Naked Is The Best Disguise For The Collection Industry

The collection industry has always had a bad reputation and in the beginning it was well deserved in my opinion. In one of my interviews I spoke with Harvey Vengroff about the early days here is an excerpt from that interview in 2013.

Next he told a story about work releases from the local jail and hiring thugs to collect the receivables, working off 3X5 cards and of hiring ranked boxers and former “FBI Most Wanted “as staff.  Harvey smiles as he remembers this period.  “As things change you adapt, it is not nearly as much fun now as it was then.   I was 21-22 years old and I had a bunch of tough guys working for me.  It was fun to hit people and get paid for it, now you have to do things according to a set of rules.”  He sighed after that statement as if the memory was fond to him.

Read the whole interview here  

Harvey was just being honest and now his company is well known for compliance. But now that the 1950’s is long behind the industry and its been over 40 years since the FDCPA was written whats the reputation of the industry look like today? Horrible! What are you doing to change that?

I think part of the problem is exactly that, we are not doing enough to create good press and deal with the bad press. I understand why, the press is consumer facing and they will always take the side of the masses. I have a close friend in the industry who did an interview for the press and tried to relay a clear message to the interviewer but when the article was published it was full of just the points that a consumer would want to hear or expect to hear, the message was gone. This is another reason we need to create positive press.

The answer is not to hide but come out and been seen. If we show ourselves as an industry like a naked person does in a nudest camp maybe we can also see our faults and opportunities to be more consumer centric. So how do we create positive press? It’s right in front of you, its all the consumers you deal with daily that are happy with your service but do not post a positive review because you did not ask them to.

Yes I am proposing that you ask debtors to post a review of your service. CRAZY HUH!

And you should also answer all the negative posts and try to mitigate the bad review or get it deleted. Yes I am saying contact the debtor and try to resolve the complaint. Even if that complaint was sent to www.pissedconsumer.com or www.ripoffreport.com or a site that does not require an answer, unlike the BBB or the CFPB. You need to address all complaints in real time on every complaint website on the web. Now your asking how the heck your going to do that, read on my friend.

Online reputation management is not new but it is new to debt collections, here is how it works. Lighthouse Consulting aggregates your good and bad consumer reviews from over 100 websites like Facebook, BBB, Twitter, Pissed Consumer and Google so your company can easily monitor what your customers are saying about you — in real-time!

You can hear every word stated about your business on Social media. Lighthouse Reputation Beacon is a service that automatically sends a review request to your company or the CEO’s cell phone, scoring new reviews for your business directly on Google and Facebook. Imagine a collection agency asking for consumer reviews, thats new! It will make your agency stand out.

Google your company right now, I’ll wait…… and if its indexed by google you’ll see google reviews which you can click on and see whats posted about your company. Most of you have never done this.

Lighthouse Reputation Beacon aggregates your reviews from top review sites. See what consumers are saying about your agency or law firm, in real-time.

With Lighthouse Reputation Beacon, your business can manage negative reviews with easy-to-use tools to address customer feedback quickly.  Your companies great reviews are collected from major sites are indexed by search engines for higher search ranking.

Price is so cheap you’ll say yes with little thought, call me 904-687-1687.

Watch a video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soA49gtakZQ  or Contact Phillip W. Duff at phil@lighthouseconsultinginc.com for more info

Your clients reputation is at stake! How do you protect it?

Online reputation is everything today. No-one really ask live people for references any more they look at various sites online to see reviews and complaints. Ripoffreport.com and pissedconsumer.com as well as Google.com are the new reference providers to the web save consumer. The problem is when you as a collection provider get a complaint in most cases the original creditor is named in the content of the complaint. They may be complaining about what your agent did or did not do but the consumer relates it as ABC collections who is collecting my Oak Hospital bill. How do you protect your client as well as yourself? I’ll show you.

Online reputation management is not new but it is new to debt collections, here is how it works. Lighthouse Consulting aggregates your good and bad consumer reviews from over 100 websites like Facebook, BBB, Twitter, Pissed Consumer and Google so your company can easily monitor what your customers are saying about you — in real-time!

You can hear every word stated about your business on Social media. Lighthouse Reputation Beacon is a service that automatically sends a review request to your company or the CEO’s cell phone, scoring new reviews for your business directly on Google and Facebook. Imagine a collection agency asking for consumer reviews, thats new! It will make your agency stand out.

