven by the strategies used to drive consumers to that website or IVR. Once the consumer is logged in to your payment portal only the strength of your portal Will collect the bill.

The biggest gains in liquidation rates Will be driven by the inbound and outbound call strategies. As the self cure options reduce the number of inbound and outbound calls the quality of those calls becomes more important exponentially. Owners need to listen to experts like myself who are able to provide solutions that can blend self cure with call strategies that maximize both the timing of the contact, the type of contact and the strategy behind that contact method.

Emails, Texting, IVR’s, Manual calls, Letters, Payment sites and inbound calls all need to be blended not only for a effectiveness but also for compliance. As we move to a multichannel collection process including all of the methods listed above we will need to track Communications not only for compliance, Best practices and the results we will also need to understand what drove the consumer to pay. Was it the letter that drove them to the payment site, or was it the message they heard while on hold at your call center? We need to be able to track all of those consumer interactions to be able to create best practices.

If you ever heard what I am saying and you are ready to hear more I would love to talk to you. Please call me at 904-687-1687 to discuss.

Phillip W. Duff

CEO Lighthouse Consulting

My thoughts and observations from the recent DBA conference

Well it was the 20th conference for the debt buyers and it was well attended and was upbeat for a change. As I usually do here is my thoughts and observations firm the conference.

People

Well the players are changing along with the name of the association. As new debt buyers emerge the look of the DBA will also evolve into something that can survive in today debt purchase marketplace. The attitude of the people attending was much more upbeat that the last few years and this I will attribute to Trump.

Many of the people I have talked to during the conference have confirmed that they are much more optimistic than past years just due to the change in Presidents. People who I know had gotten out of the business and not attended the conference recently were back with smiles.

New

There was lots of talking about changes in the industry like Discover requiring partners to take payments away form the call recording devices to reduce the possibility of that call recording system being hacked and credit card info being available in the recordings. Patient financing for the healthcare agencies and buyers in the new thing as well. I meet a guy who is buying medical debt and forgiving it. The company is a charity and takes donations.

There was lots of talk about self cure processes and near shore shops. Both vendors, agencies and debt buyers are now moving processes and agents to near shore call centers with Jamaica being the prime location.

Vendors

The overall vendor attendance was low but the main players were all there. Stratics had the oversized booth that stuck out like a red headed step child. This proves there is a war for clients coming in the ringless voice mail segment currently owed by Vo Apps. This contact method for cell phones is defiantly the cheapest method to reach cell phones.

The vendors all seemed to be busy during the cocktail hours and lunches but not much traffic otherwise.

Conclusions

The debt purchase industry is reinventing itself and the people involved are positive it will work. The old school debt buyers are retiring and moving on to their next career or golf game. The vendors are all suffering as the overall volume of business is down 20%. The industry will continue to embrace technology and reduced labor costs to collect money and the industry will evolve to meet the challenges.

How do you create and sustain increases in efficiency and performance in todays ARM marketplace?

When a business starts up it’s generally amazingly efficient, you must be as they do not have the resources and client base to survive in any other manner. Growth leads to decreased efficiency and performance. There are three principal reasons for these changes.

Changes in the business environment- competition, technology and market changes all affect the way you do business.
 Increased complexity- the more employees systems and services after the confusion levels.
And resistance to change- which is a normal human reaction.

Each of these conditions reflects the same core issues, performance is deficient and improvements or not sustainable. To solve these problems we need a new structure to sustain the changes and produce the desired results.
If you want to sustain change you will have to develop a structure that can deliver the preferred results in a natural outcome of the improved processes. This can be obtained with a few leverage techniques in the buy in of your management team.

The processes are the problem and the solution

A business as a sole of it’s processes they are complex and often need improvement processes create results good or bad and your processes may be the solution to increased efficiency in your business the question is how to create sustainable changes.

Desired performance versus actual performance

How we create the desired performance daily? This can be obtained by creating sustainable changes within the process of your business. This changes difficult to achieve but with the correct balance within the management team and employees preferred performance can exist.

Your existing processes of the solution and when improve in a manner that creates the results solve automatically or as a byproduct of the processes the results will then be sustainable. The processes have a structure defined by the interaction of its components the structure is more powerful than any employees ability to impact it. Structure and processes drive to your performance.

The best way to achieve this change of structure is with changes in your current processes. These changes must be planned in developed it before messages I her levels. In order to achieve this you may need to improve or re-create your current processes and this may take an external force to help create new structures as changes are more difficult to sustain without the correct procedure in place.

How can technology create sustainable improvements?

Since processes are a big part of todays work flows we need to be able to control those processes and technology can do that. By using a platform that can help you define and control the business processes you have defined as best practices you will be able to sustain those improvements. Technology can block users from using another process and guarantee your process is adhered to.