What does a collection agency know about customer service? More than you think.
If there are a few things that are overflowing here at American Profit Recovery, its respect, and a deep desire to help. That’s helping the business that hires us and their customer that owes them money. They both require our help and some might say, they are both our customer.
Since we are most often talking about helping a business, stay in business, and what we can do to help them, let’s focus on the consumer for a moment.
While in many cases, a consumer gets into our system because of an oversight or even a minor dispute, many times, they are facing financial challenges. And in a lot of cases, they don’t know where to turn. So they ignore both the business they owe the money to and the debt collector. It is our job to open the lines of communication as best we can. And we cannot do that by being rude, unreasonable or not understanding of their situation. We need to be great at customer service. Continue reading “Great customer service makes you different”
One thing we are very proud of here at American Profit Recovery is our educated team. No, not everyone has PhD here, but every one of our staff understands their job, the collection industry and their role in helping both business and consumer. If our team members are not off site keeping up to date on everything we need to understand in the collection industry, we are always reinforcing best practices here in our office. In fact, it’s a daily occurrence.
Education is part of our culture and that makes American Profit Recovery a great place to work and one of the best collection agencies for a small business to use.
Because we believe so much in education, our team participates in the annual Collector’s Challenge. Spearheaded by the ACA International Education Foundation, the Collectors Challenge helps raise funds to assist in the advance of education for those in or affiliated with the collection industry.
The Foundation offers the annual Loomer-Mortenson Scholarships as a result of funds raised through the annual Collectors Challenge held each April.
This year, our team raised over $1,500 for the Foundation. That brings our ten year total to over $17,000. And each year, we raise it by having fun in the office. We have fun here anyway but we bring up another level when we are raising money for great causes. Our team participated in putting contests, our March Madness brackets, and of course everyone pays to dress casual in the office.
New this year was our paper airplane contest. Team members could pay for a piece of card stock they then turned into a paper airplane. The airplane that went the most distance earned that staff member an Amazon gift card.
Stay tuned to our Facebook page and our blog to see where our team ends up next to raise money and help others.
If you own a small business, manage one or even work for a small business then you have an important role here in our country. You are a major player in the US economy. In fact, you are pretty much the backbone of it.
A small business as you may know is any organization that employs 1-49 employees. And the SBA says that over half of Americans work for a small business. That is everything from the professional consultant, the lawncare company, that great breakfast place down the street and that local dental practice.
Small business survives on great relationships. Taking care of the customer and gaining a clear understanding of their needs, wants and issues. A small business develops a relationship with a customer, unlike big business. The small business takes care of the customer or patient, and the customer pays for their expertise, products and services. Hopefully on time.
But when a small business doesn’t get paid for what they provide, that can cause a whole host of issues. And as a collection agency that works with small business, we see these issues firsthand. Businesses struggling to get customers to pay on time and in some cases, pay at all. Continue reading “Small Business is the backbone of our economy”
By Sarah S.
With Earth Day just past. I thought it would be fun to talk about one of my favorite volunteer opportunities that American Profit Recovery offers. It is nice being able to spend a day outside with my other team members working together to make one of our State Parks in Michigan beautiful, especially after all the winter blues! From building picnic tables, cleaning up leaves, pulling weeds and planting new flowers we definitely get stuff done!
For the past few years we have gone to Island Lake Recreation Area in Brighton, Michigan. We split the day in half between everyone that volunteers which works out well so we aren’t taking any time away from helping out our clients and consumers. One shift goes in the morning and comes back about halfway through the day to relieve the next shift go over and finish up the day. There are two reasons that I love doing this day so much.
First you get to spend time with all your team members outside your department. I like getting to know them developing relationships with them. When working in the office just a “Good Morning” or a smile as we pass can sometimes be all that happens when working the day to day grind. Having this opportunity breaks things up helps you get to know your team members in another way. Which isn’t offered at places that I have worked in the past.
Second who doesn’t like to be outside on a warm sunny day?! Also seeing the final product when we are done is always rewarding. In my free time I love being outside cleaning up my own yard, spending a day a State park or out on the lake. So being able to say “APR and I made that State Park look pretty” as we pull in or drive by always makes me feel proud. With me being a lover of the outdoors being able to help get things cleaned up and keep our state great is always a nice way to give back.
Looking forward to going this year as well and many more years to come!
