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Building Best-in-Class Credit & Collections Teams

Highradius

Speakers

Lori Pinto

Credit Manager, Allegro Microsystem

Stephanee Brantley

Accounts Receivable Manager, EBSCO Information Services

Cindy Scott

Senior Manager A/R & Billing, Blackhawk Network

Transcript

Interviewer:

I’m sorry I was talking on mute or some of our customers might have heard that quite often. So thank you all for coming all the way from Union Station. It was a long walk, I’m sure your step count increased significantly today. So before I start, I want to say one thing I think the entire credit and collections team is one of the most underrated teams across companies. I think they are never appreciated enough. So let’s start by giving everyone in the different credit & collections team a round of applause. Okay, so I’m going to start tonight with my first question which is for Stephanee, so I think Stephanee is being good from what we hear she’s a very effective manager. And as cool as it sounds, you know, you’re a manager, you got to manage so many people, it’s difficult to get work done. And, you know, having said that, it’s easy to do it yourself but difficult to get it done from people. So considering your experience, what do you think should be the three most important qualities of a collections analyst?

Stephanee Brantley:

Well, like you said to serve one of the problems that I have is I try to be, I’ve had a history of trying to be in control of every situation. I’ve had to let go of that and realize that I have to trust my team. Because once they’re successful, I’m not going to be successful. One of the things that I try to instill in my team is, you know, you have to build these relationships with the customer. You have to make that one on one connection, it takes a small amount of effort to get the customer the quality of service that they would expect. Put yourself in the customer shoes, because of all shop on one, we all do things, or we buy products. We are the consumers, and you don’t want to treat your customers any differently than you want to be treated. And so I try to instill that in all of our collector collection reps and make sure that they make the customer feel comfortable first. It takes very little effort to say, oh you’re in Boston so how’s the weather there, you know, it takes very little effort to make a personal connection with their customer. So I always tell them to never compromise your quality of assisting the customer over your quantity, you know, yes we all want to make 40 collection calls in a single day, but we also want to make our customers repeat customers by giving them the quality of service that they would want.

And the second thing I would say is to sustain a healthy customer for that ongoing conversation. If a customer starts that personal conversation with you. Don’t cut them off just to say, well, I really need to get back to the, you know, when you’re going to pay your past to invoice. Yes, that’s the purpose of the collection calls, but the customer takes the time to ask you a personal question. Don’t just cut them off, you know to give that customer the top sometimes people just want to talk. Unfortunately, that does take a little more time. But then, being able to handle various collection scenarios is a huge challenge for some people but you’ll find that what I mean by that able to handle various collection scenarios you might have big customers that spend a million dollars a year and you might have your customers that you know are a small elementary school that may buy, you know, $500 a year. They’re all customers they all deserve to be treated the same with the same respect and so that I think that’s one of the biggest things for us.

Interviewer:

So one of the things you mentioned was around building a team. I think building a team is really important and a lot of it starts with hiring. And I think Lori here has experience of hiring over 50 people in the trading collections team so my next question is going to be to you. So, can you help us understand what are the things that you do to assess the important qualities, you know, for a collector in Canada, what are those things that you would like to see?

Lori Pinto:

I hired a lot of people, I made a lot of mistakes, then I think we’ve all probably been there, but one of the most important skills in this field for me is critical thinking, how is someone going to solve a problem. We all know we have an invoice. Sometimes there’s no PO, there’s no proof of delivery, there’s a customer name that is barely on the ship to. And we have to figure out how to get paid. So, critical thinking to me is definitely a top skill, when I’m interviewing potential new employees. I’ll ask a series of questions like how do you do, how did you solve a problem that you couldn’t go to the boss, you know, and ask for help. Just to go through the process of their thinking and is it logical, or did they just sit back on their heels and say I couldn’t do anything with it I had to wait for my boss to help you know how far down that road will they, you know, go do they understand the importance of a three-way match. Do they know what three-way matches are? Do they understand the procurement to pay cycle that we all have to deal with?

