Talent Is Largely Personality In The Right Place

Do you have your employees in the right position? Or worse yet are you not providing your staff the tools they need to succeed?

As a consultant to the debt collection industry my clients open up to me about all of their problems and often what I see is that that the company is not giving the staff everything they need to succeed. Often its because the staff are not interested in what the business owner is saying and the training they are providing. Often the problem lies in the delivery of the message not the actual message.

Many companies do not know how to communicate with their staff in 2017, the style of communication has changed so drastically that many operators are teaching to the deaf and blind because they are teaching the wrong way for the staff they are employing. They need to hire differently or teach differently.

If you desire to teach your staff the way they learn you will get superior results but if you continue to teach the old way you will be teaching to a brick wall. Lighthouse has found that if you can taylor the message that you deliver to the staff to is better consumed. Lighthouse Consulting has developed many channels to teach your staff and we know that using many channels is the correct process. In addition we have proved many times that using a third party to train like Lighthouse Consulting the message is better absorbed.

Call us to discuss our training programs and get that lift you deserv

Why Haven’t You Opened A Collection Shop In Jamaica Yet?

As a debt buyer your profits depend on just two things; production numbers and production costs. If you can reduce both then your profits increase. Jamaica provides both of the things above and it can be your office not someone else’s. By owning and managing the collections in Jamaica yourself you insure success.

Lighthouse Consulting Jamaica has helped several debt buyers, collection agencies and others in the collection industry to open offices in Jamaica. First let’s explore the island and call centres, here is a excerpt from a previous article form Lighthouse Consulting.

“The island of Jamaica in the Caribbean houses the largest group of English speaking call centre workers in the Caribbean. Jamaica is the home to many large call centres and lots more medium and small centres. There are large global call centres like Vistaprint, Xerox, Sutherland Global and many more. They are servicing clients  in English speaking countries all over the world and doing all types of phone campaigns. Technical support, sales, customer service, debt collection and more are performed for clients like AT&T, Amazon, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Fingerhut and even international pizza joints. If it’s a phone and the English language Jamaica is the best place to do business.”  https://www.lighthouseconsultinginc.com/anatomy-of-a-call-centre-worker-in-jamaica/

A great staff member is one who aspires to learn, can be taught, has values aligned with the company, is loyal and comes at a reasonable cost. The issue is 80% of the current staffing pool throughout the US does not meet any of those requirements. So that means that 80% of the people you hire will not still be employed with you in 6-12 months because they do not have what it takes to succeed. This is causing collection agencies in the US to hire 3 people for every seat they own annually and its also keeping most from filling their seats or increasing their staff size to grow. A client in Atlanta recently told me he had 20 seats and sends 80+ W-2’s at the end of the year. This was an excerpt from a previous article https://www.lighthouseconsultinginc.com/do-you-need-a-better-solution-to-your-labor-issues/

So the staff in Jamaica are professional and want to work. They are great employees. And best of all with the help of Lighthouse Consulting you can have that advantage for as low as $10 hourly including everything from computers to staff.

Lighthouse Consulting has created a way for you to set up your own call centre in Jamaica with a fixed cost that is 1/3 or less of your current costs to collect. You can rent everything you need for an hourly rate and not have to worry about surprises. You pay per hour and thats it. All you need to provide is training and accounts to work on your system.

Let me answer all your questions in a 10 minute call and show you why you should be doing business in sunny Jamaica.

Phillip Duff 305-853-8773

Do You Need A Better Solution To Your Labor Issues?

The debt collection industry has changed drastically over the last 40 years and today one of my clients biggest issues are hiring and retention of good staff. The biggest issues I see in my consulting practice is my clients constant staff turnover. That’s why I have expended so much time finding and designing solutions to these same issues.

When I entered the debt collection business things like letters and long distance charges were the big line items on the P&L for most collection agencies. Then, as the marketplace changed it became technology and now it’s progressed to labor. The issues of letters and technology are much easier to fix as its cost related but staffing is dealing with personalities and that’s much different.

