It was a productive (and hot!) week in Dallas at ACA International’s Annual Convention connecting with peers, friends and customers. The convention was a great opportunity to learn about changes in our industry and new technologies and to meet with customers to discuss challenges, successes, and new opportunities.
Performing an annual review with key vendors and technology partners should be a high priority for all ARM businesses. Communicating your company’s strategic goals with your vendors can help ensure that they are creating products and services to help you achieve and exceed your goals. Technology rapidly evolves and you may discover that there are new products and services that can help you operate your business with greater efficiency and enhance the quality of services that you provide to your customers.
Many of the people I spoke with at the ACA conference were surprised at the traction secure e-mail communication is gaining in the collection industry. The adoption of e-mail based communication for billing purposes has long had a foothold in the first party environment. But secure email technology is also being applied using best practices for the credit and collections industry to adhere to FDCPA requirements for consumer communications.
Secure email is helping collection agencies open new communication channels with consumers (often it is their preferred communication method) while significantly lowering communication costs. This technology can be easily integrated with existing payment channels to provide further convenience for responsible parties to pay and accelerate receivables.
In addition to reviewing new technologies it is also important to evaluate existing processes to make sure that they are keeping pace with your operational changes. One example is communicating changes in your agency’s state licensing status to your mail vendor. This ensures mail delivery to a particular state is controlled based on your current licensing in that state.
There also are many other services (NCOA, AEC, ERM, ACS, DPRM…what I call the alphabet soup of the print and mail industry!) that can have significant impact on your costs, compliance and mail deliverability.
As you review your vendor partners, another key issue to address is data security. The ARM Industry is already exposed to excessive regulatory oversight. We cannot afford costly and embarrassing data breaches. Make sure that your key vendors are taking the appropriate steps to safe guard your data – PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, HIPAA/HiTech, etc. Above and beyond a SAS 70 audit, make sure that your vendors’ data security policies are up to date and have been audited and certified by qualified data security professionals.
Annual vendor reviews are productive for all involved parties. The exchange of information keeps vendors well informed as to how products can evolve to provide maximum ROI and it helps make agencies aware of the latest tools and technologies to help them enhance efficiencies, maintain compliance, and keep their agencies at the forefront of the ARM Industry.
Mike McDonnell, Vice President of Sales – Eastern Region for DANTOM Systems, Inc., has more than 15 years of business process outsourcing expertise, managing strategic relationships and applications in the Financial Services and Collections Industry. McDonnell’s experience covers both third-party collection and first-party billing applications including traditional letters and statements as well as secure Internet-based presentment and payment applications. He has been an ACA Affiliate member since 1995 and currently serves on the ACA Board of Directors. McDonnell can be reached by email.
Known for its innovation and flawless execution, DANTOM Systems, Inc. is the leading receivables communication provider. DANTOM experts take the time to understand customers’ unique business requirements and tailor a solution to meet their receivables communication needs, including electronic bill presentment, payment portal, online archive, eNotice collection letters as well as dynamic full color digital ouput. The company partners with more than 900 organizations to create high-impact receivables documents while lowering costs – positively impacting their bottom line.