When the sale starts invoicing to, you know, getting the check in the mail and applying it to they understand that workflow. So for me, critical thinking is huge. I asked them a series of questions again you know to describe a time when you had to convince your manager to try a different approach on something so just to see if they’re able to work on their own and be independent, be logical and get through some of the problems that we deal with every day. And then somebody gives some key flags to me if they don’t fact check some if they come back and they give me an example and they didn’t really check their facts or if they make assumptions and don’t follow through or if they don’t even have an answer, then you know right away that this isn’t really a person that’s going to fit in a world today. That isn’t going to be able to go down that rabbit hole and really solve a problem. There are many attributes, but for me, critical thinking is the biggest.

Interviewer:

So hiring is just, you know, the first step in the process of building a team. I think what’s also important is what you do after that. And I think Cindy has been with Blackhawk for a long time, and she’s implemented a resource development plan. And you know that has been what we want to understand is, what’s the importance of this process, and what role does resource development play, you know, once the recruitment is over?

Cindy Scott:

Sure. So, not just in my current role but in my prior roles resource development is probably one of the most important aspects of leading a team, and unfortunately, it’s probably one of the first ones that get backburned and just getting the day to day work done. So, carving out that time specific to each individual is critical and developing them and developing yourself as a leader as well. And there are lots of tools out there. There are different questions you can ask in surveys, you can take to determine what someone’s goals are, what their objective is on your team. But then, you know, it kind of goes beyond just getting their answers it’s having that one on one conversation with them, and really understand what their direction is where they would like to go and sometimes they don’t know and they just need some guidance and, as you develop as a leader, you’re going to be more in tune to what somebody wants, embrace future holds, and whether honestly, having that honest conversation with them that this just isn’t for you and that’s okay too and helping maybe driving them in a different direction.

There are lots of tools. There are lots of techniques, and it really all comes down to communication and having those kinds of one on one meetings. It’s also, you know, development isn’t a one-sided thing it’s not the employee’s job to develop themselves it’s not the leader’s job to develop the employee so again you go back to that reiterative conversation, and having touchpoints and you know, setting up milestones or building blocks or whatever you want to call it and celebrating success along the way. And the thing that the resource development has provided for me, it’s created loyalty on individuals not only just to my team, and you know their growth within my team but across the companies that they work for, they become a valuable resource. And then, you know, you can be seen to as a leader that develops others and you’re therefore an asset to the company as well so it’s worth the investment, it’s gold to that employee for you to carve out the time they all recognize it it’s tough to carve out that time, it can be a 15-minute conversation once a week just to touch base with the shows that you’re interested in. And then, you know, there are a million tools out there for them to develop that are free, there are things like you know TED talks and YouTube videos that can be Excel tutorials on online and that kind of thing and then, you know, let them do that on company time it’s a very small investment that goes a long way and they remember it, they acknowledge that you spent that time or that gave them that time to spend on themselves. And then, if you, you know if you have the opportunity to get the budget to send them to conferences and seminars, do so and then after they teach back from those seminars to the rest of their peers. They’re then developing their leadership skills and their ability to share the knowledge and information that they have and they grow from that. So it’s like, it’s probably the most important of the easiest to sideline. If you’re not very careful.

Interviewer:

There’s so much content online these days. It’s important to filter out what’s useful and then share it with the people that absolutely vet it yourself for forwarding stuff. So, we all agree that you know collecting money is not easy for our customers. And I think a big part of it as Stephanee mentioned was, you know, building that rapport with, with the customer so Stephanee, just wants to understand, you know, your team does that. But how do they do it in a consistent way?

