Collector - February 2016 - 31
You'll need to consider what processes and
procedures the technology will change, who
those changes will impact and how those
people might react. Staff buy-in is critical-
you will have to sell the technology to staff
way before the actual launch date.
"Everyone resists change," Cardwell said.
"They don't want to lose control. The biggest
thing I see over and over in many businesses
is that they don't have a technology
problem-they have a people problem."
Collectors can be especially opposed to
any variation in their routine. Right now,
they are comfortable with your existing
system. They know where the data is and
how to access it quickly. While a new system
could ultimately make them even more
efficient, they may fear that the ramp-up
time could slow them down and make it
tough to meet collection goals.
Decide if and how you will adjust
your collection expectations during the
transition, and craft a comprehensive,
potentially ongoing training schedule to
help ensure collectors get up to speed as
quickly as possible.
Help employees understand the need for
this new technology. You can't expect them
to buy into something if they don't get the
logic behind it. Be ready to explain how the
technology will benefit employees as well as
the end-game reward.
"Many people become uncomfortable
with the implementation of new
technology," Perrin said. "Change can
be challenging. You need to share with
those staff who will be utilizing and
benefiting from this new technological
investment how these products will create
greater opportunities for them. Providing
excellent training programs to prepare for
these system changes will build confidence
and help overcome the fear of change. It
is truly amazing how quickly employees
learn and adapt to new systems. Once live
with these new products, it is these same
users who become a valuable resource
of new ideas to better use what has been
purchased and implemented."
Your vendor should provide you with a
timeline of the best way to orchestrate the
implementation process, but you will have to
decide how to launch the new system.
"My philosophy is: It is easier to fix and
adjust internal processes once live, but it
is important to have all external processes
operating perfectly for our clients," Perrin said.
"If we do a conversion, we want to make sure
everything is in place and operating correctly.
When we upgraded recently, we decided to do
a single client first-do a dump of that data and
then work through the bugs and so forth. Once
that was ironed out, we proceeded to prepare
converting the rest of our database."
Once the software is up and running, keep
an eye on it. Establish metrics to ensure it's
performing as expected, and check in with
the vendor if you need to make tweaks.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE FUTURE
As technology evolves, so will your collection
approach. Perrin said he anticipates that
eventually the bulk of most agencies'
collection efforts will be shifted online.
"Consumers want to use IVR, mobile apps
and online portals," Perrin said. "They don't
want face-to-face or a phone conversation-
they want to do things electronically. What's
going to happen down the road is that
eventually you will need fewer collectors.
Your collectors who will be on staff will be
those who handle the unusual situations,
not traditional collections. I see the industry
going in that direction."
Think about where your business is
headed and stay open to the fact that
technology is going to continually change.
"If we operated now the way we did five
years ago, using that type of technology,
we'd have a very difficult time in today's
environment," Perrin said. "That's the reality
of our industry. To me, change is exciting.
The opportunities for our industry to
continue developing new ideas to meet the
needs of consumers, clients and internal
operations is exciting, as technological
advances benefit everyone who is touched by
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector.
can help you keep up with
competitive and compliance
Consultants can conduct
a cost analysis and guide
you on the scalability of the
product you are considering.
They can tell what you need
now, and what you will likely
need for the future.
Staff buy-in is critical
when introducing new
technology-you will have to
sell them on it way before the
actual launch date. Explain
how the technology will
make their jobs easier and
provide greater opportunities
down the road.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - February 2016
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