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

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.

My Life In Jamaica Continues

Well I have been on the island most of 2017 and it continues to amaze me how many advantages their are and how many roadblocks that exist at the same time. From a business point of view the final results are tremendous but the daily struggle is both difficult and daily. The good thing is the clients I am working with only see the end results and have little knowledge of the bumps. Here are a couple examples of the good and frustrating.

My clients are collection agents in the US that are looking for reduced labor costs and at the same time increased liquidation results. By using my turnkey call centres my clients have fixed costs for labor and facilities and that cost is 20-30% of their same costs in the US. This makes it very easy for my clients to come to Jamaica and open a call centre as there will be no surprises due to the fact my turnkey costs are fixed. So this allows my clients to ignore the bumps and it puts all those hurdles on Lighthouse and myself.

One of the biggest hurdles is any type of paperwork on the island. Let me give you an example, to get a local drivers licence I proceeded to the tax office and got an application and some basic direction on the process. I was told to complete the application which requires passport pictures and several other steps and then come back to the tax office and pay a fee.

As I looked at the instructions for the DL application it states the passport images must be signed by a JP or Justice of the Peace. I ask my resources about the JP and learn that its like a cross between a notary and a judge, they are powerful people on the island. The signature of a JP states two things for most transactions on the island 1) that you are who you say you are and 2) that you are a reputable person. Well that second item is very interesting and we all know its hard to vouch for anyones morales and actions.

So I started the DL process because if you on the island for more that 6 months the requirement is to get a local DL. But the requirements to get the DL require a signature of a JP and a JP can only sign for people he or she has known over 24 months or 2 years.

I have to get a DL in 6 months but have to be on island for 2 years to know a JP that can legally sign. HUMMMM, No legal solution to that quandary.

The biggest hurdle is every piece of paperwork requires 4 more pieces of paperwork. I needed a TCC (Tax Compliance Certificate) to complete a work permit application and when I go to the tax office to get the certificate, that states I owes NO taxes I learn I cannot get it till I have a NIS and NHT certificate. I don’t even know what NIS or NHT are at this time but I learn its the National Insurance Scheme and the National Housing Trust and I proceed to two more government offices to wait in line, pay monies and learn more patience. Now its taken 2 days and I still have not gotten the document I needed to get my work permit application completed. HURDLES! HURDLES! PATIENCE!

And at the same time my clients are just happy campers and have no issues because I make sure they don’t. Its good to be a Lighthouse Consulting Jamaica Client.

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.

Three Top Trends In Debt Collection Contacts

The debt collection industry is designed to contact the consumers and disposition the accounts. If the consumer was convinced to pay the account ,that is the desired disposition but no matter if the the disposition is deceased, bankrupt or other statuses the purpose of the contact is to disposition the account. So what are the three top contact trends to get that disposition posted?

As the top operational consultant in the debt collection industry since 2001 I have seen many agencies and law firm strategies to collect and contact consumers. Once the consumer has been identified and the initial talk off is executed what are the three most likely scenarios for that contact?

The first is that the debtor will say “I do not have the money”. 

Well we are all very used to that one but whats the best way to handle that rebuttal? What Lighthouse Consulting teaches is to just listen till you hear something better from the consumer. If the collector has performed the talk off correctly then the last thing said by him or her was something close to “My client shows a balance of $1.234.56 dollars and they desire it paid in full today, how would you like to pay this bill today by card or check?”.

Most collectors cannot just listen to the consumer they prefer to talk but if a collector is trained to ask for the payment in full and just push the mute button till he/she hears a payment offer it’s a game changer.  If the collector can listen long enough he can easily move to the next scenario by the debtor making any kind of offer of repayment.

Most consumers will first say I have no money, then if the collector is still quiet they will give a reason for their non payment and if still nothing from the collector they will offer a small token repayment offer. Now you move to the next scenario. The trick is getting that collector to make the request for payment in full and just listen.

The second scenario is most likely to be “I can pay you $10 a month”. 

Once you have gotten the consumer to offer any repayment plan its all up to how well you can negotiate the deal. This is what the debt collector is looking for, a willing consumer. Now the trick is to gather enough info from the consumer that will lead you to methods of repayment such as a 401K, available line of credit, deferred car payment or other way to pay the bill or negotiate the best possible arrangement or repayment.

The last most likely scenario is “I don’t owe that bill”. 

This is much harder to deal with than the two above rebuttals as you have to try to get the real story so you can determine if its a real, legit dispute, a lie or a partial dispute. Handling disputes is very important and requires a patient debt collector who is able to and willing to listen to the dispute. The biggest job at this point is clearly to document the issue and either use docs already provided by the client to get to the real truth and settlement or to send the details to the client for further documentation of the debt.

So what does all this mean, whats the takeaway? Well in my opinion It reenforces the fact that quality training is required in todays marketplace. If you need more information on The Lighthouse Consulting Collector Training Program contact us at 305-853-8773.