Stephanee Brantley:

That consistency is where the key should be well you know and it’s funny I mentioned a moment ago about making that personal relationship with your customers and having that rapport. I’ve had a 30-minute conversation with a customer before about his cats because he just wanted to tell me all about his cats, and their names, their differences and, you know, that that spending that extra few minutes just listening to him, maybe nobody at work wanted to hear and talk about his guests anymore but I was on the other end of the phone. So, I just, you know, sat there and listened and then finally, you know after the 30 minutes we got around to actually talking about what was open on his account. The whole purpose of the call. But we, you know, giving those people, the time like you said they investing in not only our team but also investing time into our customers, it makes them appreciate you, you can say all day long and or emails or whatever, I appreciate you doing business with us, but to spend that time with the customer and actually listen to them, even if they’re just complaining and making excuses about why they can’t pay their bills today are of big importance, and it’s really important for our customers to make that one on one connection with their collector.

And I wasn’t always a manager, I was a collector in their shoes so the team is very important to this for my team to know that I’ve been where you are, I know, I’ve heard the customers excuses. But we all can make excuses but. But one of the other big things that try to tell the team. We’re really big on, you know, everybody wants their invoices to be paid in less than, less than 60 days, which is usually not always possible. That’s the goal. That’s always the goal that you have to have empathy towards your customers if there is an excuse, a valid excuse personnel turnover with swap systems, whatever it may be. You have to have that, that connection with your customers to be empathetic to their needs, if there’s some real reason why they can’t pay someone’s medical labor whatever your primary person if you’re just like, well, I don’t care what your excuses pay your bills. We’re not going to do that to our customers. We want our customers to continue to do business with us so you always have to be considerate of the customer’s needs. We have repetitive customers of course that always will pay us light, we know that the world business but being empathetic to customer’s needs as well.

Interviewer:

Which skill is the most crucial to ensure healthy customer relationships?

Lori Pinto:

I think the most critical thing is to ensure a healthy customer relationship. So, Stephanee, that explains, you know, to me emotional intelligence right so that’s another skill set that I check off during the interview process is to make sure that the person that you’re potentially bringing into your team has emotional intelligence, not everyone has that right they’re not self-aware of how they affect people. They’re not self-regulated, they don’t know how to control their emotions. I’ve worked with many collectors who, you know, hang up the phone stand up and start yelling I can’t believe that guy just said that to me and you know, we’ve evolved I think over the years as collectors from that to you know in handling situations better because we’re screening people for these types of skill sets, another you know being motivated is huge you know not going to come to you every day and say, you know, you need to go through your list and make sure that you’re touching every you know point my one on ones I will but not every day so you have to be able to be self-motivated and everything you mentioned empathy understanding your customers listening to the cat story is awesome.

But, you know, being able to have a conversation with your customer on their day, you know it may, it may mean more and come back to you know through your sales team when they say, you know, thank you for handling by a delinquent customer what you didn’t know was his daughter passed away last week, you know, so we’re certainly no situations like that so having empathy is huge and social skills knowing when to act appropriately and, you know, representing the company in a good light so emotional intelligence is huge for me and my favorite question and interviewing is to ask them what inspires you, you know, and why, for me, is, is a huge indicator of whether or not someone has emotional intelligence and can, you know, reiterate to me what they feel is inspiring. And then you know that they have those emotional intelligence skills if they have that they could come up with a story and telling you something that inspired them in their lifetime, you know, an occasion where, you know, I met someone that I didn’t know my favorite ballplayer and how I was able to have a conversation with him on how you know he inspired my life because I followed his career or things like that so you want someone who can their eyes are going to be bright and shiny and really want to be able to tell you a story and smile and that’s someone you want your customer to talk to on the phone. And it really shines through because we don’t have a lot of face to face time. Thank god sometimes with some of our customers, but other times we’re on the phone when you need those skill sets to be able to get your point across on the phone clearly and articulately and represent your company in a great and positive manner and be positive and be able to have those conversations that someone may just want to talk a little bit, or, get, get yourself around but at the end of that conversation, you know, close it up right you got to close that call and make sure that you either have a commitment for payment or you have in another time we’re going to talk. So, for me, emotional intelligence and strategic thinking go along with that, makes sense.

