Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nearly 3 Hours A Day

A recent survey by Salary.com shows employee productivity may not be all that employers would like. According to the survey, "the average worker in the US admits to frittering away 2.09 hours per eight hour workday". This figure does not include lunch breaks or other scheduled break-time.
In Wisconsin, for every eight hours work an employer pays for, the employee is likely to deliver less than six. Respondents admit to wasting 2.8 hours on activities such as:
o Surfing the Internet for personal use
o Socializing with co-workers
o Conducting personal business
Take out employer sanctioned time off such as lunch breaks, vacation time and sick leave and the productivity picture looks even worse.
"Never has the argument for outsourcing been stronger" says Yvonne McCoy owner of Swift Office Services LLC, a Virtual Assistant firm based in Eagle, Wisconsin. Virtual Assistants (VAs) are fast becoming the small business owner's preferred choice for administrative and marketing support. VAs can substantially reduce the costs traditionally associated with hiring talent; they bill only for time on task and work remotely from their own fully equipped office. "This makes administrative support more affordable for the business owner who no longer needs to furnish his assistant with a desk, computer, telephone and all the other paraphernalia that goes with a direct hire."
"Nor does he need to worry how to keep the assistant fully occupied during slack periods" says McCoy. According to the survey, the number one time-wasting excuse is "Don't have enough work to do," reason enough for many to consider outsourcing over hiring. Since a whopping 33.2% of respondents cited this as their biggest reason for wasting time, small business owners need to seriously consider whether they can keep a new hire gainfully employed before committing to that kind of expenditure.
Swift Office Services LLC is one of a growing number of virtual assistant practices, operated by seasoned administrators who left the corporate world to become entrepreneurs. As McCoy states, "with innovations in communications and technology, many administrative and marketing functions can be undertaken from just about any location, and the resulting work easily transmitted by email, internet, fax or more traditional methods."
Just for the record, Wisconsin is not the biggest time wasting state. It ranks number four behind Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4 Types of Debtors

Most people pay their debts on a timely basis. Some do not. There are basically 4 types of debtors that do not pay on a regular payment schedule.
Magician's Assistant
This is the hardest type to collect from. In their mind if they do not hear from you about the debt, then the debt does not exists. Thus, they do everything that they can to avoid contact. And if you do make contact they will try everything to get you off track. They will get you to try and focus on less important instances of the account, for example...it is your fault that you sent the letter to the wrong address, your company was not suppose to cash a check until a certain day, they never got your messages because you were leaving them at the wrong number, and on and on. This is where being the professional collector comes into play. You must remain focused, regardless of the smoke screen thrown at you. Get control of the conversation and keep it.
Worker Ant
This debtor is a hard worker. They are by nature, proud and do not easily ask for help. They go to work everyday, most of the time even when they are sick. They honestly believe that if they work just a little harder they will make the money necessary to pay off the debt. The problem is there is ALWAYS something that comes up and takes their money. The professional collector will show respect to this debtor and gentle nudge with ideas on how to better budget. If necessary let the debtor think it was their idea.
Cloud Walker
This debtor is not exactly grounded in reality. They believe that somehow tomorrow it will all work out. They believe that the payment date at the end of the month is fine because the money will just appear from somewhere. If they do not have the money today, it will be here tomorrow. The professional collector directs the debtor in the best direction to go. First, by asking questions that gets the debtor to understand that they as the debtor must make a plan, AND STICK TO IT.
The Frustrated Student
This debtor will probably fuss, yell, cry and vent in some other way within your conversation. It is important to note that the magician's assistant will possible act the same way. But, their reasoning is completely different. The magician's assistant will act out for the purpose of a smoke screen. The frustrated student is doing so because they are mad at themselves, their situation and their financial abilities. They want to take care of the debt but have no idea how. The professional collector will determine the difference. Then, will explain to the debtor that the frustration is normal, but both of you working together will find a successful answer.
It is important to determine the type of debtor that you are dealing with. Once you have determined the debtor's style you will have a better opportunity to overcome any objections that the debtor has in trying to repay their debt.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Godiva Chocolate

Has this every happened to you? You have an account that owes your company a considerable amount of money. Everything goes well for awhile. The payments are made on time, the debtor calls you just because he wants to know how he can make your day better (hey, this is my dream!).
Then one day no more calls and worse yet, no more payments. You, being the good employee that you are, attempt to call them and you discover that they have disappeared off of the face of the planet. So, you go back through your previous issues of Collection Advisory to look in the Skip Trace column to ensure your best possibility of finding your debtor. You begin your search process and you can not find any thing, WHAT NOW?
The question is, are you looking for the right information? Confirming the information that you begin with is essential. Are you certain that the name, address social security number and phone number were TOTALLY correct from the start? I know the debtor gave you every bit of information that you asked for, but if you did not get the complete information you may have to spend considerable time, money and effort to get it corrected. Let me explain:
Name
Have you spelled the name correctly? Is it John, Jon, Jonn? Is he Jr., Sr., II or III? Is Smith her maiden or married name? Too many times we begin a search and later determine that the person we are looking for is actual the son or father of the person that we have found.
Address
Is the address an apartment or mobile home park or a duplex? If so, the address is not 123 Main St. Instead it may be 123 Main St. Lot 1, or 123 Main St, Apt 14...you get the picture. Additionally, what if the residence is on family land, therefore you may have one driveway and multiple addresses. Go  to determine the truest possible address that is listed.
Social Security Number
This can be a tricky one. Is the social security number that you have for the debtor the actual number issued by the Social Security Administration? It is not difficult to have multiple credit bureaus in one's name. However, due to the identity thieves out there I will not discuss how that can happen here. Go to determine what state a SSN was issued.
The first three digits of a social security number dictate in which state that number was issued. If you have the legal ability to pull the credit bureau, look in the header section for the age or date of birth. This is a little trick to see if it is the correct credit bureau. If you do not see either the age or date of birth, most of the time it is not the number issued to them by the SSA.
There are several free websites that you can go to and determine what state and what year a social security number was issued. If a number was issued ten years before the debtor was born chances are that is not the correct SSN.
Phone Number
When the information was originally gathered the debtor told you that this is their home phone number, is it really? Is it a land line, the wire that runs from the pole to the jack on the wall? Or, is it a cell phone? There a few free websites that you can go to and determine if a phone number is a cell phone or a land line. Go to  input the area code and the prefix, the first three numbers of the phone number. You will discover if it is a cell or land line, what city and state it was issued and the telephone company that assigned that number. Also remember, there are internet companies now that will issue you a phone number with the area code of your choosing.
Conclusion
Godiva Chocolate is one of the most expensive chocolates in the world. The reason, they claim, is that that start with the best ingredients. We need to be the same. We need to start with totally correct information. Just like the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. No deposit no return. A bird in the hand... OK, OK enough with clich├ęs. Confirm the information that you start with and you WILL save time, money and effort.