Over the years, when I presented programs on technology and the impact it has had on the ARM industry, I have always found a lot of entertaining stories and examples to use underscoring how far we have come. The interesting dynamic with technological change is that we quickly forget how we used to do that and adapt to the new way of doing business. We might go down kicking and screaming about the change as some are not open adopters but eventually the new revelation becomes the norm and we brace ourselves for the next wave. And what waves there have been.
During this unprecedented time with the Covid pandemic, organizations have been forced to stretch their comfort levels in extraordinary ways. Those companies that had already embraced a remote workforce were in a prime position to adapt quickly and smoothly. Those that had not explored that culture had to scramble to acquire the equipment, software and telecommunications platforms necessitated for this kind of transition. Six months ago, no one could have predicted the wave of change necessary for ARM industry players to stay in the game. The good news is that most firms are winning this game.
It is common in business for leadership to put substantive change on hold until it is the right time. We have so many competing priorities and challenges with which to contend. We go from needs that are on the back burner to an urgent requirement for change to allow our organizations to keep the doors open. When states mandated the closure of non-essential businesses, we added one more layer of challenge to what is already an industry riddled with regulatory, litigious and financial dynamics that keep owners and leaders on their toes. What we have learned is, it is possible to conduct business in the midst of a pandemic and the consumer public still wants to pay their bills. Most collectors are busy!
Think of how we manage change and new direction in our personal lives. When we experience the misfortune of being burglarized, we then invest in a security system for our home. When a hurricane passes through our region and we lose power for 2 weeks we then purchase a home generator. When we receive a reprimand from our doctor that we need to lose 40 pounds, we go on a diet. Something motivates our decisions and it is often due to the discomfort we feel.
It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” What we need to do as an industry is strategically predict the change needed to keep our businesses healthy and successful. Sometimes it takes a crisis: a pandemic. We need to look forward and envision what we do in a new light and leave the old conventions of business behind us. Socrates proclaimed, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” The new day has arrived.
So, YES, it is more than remotely possible for collectors to work from home. In fact, it is hugely successful. Many, in fact, are stunned at how effectively collectors can perform while using their homes as an office. Today, telephony software allows us to track, and record calls. Dialers can still manage the call flow. Video devices display the collector’s workspace. Virtual Private Networks allow for the office connectivity we require to work on collection platforms. Software tracks keystrokes.
My hope is that our readers are finding success during these unpredictable times. Open your minds and focus on what we CAN do to keep moving forward despite the fact that we are continually being told what we CAN’T do. Conduct business differently. Think creatively. Survive instinctively. The other side of our challenges tomorrow will be determined by the decisions we make today!
We continually welcome thoughts and best practices from our readers. Feel free to send us your feedback for possible inclusion in a future column.