When my consulting is focused on saving money with technology or vendor costs it is an stress-free engagement as its just improved processes and superior vendors that are required but when you add the people into the equation it all changes. People are much more problematic to change than a process or vendor. Part of the problem is we have no power over the peoples values, rearing or past experiences so we have difficulty creating the behaviors we desire for a great staff member.

A great staff member is one who aspires to learn, can be taught, has values aligned with the company, is loyal and comes at a reasonable cost. The issue is 80% of the current staffing pool throughout the US does not meet any of those requirements. So that means that 80% of the people you hire will not still be employed with you in 6-12 months because they do not have what it takes to succeed. This is causing collection agencies in the US to hire 3 people for every seat they own annually and its also keeping most from filling their seats or increasing their staff size to grow. A client in Atlanta recently told me he had 20 seats and sends 80+ W-2’s at the end of the year.

So here’s your solution; move your staff to Jamaica.

I have built a turnkey solution to these concerns and its priced at 1/4 of what your paying today. In order to create a turnkey solution for my debt collection clients I have built your call centre, hired your staff and jumped thru all the government hurdles for you already.  Now you just have to log in to your collection system in the cloud and we are off to the races for around $10 an hour including everything. Yes Everything, Internet, computers, cubicles, staff and everything all for around $10 hourly.

Call me to learn more. Phillip W. Duff 305-853-8773

5 Reasons Good Deals Get Rejected

Whether its the negotiation of a bad debt, debt settlement or salary raise there are several ways to succeed and fail in the negotiation process. It’s one thing to lose a deal because you were just far too hard in the negotiation but sometimes the other side is even rejecting your reasonable offers.  When genuine attempts at negotiating in good faith are failing, you need a new approach. The key to success is understanding why people will sometimes reject even your best offers.

  1. You didn’t help them sell it to their partner

The person on the other side of the table might agree that your offer is reasonable, but they will still reject it if they can’t sell it to their spouse or partner. Your job is not simply to convince the person you’re negotiating with, but to help them be an effective ambassador for you when they are speaking to their partners, or others who have a say in what happens. Keep an eye on all of the people who can influence the negotiation on their side, and help build the case that will allow them to get the buy-in required.

If your talking to the husband then ask is he the one who pays the bills if he says yes you are talking to the decision maker. If not you have to help him sell it to his partner.

  1. The deal makes them look bad

People will often reject even fair and generous offers if accepting them will make them look bad.  For example, even a concession on your part that gives them something they would not have otherwise expected can help them declare victory to their side — or at least help them show that all sides had to give in.

By giving them more time or a bigger discount or paying the mailing costs you help them save face.

  1. You didn’t justify it

It’s not enough that you tell them what you want you have to explain why. No matter how reasonable your proposal may seem to you, if you fail to justify it, there is a good chance it will be rejected. Don’t let your offer speak for itself; tell the story that goes with it. If you want action today then tell them why something must be done today.

  1. You didn’t respect their boundaries

Sometimes the problem is that their hands are truly tied. They would be willing to give you more time to make a decision, but they are facing their own deadline. They would be willing to give you more money up front to seal the deal, but they have financial constraints.

The key here is flexibility:: the more currencies you allow someone to pay you in, the more likely you are to get paid. Find a way to discount this or add value in order to get the deal done.

  1. ABC | Always Be Closing

Why should they agree to one of your requests if this will not seal the deal.  If it is genuinely the case, it can help you to let them know that “this gets the deal done.” Or, offer more time if the person can sign an agreement to act in the future. Getting a pre dated payment fits this perfectly, the debtor can’t pay till the next payday by asking for the post dated check you get the deal closed and give the concession at the same time. The thing to remember is that you don’t always need to make a substantive concession in exchange for the concession you are asking for.

Lighthouse Consulting performs training classes for debt collection and debt settlement agents contact us for more info.

Lighthouse Consulting’s Jamaican Call Centres Provide Disaster Assistance To Hurricane Stricken Collection Agencies in the USA

Following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey many debt collection agencies and many other call centre operations have been disrupted. Yes most had or have a disaster plan and can move seats to another location or maybe another city but this is past a weather disaster, it is actually a much bigger problem for the agencies and call centres pocketbooks. These effected companies will, thanks to their disaster  recovery plans keep servicing their clients but the profits will disappear and if the outage continues the money loss will be the massive disaster that drowns the company in debt.

