Bringing Your Training into Clear Focus in 2020

  • Written by Harry A. Strausser III

strausser harryWe are off to a new decade in the ARM industry and there is no doubt that it will be a time of continued change and adjustment for everyone in the A/R market. What will be important as we move forward is to develop plans, strategies and cultures that will embrace this new era. Rules are changing. Regulations continue to develop on state and federal platforms. Technologies will emerge and become commonplace in our offices; technologies that will enhance our communication and place pressure on all organizations, regardless of size, to adopt these new alternatives. No matter what you are doing now, you will have to enter this new time with a very clear vision of your direction.

In a recent blog I read, “When most people hear the term 20/20 vision or find out they have 20/20 vision, they understand that to mean that they have perfect vision…but 20/20 vision does not mean having ‘perfect vision.’” It goes on to state, “When the optometrist says that you have ‘20/20 vision’ he is referring to your visual acuity, which is the clarity or sharpness of your vision.” We don’t have to produce perfect training in our organizations, but we do have to possess clarity about what is important to the success of our staff and organization overall. How will you change your training in this new decade and what resources will you tap into to do so?

Here are a few trends that are taking place in ARM industry workplace education:

Shifts From Compliance Focus to Tactics and Techniques

Compliance is certainly critical in all collection operations. We tend to spend a tremendous amount of resources on compliance topics. Many trainers are addressing only the compliance components that apply to the functions of the front-line collector and leaving the heavier topics to management programs. There is a new direction today related to working on communication and soft skills as we create new models of consumer interactions. And as organizations embrace an omni-channel culture we will see more movement in this direction.

Situational Training Opportunities

We often place much training focus on developing educational “programs and classes” but there are a multitude of situational opportunities to teach approaches, policies, procedures and compliance. Overhearing a call, reviewing call recordings and general collection floor questions are training opportunities. It is training on the fly!

Micro-Training Opportunities

In the same theme as the situational training, not all education has to be offered in large chunks, an hour or two at a time. Create very short, concise training opportunities for your staff. Get the point across quickly about a valuable topic and do this regularly in between other longer classes. Put some short classes on your internal learning management system. This plan keeps the momentum rolling on your team!

Get started early in 2020 with defining your vision! I am reminded of the popular lyrics by Johnny Nash:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) Bright (bright) sunshiny day!

May your 2020 be bright, productive and at yearend you can reflect on your clear direction and training accomplishments!

We continually welcome thoughts and best practices from our readers. Feel free to send us your feedback for possible inclusion in a future column. Until next time, I’m at my ACA office waiting to hear from you!

Harry A. Strausser III is the Director of Education and Membership Development at ACA International and can be reached at Harry can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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