Interviewer:

I think EQ is something that I would call an EQ emotional quotient or EQ, something that a lot of recruiters are actually looking for. You might have an average IQ but you need to have a high EQ. And it’s interesting you need EQ to even work your way through multiple teams, you know, and working your way through multiple teams is definitely not easy internally or externally.

Lori Pinto:

That’s the difference I mean, I’ve had, you know, college graduates with master’s degrees and, you know, come and apply and then I’ve had someone who just had a lot of experience and a bachelor’s degree. It’s really not on their education, it’s how they’re going to be able to handle situations that really come across the desk every day.

Interviewer:

So, I was just thinking, you know, to make things easy or work your way through different teams I think the management of change or change management is something that’s really, really important. And I think Cindy you have a lot of experience in change management and including working, you know with multiple teams. So I just wanted you to elaborate on your experience with change management.

Cindy Scott:

Sure, um, change management is kind of an afterthought. Unfortunately, in many cases, and it’s really critical to ensuring the success of whatever changes, whether it’s a new system, a new process. We’ve had a reorganization in our department, and it comes down to, you know, mostly communication again, there’s a theme and the earlier that you can get your, the individuals that are involved in whatever the changes earlier you can get them involved, and really included in the change and have input on the more buy-in, you’re going to get. You want to make sure that, for instance, in the reorganization, it’s like you know, why are we getting reorganized? This is my last X number of years and it’s working. And you know what, why does it make sense and there was initial resistance because they just didn’t understand why I’m really sitting down, even to the point of one on one explaining why it made sense. Got significant in what we’ve had system changes, you know, it’s intimidating. Some folks who are very ingrained in the old way. I want to make the new system match their old process. And so it requires a lot of hand-holding and meditation to help them understand why they think that the process can be better. And that, you know, it’s not necessarily their job is in jeopardy or that they’re going to be outsmarted by technology, getting them excited about it so change management is. I think you’d have to think about a pretty much throughout every day because I don’t know about your company but ours changes, like daily and keeping that you know and you get caught up in just the change and, you know, managing yourself through the change because let’s be honest if, you know, I like where my cheese sits and don’t move it.

So, you know, being cognizant that your team is, you know, from what you’re feeling they’re feeling it probably tenfold and helping them through that with communication and understanding and, you know, sometimes it’s just having fun with it too, you know, let them name the project, have a naming contest and they just get a little more engaged and excited and it’s not just you know, here comes another change we’ve had a fun contest where you know it’s like a project.
Project T rex and they, you know, we actually wrote one of those, those costumes with a little T rex guys came in and stuff and it just takes some time to burn important time as we say changes the only constant and if you talk to her, she’ll probably say that five times a day.

Interviewer:

For sure. So normally earlier in the conversation you mentioned that critical thinking and decision making is a must-have skill. So I just wanted to understand how you assess people on that skill set, how do you find out you know whether the person really has that skill set or no technical ability.

Lori Pinto:

Yeah, critical thinking, I think, you know, asking again questions I think I mentioned that on how they would manage a situation how they solved the problem was, you know, asking them, make those behavioral we’ve all googled how to interview people right so how, you know, ask those behavioral questions of how they would solve a problem, how. Tell me something that you were able to fix. How did you fix something? How were you able to resolve a problem specifically and really, you know, be ready to prompt sometimes you have to prompt those responses, out of them. But just be engaged in that interview process. Also, try to pull from them as much as you can to assess whether or not they’re able to, you know, critically, solve an issue and strategically understand those workflows to do give them a situation from their from your experience or do you ask them for a situation from their life, can you tell me a difficult situation and how did you come out of it I usually start with asking them, you know, tell me something about yourself how, how were you able to, you know, so I’ll look at the resume obviously figure out where they came from what type of departments they worked in I’ve worked in many different departments in my lifetime so I can usually pull something from the air and say about the three-way match, we all know the three-way match is a problem, you know, did you ever, you know, how will you solve a problem and just be intent to listen to you know their answers sometimes again they, they don’t know that they’re giving me a critical thinking example so you have to kind of guide them along the way well how did you do this. Yeah, you know how to keep asking why then why did you do that, and then why you know, have them understand that they really did take a process from beginning to end. And again, if they can’t, then, you know, if you know your answer.

