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Ensuring Easy Use and Support

  • Written by Joshua Fluegel

Small Office Collection Software Roundtable

The demands of compliance and the workload in general can put great strain on a small collection office’s valuable yet limited bandwidth. Collection software can ease that workload and keep collectors working at a level of efficiency worthy of success and growth. Not only should the software ease the workload but it should also be easy to use. The use of the software can be even more accommodating when the vendor of the software guides the user through the product’s lifetime. Collection Advisor sought out some of the industry’s leading minds in collection software to ask them how collection professionals can ensure a product’s learning curve is not too steep and what they should look for in their vendor post purchase.

TONY LAMAGNA Partner of The Computer Manager

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/ her company’s skill set?
First step should be to get an in-house demo to put in front of a select group of users (collectors, payment processors, collection manager, client relations) to review the related aspects of the software.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the postsoftware purchase presence?
A knowledgeable and accessible support staff, readily available to answer questions and solve problems that may arise in all aspects of the software. Also, someone who monitors the industry and acts upon new rules and regulations that may have an effect on the use of the product.


CARL BRIGANTI President of CSS

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/ her company’s skill set?
Does the software offer customization and flexibility or is most of the logic hard coded? Have the company demonstrate how their offering will handle your business processes. A complete demonstration of how to customize and automate your processes should ease all fears and answer all questions. Hard coded logic with no flexibility limits how you can change and adapt quickly to new rules and regulations and hinders maximizing your ROI.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
This is a great question that is hardly ever touched in the review process. Collection professionals need to know the relevance of the software they are purchasing. What we mean by that is – is the platform already outdated? Is the platform based on current technologies that allow for future enhancements and updates? When was the last time there was an update to the software and how often do they add enhanced features and updates? Make sure you aren’t buying stale technology that can’t evolve with a rapidly changing environment. Also are they only software experts or do they offer help from employees that have collection industry expertise? When implementing new processes it’s important that the support personnel understands collections. Trying to relate a process to a support person that only understands programming can be frustrating and time consuming. You need to move your business forward quickly with answers from an experienced collection software provider.


LEX PATTERSON President of DAKCS Software

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
Look for the vendor partner who asks initial questions centered on your company business model. Questions specific to the type of debt being collected, the profile of clients and how agencies are servicing them, and what the regulatory risks and requirements are to prepare for your business needs.

After the initial discovery, make sure to capture workflow and processes you already have in place including how new business is received, how collectors work, and how payments are handled. If you report to the credit bureaus, how you are handling disputes and legal, as well as tracking and communication of those results are key discussion points. Having your business mapped in this manner and performing a gap analysis between where you are and where you would like to be can be helpful to identify areas that you can focus on when researching technology solutions and their compatibility.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
Change will happen, and business problems will present themselves. Therefore, a collection professional needs to have a business partner who is committed to listening and responding to the unique challenges your business is facing not only today, but also in the future. Making sure your vendor partner is agile and flexible in their approach, not only for the technology aspect, but also in all facets of the business is a game changer as you grow your business.


FRITZ SCHULZE Founder and Owner of Comtech Systems

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
We recommend that collection professionals purchase a collection platform that offers a wide range of automation to save valuable operator time and decision making, allowing a series of contact events to be planned at the management level, and executed either automatically or at the operator level. We also recommend that collection professionals take advantage of packaged or customized training offers from their software provider to maximize time-saving functionality built into the software. Finally, if you are not using a cloud-based solution, make sure your hardware has enough capacity to effectively run the software you have purchased. A small investment in hardware may significantly improve software performance which translates to increased operational efficiency.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
The ability for any software to scale and utilize new technology as it becomes available is an important consideration. For example, additional modules that allow additional functionality for company expansion without the disruption of migrating to new software. Additionally, the availability of additional letters, reports, utilities and detailed documentation provides valuable additional resource for collection professionals.


DAN HORNUNG President and CEO of ROYDAN Enterprises

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
Understanding your agency processes and what gaps you’re trying to fill before searching for software is essential. Then take the time to look under the hood and be certain that what’s beneath the superficial look and feel of the system will actually fit your agency needs. If it takes you four additional keystrokes to accomplish a particular task than it did before, will it make you more money?

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
The software system is only part of the equation. The agency is best served when their software partner is able to listen, learn and extend their systems to support continual changes occurring in an agency’s business.


CHRIS ROBERTS President and COO of Sentinel Development Solutions

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
Spend the time and effort necessary to assess the solution and be comfortable with the vendor. The two most important things to look for when assessing collection software include flexibility and design. The solution should be easy to configure so it readily supports different approaches, skill sets, and business models. This might mean a little extra configuration work in the beginning but it will be well worth it down the road. In addition, the solution should be logically designed so that the graphical user interface (GUI) guides users in the completion of tasks.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
Post-purchase people should be looking for things like free and responsive levels of support (a human answering the phone every time), free and comprehensive training, good documentation, and things like good interactive learning content.


TOM MOHR CEO of Beam Software

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
Decision makers should share software documentation or user manuals with managers and collection agents. They should consider screen sharing during a vendor’s software demonstration too. It’s much easier to get end-user adoption if they’re invited to participate in the selection process.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
Based on my experience, the key to any post-software purchase is service and support. The client relationship should be a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership; not a quick sale for the software vendor. Responsiveness and frequent communication are key. Even if we don’t have the issue resolved yet, we can communicate updates to the customer to better manage expectations. “Pick up the phone.” That’s what I say.


CHRIS CAMPBELL CEO of Simplicity Collection Software

What should a collection professional do to ensure collection software is easy to use and compatible with his/her company’s skill set?
I believe the answer to this question can be summed up in three words…flexibility, integration and customization. When selecting the right software for your business, make sure you select a software that is flexible and adaptable to the needs of your business. You shouldn’t have to change the way you do business just because you changed software platforms. The collection software platform that you select should be able to easily adapt to your specific business needs and skill sets. Likewise the successful collection software should easily integrate or be willing to integrate with current processes and vendors that you have in place and have worked hard to establish relationships with. Successful collection software should have processes already built into their system that can easily integrate with your current letter vendors, payment processors, skip tracers, credit bureaus, and other tools that you already use to make your collection business a success. If you aren’t already set up with those vendors or tools, the collection software should already have partnerships with vendors in those spaces to help you get set up easily and quickly. Finally, successful collection software should be customizable. Your software integration should not feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole. The collection software you select should be customizable to your needs. The vendor and software you select should be willing to adapt software processes to your specific needs and should have a level of customization that allows you to cater the software to your specific business needs.

What is something important a collection professional should look for in a vendor for the post-software purchase presence?
Two questions that should be asked by every collection professional are: “What is the level of customer support provided after the sale?” and “Is the vendor investing in software changes to ensure their software is customer centric and updated with an ever changing industry?” The answers to these two questions will tell you how committed the vendor is to servicing its clients and listening to its customers. Look for a vendor that is willing to invest in you as a client, that is willing to customize its processes in order to fit your specific needs. We have learned that no two collection professionals have the same way of collecting. There are always core similarities, but within each agency or firm are specific customizations that make each business uniquely successful. Make sure you select a vendor with knowledgeable support staff that can help you utilize the software to its fullest potential and a vendor that is constantly investing in updating and upgrading its software. This will help ensure that you are getting a software vendor that is committed to its product, committed to the success of you as a customer, and providing you with the cutting edge tools you need to be successful in an ever-changing industry.