What Fine-tuning my Backhand Taught Me about Collection Success

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Dave Rudd

During my youth, I was constantly on the go. If there was anything athletic happening, I was in the middle of it, having fun. Basketball, softball, neighborhood tackle football, tennis, golf, frisbee football, running, racing my bicycle, skateboarding. (Of course, I also enjoyed playing Asteroids and Space Invaders at the corner 7-11 store, but more on that in a future blog post.)

To be blunt, while I did have some athletic ability, I was certainly not what you would call a naturally gifted athlete. However, I did possess two critical attributes. First, I was not afraid to try something new. Second, I was willing to be taught.

When I became serious about playing tennis, I took lessons, joined a league, and started competing in tournaments against players with greater skills. I watched a ton of live tennis matches and was glued to the television during Wimbledon and the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. My favorite tennis player was—and still is—Bjorn Borg. I loved how he controlled his emotions and never let them distract him in a match. He played from the baseline and hit forehands down the line with unbelievable accuracy! I tried to model my double-handed backstroke after his.

What does any of this have to do with collections and even dialing technology? Well, it actually has a lot to do with it. Whatever athletic skills I learned in my youth I was taught by someone with more skill than I had. I learned by practicing with those more athletic and intelligent in the sport than I was. I also learned by watching and attempting to mimic the movements of professional athletes.

FIND your collector hero and then WATCH them. We should do the same in our businesses! In every one of your collection agencies there is a collector hero. The collector hero hits their monthly goals no matter the obstacles. These individuals have the unique ability to coach a debtor to pay their bills. They’ve uncovered the secret of collecting for your company and accounts. They have a sixth sense about the best place to reach a debtor: home or place of employment?

Make yourself collector hero. Study how your collector hero works (dialer supervising features are great tools for doing this). What are his or her secrets to success? Once you’ve gleaned the best practices of these highly skilled collectors, write them down, create a work-flow diagram if needed and set up your dialer to mimic your best collector’s activities. Any good dialer will be flexible enough to dial the way that works best for your agency and accounts. If you aren’t certain how to adjust dialing parameters on your technology, contact the dialer manufacturer, and they can certainly help you do it.

Remember: If you want to be the best, then study the best, learn from the best, and emulate the best. Make their best practices your best practices and then watch your level of success rise!

Dave Rudd is DialerFan, a champion of the collection industry, focused on improving collection capabilities through technology and political action. He energetically participates in lobbying efforts for the industry through donations, writing letters, making phone calls, participating in seminars and attending events in Washington D.C., including the most recent ACA International Fly-In.

Well acquainted with debt collection, Dave spent two years debt collecting before joining IAT in 1990. He has held a variety of positions at IAT, a provider of collection-specific dialing technology, including President/CEO and most recently Senior VP of Finance & Administration.

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