It’s, it’s pretty for me I could figure it out right away. If they can’t give me an example and something that would mean would have a problem that would mean a that you’re going to get from A to Z, then we know that that’s probably not a good fit for them because they’ll be frustrated and they won’t be an independent thinker, and they won’t be self-motivated and they won’t have all those good attributes that you want to be into, and you’re doing them a favor. You don’t want that. Right. Yeah.

Interviewer:

So I think scaling up in an organization is really important both for the organization, and for the individual and it’s a difficult task right so as you scale up. Prioritizing things is important. Right. So Stephanee. The next question is for you so a lot of times you know the collection teams, they face this problem of prioritization. And you probably know what it’s better than me you know it’s much easier to handle. When you have a smaller number of accounts versus when you have a large number of accounts. So how do you think you know collectors should prioritize because prioritization is key?

Stephanee Brantley:

It really is and, you know, I love what Lori said about that, independent thinking. Yes, you have a list of accounts that are outstanding and in your list of accounts you have to collect on that as a collection representative when you’re handed your list of accounts at the beginning of the month to need to focus on $50,000 invoice, or the $500 invoice yes they’re both important yes they’re both outstanding, but that independent thinking, feel, you have to make a priority of what’s most important. What’s the most sensitive? And what’s going to be, I guess the most bang for your buck. You know, I’m gonna reach out to the $50,000 erst because of I always the most money and if I can get that one ambassador, but you know some people don’t know that like you said when you’re picking and putting people in a position where they’re going to do collections, they have to be able to make those decisions without constantly coming to your door and saying, Okay, well you gave me 25 accounts which were supposed to work. Yeah, you have to be able to make decisions like that on their own. And, you know, yes I’m going to provide them a report of everything that’s open or if we’re lucky enough to get the collection cloud.

That’s very exciting. So, picking and choosing your customers and you know I have collection reps who had the same accounts for almost 10 years and so already know they’re like okay well I know I don’t need to call them because they paint every invoice in 45 days. I’ve already talked to them last month. There’s no sense that even calling them so having that relationship with your customers and learning their patterns of payments, is a huge benefit to have all standing employees in place. And then another one we do something at EBSCO where we do these quality checks where an invoice produces today, and within the next two weeks we’re going to reach out to customers, okay I know you got this new invoice. Is everything okay with it and to meet your needs? Is there anything on it that we need to know about? There, there could be a communication right down where the actual customer has told the sales rep. Well, I need credit for those titles wrong or those products wrong, that communication is and I get all the way back to accounts receivable because of everybody costs that all departments talk to each other. I don’t know about your company but our company everybody talks to each other all the time. So we have that communication breakdown which is very important. If we don’t do that extra little step from the accounts receivable department to reach out to the customers. We may not know, it’s a great idea 60 days before we find out something’s wrong with the invoice. So we do those little quality checks, especially on invoices that are over $50,000 We will definitely reach out and I think that it definitely produces a lot of information from our customers and what they opted out about so it’s a great idea. A large invoice.

Interviewer:

And it’s interesting to bring up a report so I think almost every organization uses some form of aging reports in one way or another. And, you know, I wanted to ask, Cindy, what are your thoughts on bringing visibility using aging reports and, you know, how do you think we should leverage these things out?

