National Skip Tracing Month
Menu

Prevent Waste from the Beginning with Skip Tracing

  • Written by Joshua Fluegel

Being unable to locate a consumer to close an account makes every other investment in collection tools and processes a waste. Therefore establishing a flawless skip tracing procedure should be near the top of every accounts receivable professionals priorities. A mistake could cost an accounts receivable entity time, money and possibly open it up to legal repercussions. Collection Advisor spoke to skip tracing solution vendors to find out about mistakes they see professionals make and how they can be avoided.

Jonathan Brooks President of LocateSmarter

What is a misstep you see accounts receivable professionals make when handling batches for skip tracing and how do they prevent it?
Too many companies make choices on price, when they need to think about cost; the cost of wrong numbers, the cost of fewer right-party connects, the cost of slower liquidation. Just a cheap price for wasted hits can cost you extra litigation, lost revenue and time wasted. Quality matters.

What is a measure skip tracing vendors are taking today to make sure the consumer information they are receiving is correct?
For quite some time, skip tracing vendors have pushed quantity over quality. They guaranteed high hit rates and took pride in their abundance of data sources. But in today’s regulatory landscape, this mindset is changing. Skip tracing vendors are now concentrating on more thorough vetting of their data sources and the quality of that data.

Walt Wojciechowski CEO of Microbilt

What is a misstep you see accounts receivable professionals make when handling batches for skip tracing and how do they prevent it?
One of the biggest mistakes we see is the selection of their vendor. All vendors can and do provide good accurate data on stable and prime customers that have a long-time history in one location or will typically file change of address information. Unfortunately, many vendors do not have current information on the consumers that don’t necessarily want to be found in a skip trace situation.

If you are looking for a new vendor, you should test to ensure they have access to information on your customer type. If you already have a vendor, you should schedule a periodic review of your results. Your customer type may be changing, or the vendor may have lost a source that is important to you.

Another mistake that is prevalent is management of the data once it is received by the customer. Do they have processes in place that prevent re-sending inquiries if the skip tracing company has already responded? You would be surprised how many companies send an inquiry multiple times.

Lastly, it is important that the customer act on the new information they receive in a timely manner. If you get an updated telephone number and/or address, make sure that information gets into your collection queue quickly.

What is a measure skip tracing vendors are taking today to make sure the consumer information they are receiving is correct?
There are several things that are key to ensure the completeness and accuracy we provide to our customers:

1. Correlate contact information from multiple providers. Ensure you have access to information on all economic sectors of consumers not just prime and subprime. You must also have information on the segment of consumers that are “thin” file consumers at the credit bureaus and tend to pay cash for most financial transactions.

2. Creating sophisticated and insightful internal algorithms to recognize the most recent and accurate information if the consumer moves. For instance, a credit bureau file may have information that is 30 to 60 days old and not all consumers file a change of address with the Postal System. These consumers don’t want to be found but are more likely to record the change in social media and/or their cell, satellite, or cable bills.

3. Utilizing the update date provided with the information to ensure it is current.

4. Incorporate use of data sourced directly from consumers and not only rely on third-party aggregated data where sourcing strategies are unknown.

Darren Charest President of U.S. Tracers

What is a misstep you see accounts receivable professionals make when handling batches for skip tracing and how do they prevent it?
Many account receivable professionals limit themselves to a certain set of output fields, such as one phone number, one address. Increasing visibility by leveraging more information increases their chances to collect.

What is a measure skip tracing vendors are taking today to make sure the consumer information they are receiving is correct?
Skip tracing vendors are leveraging live verification systems and multiple sources of data to better verify consumer information is correct.

Stephanie Clark President of VeriFacts

What is a misstep you see accounts receivable professionals make when handling batches for skip tracing and how do they prevent it?
A common misstep we see as a skip tracing vendor is that our client may not have the staff available to process the verifications returned. This valuable information is immediately actionable in most cases. If you’re garnishing, you’re in a race to get there first. Be prepared to process the information returned from your skip vendor, full time employment, and act quickly. Delaying action due to low staffing could lead to the information becoming stale or irrelevant. If you’ve paid for it, make sure you have the resources available to move forward and maximize your return.

What is a measure skip tracing vendors are taking today to make sure the consumer information they are receiving is correct?
As a skip tracer, there are a multitude of tools available for use as leads. Making sure you are using reputable sources and having a strong vendor management program is key. It is an investment, however, ensuring the data is secure whether it’s onsite with you or with a vendor is your responsibility just as much as it is your vendors. There is also an added level of accuracy in manually verifying the data as well using key pieces of personally identifiable information.