Throughout my career in the ARM industry, I have had the opportunity to visit and work with hundreds of different collection organizations. While no two are alike, there are definitive areas in which the top performers within our industry focus and apply themselves. In determining why certain organizations consistently are able to outperform their counterparts, we need to look at four key areas.
- Technology Employed
- Strategic Development
- Training Programs
- Analytic Capabilities
It is through these four areas that the most successful organizations thrive. So what’s in the detail of these topics that separates these entities from the rest? Let’s first discuss technology and the impact it has on an organization.
When making an initial pass on the strength and effectiveness of a given agency, one of the most important things to first look at is the technology. Having a top notch collection platform with a powerful dialer is needed, but ultimately not enough to be competitive. Success requires technology to go deeper into how an organization operates. Among others, some of these key technologies include: account profiling and segmentation, data service solutions, process automation tools, automated discovery systems, and heavy lifting compliance applications. These solutions, coupled together with the intellect of management, can drive the business entirely. When you analyze how these tools are used you begin to recognize the ‘why’ in looking at top performing organizations, which leads us to strategic development.
Strategic development is the area of the business that drives the operations and sales initiatives. Where is your organization headed? What separates you from your competition and how do you leverage your competitive advantage and then position yourself relative to the market? Each individual within the organization whether in management, the collection staff, or sales staff, should know and understand the organization’s direction as it aides them in making more calculated day-to-day business decisions. An experienced management team can use these details when making decisions on account flow tactics, effective treatment cycles, and cost effective analysis. This is where the separation continues in differentiating between top and remedial businesses. The next distinction of top performers centers around the actual staff in the trenches.
Through effective training programs and continued employee development techniques, the collection staff adds another layer of separation amongst businesses in the industry. What are you doing to ensure your people are providing you every chance to succeed as an organization? The creation of professional collectors increases average payment sizes, the number of payments coming in, and the overall morale of a business, to name a few. These outcomes will occur when advanced negotiation skill sets are taught and a collector has the ability to recognize the most successful way to cater their collection approach. As these skill sets improve over time, the morale of the staff improves and the competitive nature kicks in and makes the collection floor a business unit to be reckoned with. People are a huge part in determining a successful business, yet are often overlooked. The final point of separation lies in how the monitoring of processes and performance occur.
The ability to establish outcomes for specific strategies, and then following the processes and procedures through analytics is the last key. Are you establishing analytical tools to gauge the effectiveness of your decision making? What do you do with the information you are receiving? When implementing a new initiative, regardless of whether that is through account flow or with the sales staff, the key is to measure the successes and failures along the way. Analytics allow successful companies to first see what works and then capitalize on it in changing course when needed. This constant monitoring of processes through technology enables people and organizations to operate at their very best.
As is evident in the points made above, there is not just one specific reason an organization consistently outperforms others in the industry. An organization must establish their strategy and plan, get the right people and technology in place, and then make course adjustments as the results of that plan come into view. As an organization follows these steps, their ability to consistently improve and innovate becomes increasingly effective and clear.
The challenge that some organizations face today has nothing to do with having the right tools available. Rather, it comes down to the willingness to roll up the sleeves and do a review of current processes, identify where adjustments can be made, and implement those solutions in making a stronger organization towards a stronger future.