Lighthouse Consulting is here to provide financial relief to those effected agencies and call centres. 

Lighthouse Consulting can help you open an office in sunny Jamaica and have it up and running in weeks. It will be your office not an outsource situation. I can make it a turnkey operation for you, all you need to provide is staff training, a cloud based system and money. I can even guarantee the cost to be consistent and that cost can be as low as $10 hourly including the staff, computers, internet, chairs, cubicles and everything else needed to do business from the island. Thats just $400 a week per staff member.

This is not just a temporary solution its a business strategy that many collection agencies are embracing. And remember the hurricane season for 2017 will be over in a couple weeks. Lighthouse Consulting has been helping agencies set up their own call centres in  Jamaica over the last 2 years and we have created an ease of entry and a program that handles all the government paperwork for you.

I know you have question so click here to see the 3 most asked questions about Jamaican Call Centres.

Click here to explore the costs in a little more detail

Or just email me at phil@lighthouseconsultinginc.com or call me at 305-853-8773 to get started.

5 Reasons Good Deals Get Rejected

Whether its the negotiation of a bad debt, debt settlement or salary raise there are several ways to succeed and fail in the negotiation process. It’s one thing to lose a deal because you were just far too hard in the negotiation. But sometimes the other side is even rejecting your reasonable offers. When genuine attempts at negotiating in good faith are failing, you need a new approach. The key to success is understanding why people will sometimes reject even your best offers.

1. You didn’t help them sell it to their partner
The person on the other side of the table might agree that your offer is reasonable, but they will still reject it if they can’t sell it to their spouse or partner. Your job is not simply to convince the person you’re negotiating with, but to help them be an effective ambassador for you when they are speaking to their partners, or others who have a say in what happens. Keep an eye on all of the people who can influence the negotiation on their side, and help build the case that will allow them to get the buy-in required.
If your talking to the husband then ask is he the one who pays the bills if he says yes you are talking to the decision maker. If not you have to help him sell it to his partner.
2. The deal makes them look bad
People will often reject even fair and generous offers if accepting them will make them look bad. For example, even a concession on your part that gives them something they would not have otherwise expected can help them declare victory to their side — or at least help them show that all sides had to give in.
By giving them more time or a bigger discount or paying the mailing costs you help them save face.
3. You didn’t justify it
It’s not enough that you tell them what you want you have to explain why. No matter how reasonable your proposal may seem to you, if you fail to justify it, there is a good chance it will be rejected. Don’t let your offer speak for itself; tell the story that goes with it. If you want action today then tell them why something must be done today.
4. You didn’t respect their boundaries
Sometimes the problem is that their hands are truly tied. They would be willing to give you more time to make a decision, but they are facing their own deadline. They would be willing to give you more money up front to seal the deal, but they have financial constraints.
The key here is flexibility:: the more currencies you allow someone to pay you in, the more likely you are to get paid. Find a way to discount this or add value in order to get the deal done.
5. ABC | Always Be Closing
Why should they agree to one of your requests if this will not seal the deal. If it is genuinely the case, it can help you to let them know that “this gets the deal done.” Or, offer more time if the person can sign an agreement to act in the future. Getting a pre dated payment fits this perfectly, the debtor can’t pay till the next payday by asking for the post dated check you get the deal closed and give the concession at the same time. The thing to remember is that you don’t always need to make a substantive concession in exchange for the concession you are asking for.
Lighthouse Consulting performs training classes for debt collection and debt settlement agents contact us for more info.

How Do You Pick Out The Great Negotiators In Your Staff? By Their Personality Traits Of Course.

What is it that makes a great negotiator? Why does one person always outperform the others in the staff? Its their personality!

Many articles and books have been written about how to negotiate more effectively but the advice they offer is often difficult to apply.