There comes a time at every type of business when a price adjustment is necessary. Most businesses do not like to raise prices but in fact, it is just part of doing business over time. Keeping pricing the same for long periods of time can have a negative effect on your bottom line and your cash flow. If you want to stay in business and stay profitable, you will need to adjust your pricing from time to time.
For many types of businesses, raising prices can be a little bit stressful because you don’t know how your customers will react. For other types of businesses, it can be just a way of
doing business. If the market dictates what your cost of goods are, then you have no choice but to have pricing go up and down at times. In fact, there are some types of business such as certain distribution companies that adjust prices daily. And remember that daily catch sign at your local seafood restaurant? Pricing fluctuates in business and you need to get comfortable with adjusting pricing.
Continue reading “How to raise prices without making your customers mad”
Success in any endeavor comes from paying attention to the details. Collections is no different. Collectors who do all the small things right are the ones who enjoy the most success. These small things are part of the countless decisions that collectors make on a daily basis. Sometimes, a decision as simple as when (and when not) to make a call can be the difference between collecting the account or not.
My best recommendation to our clients, in order to help achieve the best possible recovery, is to provide as much detailed information as possible when placing an account in collections. Knowing if a consumer named “Robert” goes by “Bob” or “Rob” can make all the difference in being able to get that consumer on the phone.
Often times, even the smallest piece of information can make the biggest impact on whether or not an account is collected. Consumers do not always remember the details of a particular debt, and being able to provide them with a small detail may help jog their memory on a collection call. For example, let’s say that a consumer questions why a medical bill is owed when they have insurance. If a client has provided us with the fact that the past-due amount is the consumer’s co-payment, we can possibly avoid a dispute situation and talk instead about how to resolve the debt.
You can imagine that no consumer wants to admit they have knowingly avoided paying a debt when they are called by a debt collector. Therefore, their initial response to us will often be a lack of awareness about the bill. If we can address that issue head-on with a small piece of information, we can focus on doing what we do best. That is, helping consumers find a way to pay their just debt.
You could write an entire book about what keeps business owners up all night. In fact, there are most likely many on the market. In our past blog post on this subject, we outlined a few including lack of cash flow, keeping sales and revenue growing, staying on top of current trends and other concerns. If you don’t have time to read an entire book, we got you covered here at American Profit Recovery as we have been summarizing these top issues you face.
And as you might imagine, collection agencies that serve small business hear quite a bit from business owners and management about the ups and downs of business. Especially when it comes to matters surrounding money. First of course is cash flow or lack of it. Which as you probably know, effects just about every aspect of your business.
Money is the deciding factor when it comes to so many issues that you might face. Here are a few more concerns that you should always be keeping a close eye on in your business. Continue reading “Four more concerns of business owners”
Running a business is one of the best feelings in the world. You make your own decisions, implement your ideas and hopefully you see your efforts pay off in a growing business and satisfied customers. But to get there, you have to kind of get used to a little worry in your life. The late night infomercials of self-employed people sitting on a yacht all day are pretty much a myth.
If you run a business of any kind you’ll know that hard work, and some sleepless nights are part of the journey. And as a collection agency that specializes in small business, we can tell you, most business owners wake up in the middle of the night thinking about any number of concerns, including how to keep paying their own bills.
But there are other issues that face the business owner every day. And quite a few that every business owner like you needs to pay attention to. Continue reading “Five concerns every business owner should pay attention to”
It is a common question, especially with a newer business. How can I establish credit in my business? But it’s not solely a question for a new business. More established businesses often have to establish or even repair credit. Nevertheless, having the proper level of credit for a business is a smart way to ensure you have the backing you need, when you need it, as well as having the ability to conduct business with vendors without having to pay on demand.
There are a many out there that will claim to help you in this effort but be careful because some of the methods they might employ, could actually do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Continue reading “How can I establish more business credit?”
As a collection agency working with small business owners, we hear stories all the time of businesses at the brink of failure. For whatever reason, the business just couldn’t get past any number of roadblocks in their way and the business ultimately had no choice but to close. Most of the time the reason is pretty clear. It’s cash flow. It crushes us to hear these stories because we know there was a good chance that we could have helped had we been contacted earlier.
Yes, there are many other reasons a business might close such as an owner retiring, moving on to something else, crippling regulations or a bout of bad publicity that causes the business to shut down. And of course there are others but almost always, it’s about the cash when a business is forced to close against an owner’s wishes. Continue reading “How to avoid a business failure”