Google your company right now, I’ll wait…… and if its indexed by google you’ll see google reviews which you can click on and see whats posted about your company. Most of you have never done this.

Lighthouse Reputation Beacon aggregates your reviews from top review sites. See what consumers are saying about your agency or law firm, in real-time.

With Lighthouse Reputation Beacon, your business can manage negative reviews with easy-to-use tools to address customer feedback quickly.  Your companies great reviews are collected from major sites are indexed by search engines for higher search ranking.

Watch a video here https://youtu.be/KrUNnJLocUk or Contact Phillip W. Duff at phil@lighthouseconsultinginc.com for more info

Do you want to control your companies online reputation on all the top consumer review/complaint websites?

Lighthouse Consulting aggregates your good and bad consumer reviews from over 100 websites like Facebook, BBB, Twitter, Pissed Consumer and Google so your company can easily monitor what your customers are saying about you — in real-time!

You can hear every word stated about your business on Social media. Lighthouse Reputation Beacon is a service that automatically sends a review request to your company or the CEO’s cell phone, scoring new reviews for your business directly on Google and Facebook.

Lighthouse Reputation Beacon aggregates your reviews from top review sites. See what consumers are saying about your agency or law firm, in real-time.

With Lighthouse Reputation Beacon, your business can manage negative reviews with easy-to-use tools to address customer feedback quickly.  Your companies great reviews are collected from major sites are indexed by search engines for higher search ranking

Your positive reviews are auto-published to Facebook, Twitter, website, custom review site and 50+ consumer site.

You can generate a steady flow of positive reviews from your happy customers, via mobile, check-in, SMS & email campaign. And all the aggravated reviews are sent to you in real time so you can take action immediately.

With the Lighthouse Reputation Beacon, your business is found by search engines — accurately and up-to-date — across all the major consumer sites.

Lighthouse Reputation Beacon will generate and download ROI reports showing growth in reviews, ratings, traffic and ROI to support business decisions.

This service is very affordable, to learn more call Phillip W. Duff at 904-687-1687 X 101.

Is Your Payment Website going To Penalized By Google?

Google wants the web to be traveling over a secure channel. That’s why in the future your Chrome browser will flag unencrypted websites as insecure, displaying a red “x” over a padlock in the URL bar. If your payment site is not secure your site can be labeled as non-secure by Google and this could stop your revenue stream.

Lighthouse Consulting provides marketing services to many companies in the ARM industry and we have many programs to make sure your technology is advanced and able to handle todays consumer actions with ease and securely. This is why we felt it important to notify the rest of the industry as we now most of you have no idea of these types of changes till they have been impacted by the changes.

With this upcoming change in Chrome, Google makes it clear that the web of the future should all be encrypted, and all sites should be served over HTTPS, which is essentially a secure layer on top of the usual HTTP web protocol.

Starting in January with Chrome 56, password or credit card form fields on non-encrypted sites will be labeled “not secure.”

In following releases, those warnings will be extended by labeling HTTP pages as “not secure” in Incognito mode, where users may have higher expectations of privacy.

Eventually, all HTTP pages will be labeled non-secure, and the HTTP security indicator will change to the red triangle/exclamation mark that Google uses for broken HTTPS.

If your current website host or marketing team needs a professional edition then call Lighthouse Consulting today and ask for Phillip W.Duff at 904-687-1687 X 101.

“¡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.

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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.

Everyone Has a Smart Phone Why Don’t You Have a Smart Collection Strategy to Match?

Max McKeown famously said, “Adaptability is the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.”

Eniac_Aberdeen

The debt collection industry has found itself facing increased regulations as the industry adapts to new laws and legal precedent regarding collection practices. These changes have led to exploding compliance budgets, as companies scramble to meet ever-changing standards. Strategy changes within your company must match new compliance requirements, enabling your company to rise to the top of this dynamic industry.

One of the more difficult regulations that have evolved revolves around contacting debtors on their cell phones, TCPA. As more consumers ditch landlines, and nearly 2/3rds of adults rely on smartphones for both personal and business contacts, accessing this communication channel has become a high priority.