Problems with hiring quality staff? This works like crazy!

As a consultant I have my finger on the pulse of the debt collection industry but even a layman can see that hiring staff is the biggest hurdle in the US today. The $12-$15 hourly employee in the US is a difficult group to hire and train. First they really don’t want an entry level job and they feel they already know everything so training is tough.

Many of my clients come to me to solve this issue and I tell them It’s a social issue not a business issue. I can’t fix the world, I can’t fix the way these employees grew up, but I can fix the problem.

Yes I can fix it by inserting a different culture of staff. Now your wondering where in the United States I will find a different culture than what seems to exist in every City and State in the US. Well the new dilute is not in the US it’s in Jamaica. These employees have none of the same sense of entitlement of the US staff. The staff in Jamaica are happy to have a job and want to be trained.

Lets back up some now. Call Centres are the second largest industry on the island of Jamaica. Vistiprint, Xerox, Fingerhut, AT&T, Verizon, Direct TV and hundreds more have call centres here. Why you ask, great labor rates, great staff and English speaking. Honestly its the ROI. So the idea of a call centre here is not a new idea and the staff have been working different campaigns for decades.

So how do you take advantage of this labor pool without having to figure out the new culture and a new country to do business in? Lighthouse Consulting Jamaica can provide a turn key solution to you as cheap as $10 hourly including labor, technology and support. Yes for just $10 hourly you can get;

An employee

Computer station

Hi speed Internet connection

Cubicle

Chair

IT support

HR support

So thats an all in cost of just $1600 a month per seat. So that collector has to collect just $1600 in fee to break even. I bet your number in the US is 3X to that number or closer to $5000.

All this and the staff are really more trainable and more willing to work. This is how you solve your staffing problems.

Now your saying “but my clients won’t let me outsource to another country”. Well its not outsourcing the way I help you set this up its your office, you own it. Lighthouse is just your landlord, IT and HR support. The office is in your name, Ill show you how to set up everything you need to open your satellite office in Montego Bay or Kingston, Jamaica.

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

My Life In Jamaica And The Heat Of Summer

Well its July in the Caribbean and its hot, not as hot as it’s been in the Western US but it is hot. In Jamaica air conditioning is a luxury not a expectation. Homes here traditionally have AC units only in the bedrooms. Most locals have no AC as electricity is one of the more expensive things on the island. There are no natural resources to burn to run electric plants so Jamaica ships in natural gas from the US to run its plants.

So since my last post lots has happened and a lot more has just gotten delayed in government circles. I have been trying to get all my local docs such as a drivers licence and it is just a big circle of bureaucracy. So to get a new bank account open I needed to register with the NIS office, the National Insurance Scheme. I gathered my local friend/guide and proceeded to the NIS office to get the simple doc which I was told only required proof of your birth to get. I had had my guide go to the NIS office the Friday before to make sure what was required so as not to waste a trip. The following Tuesday we went to the office and it had moved and no-one knew where the government office had moved to. We kept asking people in Sam Sharpe square in Downtown Montego Bay where the NIS office was located a couple days earlier and got a lead as to the new offices location.

Upon arriving at the address given we found a hardware store that reminded me of a big Ace Hardware or a small Home Depot. We abandoned that search and moved on to the next thing on the list buying a TV that I will use as a computer screen at my home office. While we were there we called the NIS office and got no answer. But the guy in the store had a cousin that worked there and called her cell phone to find out that the office was really inside the hardware store from before. We proceeded back to the hardware store and located the temporary office, they are remodelling the one in Sam Sharpe Sq. but they had no phones or computers and could not help me get a NIS card, they suggested I return in a week or so. Welcome to Jamaica.

I was able to get the card in just 20 minutes while visiting Kingston the next week but the drivers license is still in the works. I am getting used to all the delays and hurdles as well as its now my expectation it will take a long time to complete anything so when something happens easily I am surprised and if it takes all day I am prepared as I blocked out the whole day and brought water and snacks.

I spent lots of time last week listening to recordings of the collectors for a particular project that is about 6 weeks into production and was very impressed with the staffs skills. They are performing very well kudos to the clients trainers that came down from the US.

Well Sumfest http://reggaesumfest.com is starting, its the biggest Reggae event in the world, 7 days of music and partying. Its based in Montego Bay so I expect lots of traffic and crazy US and Canadian tourists. Its good for the city in many ways but I like that everything is getting cleaned and painted for the event. It seems like some of these areas only get this attention annually but it really helps the look of the city. All the businesses have new signage, streets are cleaned and curbs have fresh yellow paint. This years festival is the biggest ever.

So if your following this blog your likely interested in agents in Jamaica and this blog shows how valuable my program is by guiding you through all the government hurdles and keeping your costs level even if things like the electric bill increases drastically. No matter what happens your costs are consistent with my program. Call me to learn how you can have staff and overhead in Jamaica at just $10 hourly.