Cindy Scott:

So aging reports are kind of step one, right that gives the collection analyst and management, kind of the first look at where your portfolio or your account stands, but it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be what prioritizes your work to, to the point of both of these ladies there are different things that drive the priority, and that critical thinking comes into play. the ability for an analyst to drill down into the aging and see which accounts are either high risk or perhaps they have a pattern of late payment and they can look at things to pay something like that to help trigger them to prioritize. Again, if we can get the HighRadius software I think that will help us prioritize better. So, there’s the aging is kind of being the first step and then being able to carve your aging out into other components for instance, if you have a weekly meeting with your sales team or a certain region having the aging specific just to those individuals will help them prioritize where they need to help you to if you send them the whole aging they’ve, you know, been kind of, if they can open Excel. Yeah, pictures paint 1000 words so the charts are always good too and also having those components by even like I said, high-risk customers that kind of thing.

Interviewer:

It helps prioritize you as a manager, too, you know, touch base with your analysts and know where they’re focusing their efforts as you mentioned was traditionally done very manually and technology is playing its own part, you know so so what are your thoughts on how technology is influencing or, you know, working or not working for you in technology is definitely fighting back.

Cindy Scott:

Back in the day, so my age but you know aging was not even exportable to excel it was just this report that you got that may or may not be accurate. And the further we get into technology and the ability to age by due date versus invoice date you know really just all these little iterations that have made it more and more valuable and accurate tool, and then moving into software like HighRadius, or whatever your tool is that it helps prioritize and highlight and creates work lists and drives the workflow is technology is huge that the days of manually doing things with a large staff are over right we’re all operating a lot leaner, and we have to have the technology to be able to do that.

Interviewer:

Okay, so we’re running short of time so I’ll have one last question for Stephanee before, you know, open it up for everyone. So Stephanee, how do you think collectors should be trained, you know, what do you think, what should they do to manage their managers, expectations.

Stephanee Brantley:

Okay. One of the things that we focus on is default situations where, you know, I need to know, like that independent thinking but also you need to know when to take things to your manager. If you’ve waited 60 days on a $100,000 invoice and you haven’t brought it to my attention that you will have a problem, upload it to the customer portal. That’s all you need and the representative because you didn’t take that extra step, you knew there was a problem, but yet you know that it was sat there and cost us money for 60 days so those, those default situations where we’re running at a hot mic isn’t high credit risk or high-risk customers know when to bring your managers in, that’s what actually one of the things I try to tell the reps. And also when you’re on the phone, it takes very little time to just get that promised it. One of the things we very much try to instill is, you know if customers are going to break their promise, they can’t. If you never got a promise to your birthplace they’re not breaking a promise. You have to give it a day. And then another thing. Keep the special needs of your customers under consideration. There’s a lot of natural disasters last year. For instance, we had to keep a running list of okay everyone in Texas was affected by the flood, we had to be mindful of our customers in those places to not aggressively collect because there will be an operation. We couldn’t reach out and harass the customer for money when they couldn’t even get to work. So we had to be sensitive to their needs as well and a lot of new customers love our customers who are implementing new payment systems so we have to be considerate of them, their names as well.

Interviewer:

All right. Thank you, everyone. I want to ask the audience, you know, is there anything you want to ask the panel opinion or anything you want to add based on your experience on the microphone? We can pass it around if you want to raise your hand.

Audience:

So I’m just curious to have you all started using HighRadius as far as collections credits into production as far as the modules are concerned yet.
Yeah, I don’t know, once we were using deductions or bad deductions a little over two years and cash out for a year.

Stephanee Brantley:

We’re using cash up and electronic invoice presentment. We’re very excited about the collection cloud. We just went to cash apps in November, so I was only at this company for a year and a half and I was telling the girls when I joined that the manager, kind of manager, has been there for 30 years. And then I came in and they were still posting cash manually and had a ruler out, and was crushing it off on the aging. I was like, man, immediately went into panic mode, and I knew I needed a solution so the high rated solution was awesome. We went from 67% hit rate to add up to 80%, so we went from two and a half, two years to one and a half in the matter. Since November, it’s been huge. I’m looking at the collection module.