What you need is a smart strategy that will work with all of your consumer’s smartphones. 

notification-of-new-message-on-smart-phone

The best strategy a company can incorporate is enticing customers to “opt-in” to email and text messaging. By communicating with the consumer via their smartphone, you will have higher contact rates and stronger results. I recommend that my clients use every opportunity to get the consumer’s permission for both cell phone and email messages. The successful implement of this strategy requires the company to add verbiage to all current communication methods, providing the customer with ample opportunity to approve additional channels. With every phone conversation and every collection letter sent, additional contact methods should be requested. Even hold music, and payment site visits can promote the benefits of opting in by providing a pathway for the consumer to sign up for your Smartphone strategy.

Once the customer has accepted communication through their Smart Phone, we can create a strategy around both texting and emails that drive the consumer to self-cure at your payment site or drive a compliant inbound call.

These are the smartest strategies to adopt because they remain fully compliant and offer the lowest cost per transaction.

The Truth About Debt Collection Emails

Email vendors have become the used car salesman of the debt collection world. They are more focused on dated platforms and strong armed sales tactics to scare collection companies into buying their services, than providing meaningful solutions.

notification-of-new-message-on-smart-phone

Common tactics include convincing debt collection companies that you must send an encrypted email with a PDF of your collection letter to be compliant. They claim that you have privacy responsibilities that stop you from doing it any other way and the BEST delivery method they offer ensures the delivery of the email. These companies offer minimal reporting that confirms an email was delivered but shows no record of whether it was actually received or read. For example, if you send an email to John@debtors.com, who is to say it did not wind up in the consumer’s spam box? Most email vendors tell you this is all the reporting that is available.

Well, guess what? Most email platforms can only complete the above tasks because they have not invested in the newest available technology. It is easier to convince you nothing else is available than to update their platform to more useful technology.

The truth is that you can deliver emails to the consumer’s inbox. Dynamic reporting paradigms are available, but the service costs extra to vendors, so they avoid offering the additional services. Reporting can tell you when and where the email was delivered, read, opened, deleted, saved and much more. The technology available identifies if the consumer clicked a link and visited your payment site. We can track how long they were on your payment site and what the outcome was.

You can send emails with no consumer ID info or ID to the debt and not encrypt them! We can set up triggers in the email platform that send an email based on the consumer’s actions. Let’s say the consumer gets the email and clicks to the payment site and then authenticates himself. They view a monthly payment offer and then abandon the pay site without completing the transaction. We can set a trigger that sends them an email asking if he needs help paying or wants an agent to call?

With the use of Message Transfer Agents (MTAs) you can communicate via email, through a secure connection, authenticate the user, and provide repayment solutions to the debtor, through their preferred communication channels. This technology is available today, and SoftVu specializes in helping debt collection companies streamline collections in a cost effective way.

Email communication is the future of debt collections. Other vendors are way behind in their technology. But I have your back! Reduce your costs of collection and regain control of your collection strategies through today’s latest technology.

Call me for more info at 904-687-1687.

What Does The Famous Poem El Dorado And Compliance Have In Common?

My favorite poem has been Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe since I was in elementary school in the late 60’s. At that point in my life I was a poor, only child of a single mother in Southern Georgia and thought the idea of travel seemed so exciting we had only traveled to Tennessee to see family and Summers I spent time at my Grandparents house which was only 60 miles away. The time at grandmas was half child labor as I had to shuck bushels of peas, can vegetables and tend the garden and half a great leaning experience. But I wanted to see the world not just places with relatives. I wanted to find a spot of ground that was perfect, I was in search of Eldorado.

conquistadors

The poem speaks of a gallant Knight on horseback who is searching for Eldorado for most of his life and is finally told its there, just over the mountains and over the moon. Well Compliance is also there just over the moon in the valley of the shadow. Compliance like Eldorado is about the search, the horse ride, not absolute compliance.

In 2016 finding compliance to all the regulations and state requirements requires a long ride over the mountains and over the moon. So lets discuss how most of the agencies and law firms I run across are handling the compliance journey. ….

Gaily bedight,

   A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,   

   Had journeyed long,   

   Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old—

   This knight so bold—   

And o’er his heart a shadow—   

   Fell as he found

   No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength   

   Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow—   

   ‘Shadow,’ said he,   

   ‘Where can it be—

This land of Eldorado?’

   ‘Over the Mountains

   Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,   

   Ride, boldly ride,’

   The shade replied,—

‘If you seek for Eldorado!’