Collector - August 2018 - 42
Can You Curate the Perfect Collection File?
Clients don't always know what information agencies need to collect a debt.
As ACA member Ronna Denny learned, a little outreach can go a long way.
By Ronna Denny
n our industry, we
collects accounts. Have
you ever looked at a file
sent to your office for
wondered why it didn't contain useable
data? I bet you've asked yourself, "Why
would the client's staff not ask for this
information?" I would also bet that you
have a specific idea of what information a
perfect collection file would contain.
With this "perfect file" in mind, let
me ask you a few questions. Have you
considered educating your clients on what
information is in that ideal file? Do you
have methods in place to educate your
clients on what type of information can
help you collect accounts? How do you
identify which client is missing information
and what information is missing?
To address these issues, our company,
CollectionCenter Inc., conducts frequent
client audits. We look at the information
we'd like to have in a perfect collection
file and compare it to the information we
actually receive from the client. Often, we
can identify trends in missing information.
One client may turn over files that rarely
have Social Security numbers while
another may turn over files that fail to list
telephone numbers for the consumer's
place of employment.
Our sales team uses the information
identified in these audits to educate
clients on how the right datapoints can
In addition to audits, our director of
public relations, Amy Canaday, provides
both on-site and off-site training seminars
for clients, who often feel uncomfortable
asking consumers for information or money.
You might be wondering why we would
train our clients in a manner similar to how
we train our staff. Wouldn't this decrease the
volume of accounts placed with our agency?
"We've found that if we show our clients
how to do a more efficient job of obtaining
information up front and setting the
expectation that payment in full is due from
the start, it makes a more collectable account
once it is placed with us," Canaday said.
"Helping them understand proper aging and
identifying where they should spend their
time ensures timely placement."
Her client seminars often cover how to
identify and respond to different consumer
personalities, what information is necessary
to increase recovery, magic phrases to
increase collection rates and the eight steps
of a collection call.
"We teach our clients that by asking a
consumer to pay for services rendered,
not only are they doing the right thing ...
they are asking the consumer to do the
right thing. Getting them in that mindset
really provides them with a higher level of
confidence and success," Canaday said.
It also increases recovery, which is the
reason our industry exists.
Ronna Denny is the senior vice president of legal
for CollectionCenter Inc.
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