Research in personality traits provides help in predicting an individual’s ability to negotiate effectively but often the traits are both a benefit and a hindrance at the same time. That isn’t to say people can’t get better at it, but their success will depend on their ability to understand their own and the other party’s personality.

The most influential trait is emotional intelligence. Despite emotional intelligence’s relatively recent appearance in personality traits its one of the highest googled traits today. A recent study by Wharton and MIT professors states that people with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to create  positive mood states in their negotiation counterparts and leave them more satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation.

Emotional intelligence also translates into a favourable  outcome regardless of the objective result. Even more important, emotional intelligence is linked to higher levels of likeablity and self awareness a powerful combination when it comes to difficult negotiations.

Another trait that has shown a strong indication to negotiation skills is a higher IQ.  While one would obviously expect IQ to boost negotiation performance, the research also revealed a more surprising finding: People with higher IQs tend to approach negotiations in a more collaborative way, treating their negotiation counterpart as a partner and embracing win win strategies that lead to both parties satisfaction.

Self-centered people who believe they can “just be themselves” and disregard other people’s needs and desires of them are often praised for their confidence and self-belief. The reality is that those people will miss out on social clues, negative feedback, and the ability to connect. All of this will highly handicap them during a negotiation.

Machiavellianism, a dark-side personality trait associated with a tendency to manipulate and exploit others and behave in risky and antisocial ways, motivates individuals to initiate negotiations and predicts strong negotiation tactics. Evidence suggests that Machiavellians actually do worse in negotiations, perhaps for being overly aggressive.

In order to control our personality, we need to be aware of it, so it is pivotal to understand what our default negotiation tendencies are if we are interested in changing them, or at least inhibiting them during negotiations.

Being aware of your personality will enable you to leverage your own style in situations that are a good fit for it, for talent is largely personality in the right place.

These are all things I teach in training classes with advanced collection agents and lawyers. If you desire more info on the Lighthouse Training and Development Programs contact Phillip W. Duff at phil@lighthouseconsultonginc.com

If Your Afraid Of Getting A Bad Apple Don’t Go To The Barrel Go Directly To The Tree

This is a quote from the movie “Untouchables” and in one part of the movie they were talking about being able to find cops who were not corrupt. Today many creditors, collection agencies and law firms are having trouble with staffing for many reasons, one of the biggest is employees come with too many bad habits. Most companies want to hire experienced debt collectors or at least staff experienced in some type of call center work and that is just like getting an apple from the barrel, it may be a bad apple. The reason that the companies go to the barrel instead of the tree is because they lack a proper and effective training program.

When I go do my consulting and I am in the initial stages I ask about the training programs of the company and I never hear “we have a great program let me show you”. I hear things like “we do a lot of side by side training” or “we have a week long training program that everyone completes”. Why don’t you have a training program I ask, one that is ongoing forever and has the ability to develop the staff not just train them? And they look like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck.

The problem lies in the fact that most companies do not believe that the investment in training and development will actually pay off and secondly they just don’t know how to create such an extensive program.

The cost to create the program is actually not the problem for most agencies it’s taking one of the three people who can write it and giving them the 6 months needed to create the program. In most cases the few people in the company with the overall knowledge to write this type document are the people who keep the company running daily. If they cease doing their daily tasks to write the document the company will suffer financially and operationally. What you need a complete program that you can adjust to meet your companies policies.

Well your lucky because Lighthouse Consulting has created extensive staff development programs over the years and we can help you to create one that will reduce your turnover and increase the skill level of your staff.

If you see the value in training and development contact me for a sample of the Lighthouse Staff Development program and you’ll see the value quickly.

Phillip W. Duff 305-853-8773

Anatomy Of A Call Centre Worker In Jamaica

Anatomy Of A Call Centre Worker In Jamaica

The island of Jamaica in the Caribbean houses the largest group of English speaking call centre workers in the Caribbean. The number 2 business in Jamaica is Call centres. Tourism is the number 1 industry but there are an estimated 150,000 call centre workers on the island of just 3 million people. So let me tell you more about that average worker here on the island.