Next, comedians pay us to say that, although I think I have a big hat somewhere. I know a lot of people fit my suitcase. I’m gonna try to get the hat trick of all three of you, Sydney I agree 100% with you about investing in your boys. Our local library and calm ahead Excel classes and I love my people to go on cooking time to Canada, which I stepped up to go to their responsibility, how to learn free and learn cash application. And then I did my own job and I just worked extra and it just proved my people I was willing to go the extra mile. Lori to your thing what excites me is I still do wake up exceptional cash days. I still do my money dance. They love that. So that’s what I’m passionate about. I started out as an original collector, old school, and then Stephanee I had one thing, one question for you was it’s, it’s great that we get to ask, you know, talk to people about their cats and stuff like that. You know, that’s really great but I’m seeing a lot more especially from larger customers that they only want to discuss, or they won’t take a phone call. I’m seeing a lot more email only times you know you shoot them an email to shoot yourself right back. And I want to know. Are you seeing that more and more I mean just seems like 50% of my customers don’t make a phone call if I leave a message they won’t return a phone call, they won’t answer the phone? But if I shoot a message I usually get some back in about an hour. Yes, because we always have this in our hands. Right, right. And since email is so cold and kind of sterile.

How do you go about getting a collector to write that effective email that says, hey, I want your money but I also care about you as a customer, I’m glad you brought that up because I actually just had a new team member train and she was very, you know her, the email samples that she was sending out we’re very planning so I said, here’s what you need to do. I said, think of your email, like an Oreo cookie. Something really really sweet. And you will have all the bad stuff in the middle, everybody my laughter cream in the middle, sorry but then the bad stuff in the middle and then it gets sweet, you have to say. Hope you’re having a terrific week, I haven’t heard from you. and then get into the invoices and then end. Well, you want to actually make the customer feel important and the email. Ours is the same situation where people have left a message you can say, I left you a voicemail, however, you’re right. We get a lot more feedback, a lot more response from our emails as well, that’s the majority of our time. Yeah, absolutely. I work internationally and I don’t, I never call Japan, Taiwan, China, it’s all emails. A lot can be lost in translation. So I have been very basic you know this is the about you oh this is the date we need it and that’s it and that was a huge learning curve for me I would type in, you know, respectfully yours and then I google the translated once and then it came back as lovely yours right so it’s like you really have to be careful. Yeah, with a translation dealing with international accounts.

Audience:

Hi, my name is Rachel Hammer from Systemics America. My question is to give you a little bit of the situation: we don’t really have a billing department; we have commercial operations which service contracts collections. And so it’s like, customer service and contract generating those invoices, and then collectors, they’re really more like credit managers for us as well they’re acting in two capacities. So I guess I have two questions.

What are the advantages of splitting up credit managers and collectors having two different roles and also how do you help facilitate that fact-checking and critical thinking when the information is in a different team? I think having a small subject matter expert and pulling that person out on your team to manage the really difficult situations is huge. There’s always going to be you’re always going to have a few stars that just get things better than other people really use those skill sets and put them in roles that they’ll shine and make some people around a little bit, do a lot of cross-training, make sure everyone understands the basics, but I found.

Definitely finding someone that has that critical thinking skills on your team, higher than other people and putting them in those roles where they can solve the problems. For me, cross-training to was huge once they’re established and they can create a workflow, you know, have them show everyone else how it works and, really, you know, put them to work there to work and utilize the skills that way but having me on your team just to help you navigate the rest of the staff is helpful. Remember using your strengths if you have someone strong at something. And if it’s going back to the development pack it’s a great development tool and then finding that person on the other team is key as well because they have the same situation right they have their central matter experts in those folks up this huge collaboration and somebody coming, definitely. I had a situation where the collective was doing everything right, they were doing the credit application they were doing the credit checks they were posting the cash they were managing, you definitely need to split that up. That’s way too much on someone’s plate, and especially if they can specialize in one area. You’re better off, you know for that.

Audience:

Hi, my name is Jeanette and this is for the panel, how do you monitor your data collectors progress. If you’re tracking outbound calls payment for commitment.
Thank you.

