Collector - January 2018 - 11
Meet the people who could
help you form your own
benchmarking group at
ACA International's Annual
Convention & Expo. The
largest collection industry
event of the year will be
held July 23-25, 2018, in
Nashville. Get info here:
Group leaders may arise organically,
or you can rotate responsibilities. You'll
need to designate people to compile and
distribute information, keep discussions
on track, organize conference calls and
even make travel arrangements for face-toface meetings if members don't live near
WHAT WILL YOU DISCUSS?
Your policies, procedures, practices,
historical performance metrics and
collection letters may all be worthy topics
on the table.
There are a few things, though, that
benchmarking groups should never
discuss-namely anything that would
violate antitrust laws. Association
members should also remain mindful
of ACA's Code of Conduct Canon V(I)
addressing antitrust concerns.
Information exchanges such as
benchmarking efforts among competitors
should always be structured in compliance
with the U.S. Department of Justice and
Federal Trade Commission's "safe harbor,"
which is explained on the FTC's website
should take care to review the guidelines
prior to engaging in benchmarking
groups. Limiting information sharing to
only company-identity-blind data and
historical data should also help in confining
benchmarking activity within the federal
government's safe harbor.
GET READY TO REAP BENEFITS
While Klein said he's gotten a great deal
of helpful, practical advice from his
benchmarking group, there's also been an
unexpected benefit: friendship.
"If I got sick and I wasn't going to be
able to run my business for an extended
period, I know I could call on the
members of the group and say, 'Hey,
could you guys come in for a few days
and make sure things are going OK?' I
don't think there would be any hesitation
from them," he said. "You learn that you
are not on an island."
Watkins agreed, noting that any time
he has a question-How do I handle this
personnel issue? What vendors provide the
best service?-he can immediately dash
off an email and get nine expert responses.
But more than that, the relationships he's
developed in his benchmarking group help
him feel connected and supported.
"We have assembled a group of people
who care deeply about doing the very best
job we can for our clients, employees and
communities," Watkins said. "There are no
hidden agendas or guile of any kind, and
we trust each other. We push each other,
we encourage each other and we keep
each other accountable in our respective
businesses. We have grown to become
the strongest of friends who would do
anything for the other."
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector