Whether an agency is new or a size that suits management’s taste, its collection software (1-100 seats) has little room for waste and must fit the agencies needs like a glove. As compliance officers monitor calls and outgoing letters, upper management must also keep track of what software is being utilized and what is being charged by the vendor.
“Many software vendors have feature/ module ‘add-ons,’” said Rick Bonitzer, president of Credit Collection Partners. “Make sure you review your itemized invoice/statement every month to ensure you’re not paying for ‘addons’ you no longer use.”
A close working relationship with the vendor is also essential to realize the best use of the software’s ability.
“We work closely with our software vendor to automate processes as much as possible,” said Kyle Shanahan, president of Eastern Revenue, Inc. “One specific process is ‘close and returns.’ This is where accounts automatically get closed and returned due to our and our clients’ specifications.
“We also work with FICO to help improve current features/processes for future upgrade releases. These upgrade releases not only benefit Eastern Revenue, but other agencies that utilize their software.”
Growth is the result of an ongoing process of improvement. Improvement can only be achieved if good decisions are consistently made. Data from collection calls and collection manager input are crucial in making these decisions.
“Having control on retrieving realtime performance data is critical in meeting both our needs and our clients’ needs,” said Shanahan. “FICO has a multitude of real-time performance reports that are essential to any agency’s growth. Two very important areas of data that Eastern Revenue focuses on are liquidating and unit yields. Not knowing specific client performance numbers will hinder the growth and profitability of any agency.”
While communication among staff is imperative, the “conversations” between the multitude of moving parts in an agency’s system must also be clear and numerous.
“The easy ability to integrate with thirdparty platforms [is essential for growth],” said Bonitzer. “Regardless of whether we’re talking about third-party vendors or client systems, the next great tech is always right around the corner. The easy ability to integrate it into your workflow as envisioned is critical. Don’t let your primary software vendor tell you what you want to do is not possible, not easily doable or will cost you a fortune.”
There is always the ominous cloud of compliance, the one-two punch that has laid waste to many agencies over the last decade due to its costly requirements. Agencies between one and 100 seats have always turned to software to help them maintain these lofty standards, and for good reason.
Automation and status reporting can make one set of eyes on the collection process seem like many.
“Compliance is obviously very important for any agency,” said Shanahan. “One of the most helpful aspects of [our vendor] is that it is a status code driven system.
But implementing proper status codes on the account level (cease and desist, disputes and requests for verification) allows Eastern Revenue to greatly reduce any potential exposure regarding compliance.”
The standards, as far as collection software is concerned, are always a safe place for collection efforts to reside. However, never be reluctant to frequently venture into the core of your system to search for new means of efficiency and compliance.
“Most collection systems will have the basic/similar safeguards, such as preventing phone calls from being made before/ after certain time thresholds or letters to certain states, but I continually go back to integration,” said Bonitzer. “The ability for your other vendors to seamlessly integrate with your core system is paramount.”