Cindy Scott:

I’ll kick it off, we don’t actually measure outbound calls because most of our collections aren’t the typical collections or their long-standing customers, what we monitor is present, past due, and prioritize based on the amount past due and we should for 90% current. So, whatever is triggering that other 10% is where their priorities are and that’s it.

Lori Pinto:

I think managing, you know, the results are a bet for me is a better approach than managing what everyone’s doing. I had a boss once who said, couldn’t understand what I did all day. So I took the time and wrote on a piece of paper every single thing I did that day and handed it to her. And she was like, I still don’t understand what you do all day like quantifying what you’re doing is it, is it really a great result for your boss, but if I can show them my results is a better approach so definitely results-driven culture, you know, we’ll talk about that but it’s important with your staff to such expectations, and make sure they understand you know what we expect from them. And, you know, if you only made one call but you collected you know a really big account and took you all day then that’s better ring the bell, right, we had Bell we used to have a bell in our, in our department when we got a certain amount of dollar amount, but just really, you know, celebrate those successes and if you don’t have a success that day then you know what happened, where did we go wrong What did we spend five hours, you know, five hours chasing you know this didn’t work out.

Stephanee Brantley:

Yeah, and I would just like to add on to what you said, because we are all result driven whether we want to admit it or not, and praise your team when they succeed as I said at the beginning, you’re not going to succeed in your job unless they succeed in theirs. So give praise where praise is due if there’s a huge result, this customer hasn’t paid us in 120 days and I actually got him on the phone to praise we’re praying today. You didn’t do it they actually had.

Lori Pinto:

I think at one point this is a greenback paper. These guys talk about anyone even knowing what green bar papers are. So we made a thermometer. Put it on the wall we hit the dollar amounts and we actually had them color in when you know hit there, you know some simple things but it just shows that you care and we are results-driven and, you know, there’s a saying that we always use it. Everyone plays harder when you’re keeping score, whatever that looks like right and it doesn’t have to be a tool to beat people up with, it’s a tool to celebrate success. So I’m going to pass it back to John to complete the presentation. For those of you who have not tried out the app, there’s an app called the User app where we have the entire schedule so please go backfill your feedback over there if there’s something pending questions you want to ask you can ask over there and you can connect with everyone who’s attending the conference.

Interviewer: I'm sorry I was talking on mute or some of our customers might have heard that quite often. So thank you all for coming all the way from Union Station. It was a long walk, I'm sure your step count increased significantly today. So before I start, I want to say one thing I think the entire credit and collections team is one of the most underrated teams across companies. I think they are never appreciated enough. So let's start by giving everyone in the different credit & collections team a round of applause. Okay, so I'm going to start tonight with my first question which is for Stephanee, so I think Stephanee is being good from what we hear she's a very effective manager. And as cool as it sounds, you know, you're a manager, you got to manage so many people, it's difficult to get work done. And, you know, having said that, it's easy to do it yourself but difficult to get it done from people. So considering your experience, what do you think should be the three most important qualities of a collections analyst? Stephanee Brantley: Well, like you said to serve one of the…

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Join experts from Allegro Microsystems, BlackHawk Networks and EBSCO as they explain what it takes to hire and retain the right people in Credit & Collections teams and define systems which boost employee productivity and process performance.

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HighRadius Collections Software automates and optimizes the credit & collections management process to improve collector efficiency, minimize bad debt write-offs, improve customer relationships, and reduce DSO. It provides a complete set of tools to optimize and automate the credit collections management process and enable the better prioritization of credit collections activities All the information you need (invoices, dispute information, POD, claims, tracking info, etc.) on each case is automatically presented in a collections work-space and is ready for use. Apart from the wide variety of benefits that it has, it also comes with some amazing features like CADE (Collection Agency Data Exchange), collector’s dashboard which has prioritized collections worklist, automated dunning & correspondence, dispute management, centralized tracking of notes, call logs & payment commitments along with cash forecasting functionalities. The result is a more efficient collections team that contributes to enhanced cash flow and reduced DSO.