Jamaica is the home to many large call centres and lots more medium and small centres. There are large global call centres like Vistaprint, Xerox, Sutherland Global and many more. They are servicing clients  in English speaking countries all over the world and doing all types of phone campaigns. Technical support, sales, customer service, debt collection and more are performed for clients like AT&T, Amazon, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Fingerhut and even international pizza joints. If it’s a phone and the English language Jamaica is the best place to do business.

Lets look at the average employee of these call centres. 80 percent or more of all call centre workers are female and a high percentage of those females are single parents. Historically women have been the primary call centre workers as the men have cultural differences that make it more difficult for them to conform to the standards required by working for a centre. The women have children to support so they, like most mothers across the world will do whats required to support their family. The majority of the men resist the culture change required to stay employed as a call centre worker. Uniforms, time clocks, and lots of rules and regulations deter the average male from the centres but that is changing drastically in the last 5 years. I believe this adoption by males to work at call centres will continue.

The average call centre worker enters the work force after high School so the average age worker is probably 21-24 years old. Many of the workers are 18-19 years of age. Call centres require lots of pre employment screening and testing as well as “good scores” or high grades in High School in related classes and skills. The high schools have curriculum that directly relates to things like english language proficiency, math skills, reading and more to better serve the call centre industry. The island is aligned to serve the tourists and the call centre as its accounts for a large percentage of the total economy.

The average worker does not have a car, in fact most Jamaicans do not have a car its a society of taxis and buses. The average worker lives 45 minutes to one hour away but may require a 2 hour commute daily with multiple taxis involved. Transportation is cheap because its all shared rides so the taxi is always full with other workers but the average worker spend 10-20% of their daily income on transportation.

Call centre workers are generally started at a entry level pay rate. Once they are trained and productive they can easily make much more than that. Most call centres have bonus plans and good benefits like day care, insurance and more. One of the issues that is experienced on the island is late or sick staff but it can be managed if you understand the staffs motivation and work to teach them better habits. It’s cultural to be late so it takes some work to overcome, Island time is the mentality.

Lets talk attitude and dreams. The average worker has a great attitude and dreams of owning a home and car. They want a better life for their children. They see so many things getting better, they see opportunity, they have a vision of a better island. Remember that they have only been governing themselves since 1962. Its a young government and young country.

Overall the workers are very trainable, have great attitudes and want to work and grow as employees and as citizens.

EVERYONE Won’t But SOMEBODY Will

In a way this should be the motto of all debt collectors. When I started as a bill collector in the late 1970’s one of the first things I was taught by GC Services was that it was a numbers business. I was told I could expect that only X% of the accounts would pay so I should expect severals “no’s” for every ‘yes”. So when I got a no or a yes I was a happy collector because I was told that my job entailed getting “no’s and yes’s”. This helped me from getting frustrated as both the “no’s and yes’s” were part of the job expectation.

So the truth about debt collection is its a contact sport, get that contact with the consumer and find out if its a no or a yes. Most US trainers do not teach this anymore they teach a mentality that the yes is the only answer that your looking for which leads to a much different mental attitude for the debt collector. If my job is to get several no’s to my one yes then I am just as happy to get the third no in a row as I am to get the one yes, as its moving me closer to another yes.

So the statement that everyone won’t, but someone will explained the mentality that is really required to deal with todays consumers. This is the message a very compliant shop will push to their staff. This is what Lighthouse Consulting teaches in its collector training classes.

Here are other segments included in the Lighthouse Collector Training program;

  • Listening skills
  • Patience pays off with information
  • Use the mute button to hear better
  • Sell on term not payment amount
  • Own the negotiation with one easy move

The Lighthouse training program focusses on teaching collector skills not compliance requirements or asset class distinctions. We teach everything your not already teaching and we will reenforce your primary teaching solutions at the same time. We teach the collectors from their level and do not try to teach over their heads.

The program is a 3.5 hour program and can be performed for as little as $60 per staff member *with a minimum of 50 staff. Everyone won’t train the basics but Lighthouse does.

Call Phillip W. Duff for more info at 305-853-8773