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Brown & Joseph Exhibits at NAWLA’s 2012 Traders Market in Chicago
Written by Bryan Lyter & John Whyte
November 15, 2012
November 8th & 9th, Brown & Joseph attended, as an exhibitor, the 2012 Traders Market, hosted by the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) and held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Il. NAWLA is comprised of over 650 leading forest products and building material industry wholesalers, manufacturers and industry affiliated companies throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to NAWLA members, the show included companies in the lumber supply chain: machinery, equipment and transportation providers. It was a pleasure to meet the many attendees and fellow exhibitors and discuss the specifics of not only the state of the industry, but the state of America, post election. I can tell you that there was a lot of energy, observations, and unity about where we are, where we’re heading and where we ought to be.
Brown & Joseph, is a Recommended & Approved Service Provider for NAWLA. We are also a proud Affiliate Member, offering a suite of services to the membership. Our NAWLA member clients trust that every effort is made to achieve success. Please contact us today to discuss how Brown & Joseph, Ltd. can optimize results and improve cash flow through our innovative commercial credit solutions.
Contact John Whyte at 1-888-829-9997 Ext. 207 or email: Jwhyte@brownandjoseph.com. Also, please browse through our website to get useful tips on debt recovery. Simply click on the link below:
Thank you NAWLA for another successful event! We look forward to seeing everyone next year in Las Vegas!
Cappuccilli: I started in sales in 1984 at a collection agency based out of Cincinnati called Parson Bishop National Collections. They had a great concept at the time, selling a flat fee of $1,100.00 for 100 account collection packages, which got you five letters sent for every account. The problem with this type of package today is there are no phone calls, no credit information, skip tracing, etc.
Collection Advisor: Have you seen an increase or decrease in accounts over the past year? Why do you think this occurred?
Cappuccilli: I have definitely seen an increase in placements. I believe clients have become more aggressive with their customer base as they are placing a lot earlier than I have ever seen. In the past, clients would hold on to a promise from a customer, whereas now they place more based on the age of the account and stick to it. Our company, Brown & Joseph, as well as a few of our competitors, have adapted to our clients’ needs, which has grown substantially in the last couple of years. We are constantly coming up with creative price structures for our clients to accommodate the earlier placements.
Collection Advisor: How has technology helped you improve efficiency and what has helped the most?
Cappuccilli: In order to generate the amount of revenue we have today, we do it with 30-40% less employees. 98% of everything we utilize internally is electronic and I would say the placement of accounts has been the largest reduction in cost. We currently have three people in the data entry department. For the same department in 1996, it would have required 10-12 to handle today’s placement volume.
Collection Advisor: What software or legislative developments would you like to see take place in the next few years in telecom collections?
Cappuccilli: Personally, I would like to see the ability to legally enforce all term limits for contracts signed for every state. Judges have become a lot more liberal with their rulings relating to collecting on term, versus usage, for commercial telecom accounts. For once, I would like the legislative branches of government help out our telecom clients and enact more laws to help us enforce the recovery of the contract term, not just the usage.
Collection Advisor: With the growing prevalence with bundling phone, Internet and cable services, how has the telecom collections climate changed?
Cappuccilli: Marketing is the life blood of telecom companies, like any other company in the US. With today’s new marketing packages and bundling of services, you must be on your game when contacting the customers. Collecting has become a bit more complicated, as the customers with the bundled services now have more reasons to dispute a bill, whereas before they only had one.
Collection Advisor: What is the most difficult compliance issue in telecom collections?
Cappuccilli: The most difficult compliance issue is keeping up with the political landscape of ever changing laws, not just for consumer accounts but ever more pressing for commercial accounts as well. It is not a myth, but a fact, that the more legislation that is inacted by the federal government and the states, the more difficult it is to recover money for our clients. When government gets involved to pass new laws, they always mean well with the laws they pass. The problem is, usually, it only resolves the issue for a minority of consumers that caused the legislation in the first place. On the flip side of the coin, it affects the majority, thus requiring us and everyone else in the collection industry to change all of our internal processes to legally protect us and our clients from litigation. Lastly, as you know, the consumer land line is disappearing and one can buy a disposable phone from a convenience store these days. I believe this will forever be a challenge until some type of restrictions are put in place for these type of transactions.
Collection Advisor: What was a particular collection challenge you were faced with and how did you overcome it?
Cappuccilli: A few years ago, I was working with a client on commercial telecom account balances that averaged $100.00 at a 25% contingent rate of what was collected. The volume of accounts was $8-10K per month. We went to the client and got historical recovery benchmarks by their current third party vendors after six months of working the files. We then took these recovery percentages and used it to obtain a 50% bonus of any money recovered over the historical recoveries. It was a true win-win for both our client and for us. One thing I have seen over the years is that a lot of collection agencies sell on price. Sometimes that will work, but a lot of times it won’t.
Collection Advisor: What skip tracing techniques has your organization implemented that have brought the best results?
Cappuccilli: In the old days, we had employees only using the white pages and calling neighbors, etc. With the internet and all the electronic scrubbing data bases we use, we pre-scrub every account for phone, address and credit history. Over the years, this has not only lead to 30-40% more fees by each collector, it has also saved us 10’s of thousands of dollars versus the old way.
Collection Advisor: What do you do you do to help maintain morale in the office?
Cappuccilli: To keep morale as high as possible, we are constantly putting out financially incentivized contests and additional incentives, such as earning time off. Every collector here is on a monthly bonus structure based on performance. This works for most, but all of the “never ending” contests keep morale moving in the right direction. Additionally, we believe, and practice, promotion from within. Lastly, I know our employees enjoy the appreciation events we hold outside the office.
Collection Advisor: What is a mistake you saw made in collections early in your career and how do you avoid making that mistake?
Cappuccilli: The mistake I have witnessed is paying a collector too much money and trusting they will do the right thing. We now utilize our software and historical recovery benchmarks to control workflow for each client. Unlike most agencies, we truly segment the business internally, as one thing we have learned is collectors have a much easier time collecting on a desk with fewer clients. Also, we never assume our collection staff knows what to do as we are constantly training to insure maximum recovery for each of our clients. The biggest mistake of all is thinking that just because one client in a vertical has a recovery rate of 20%, their competitor will have the same. That is not always true.
Collection Advisor: How would you advise a new collection professional looking into telecom collections?
Expect to make a lot of phone calls and expect to hear every reason in the book why someone can’t pay, which is my obvious advice. At 53 years old, I have never seen the US in this bad of shape and I hear it from our clients weekly. One thing I have noticed in the last couple years is the people that succeed come to work, they ask a lot of questions and they work hard (what a concept, right?). The people who succeed rarely complain and they are glad to have a job, so please keep that in mind for any job you take, not just in collections.
Collection Advisor: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Cappuccilli: I enjoy working around my house, be it yard work, inside the home or anything that would keep me off of a phone when I am not in the office. I am always refreshed coming back into the office after a weekend of hard work.
Written by Jeff Fluty. June 14, 2012.
Over the last several months, Brown & Joseph, Ltd. has seen a growing number of new clients coming from the automotive aftermarket industry. Earlier this year, Brown & Joseph, Ltd. joined the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) at the recommendation of several long standing clients involved in the organization. The AAIA serves those companies with an interest in any and all facets of the automotive industry including distribution, manufacturing, and those companies providing professional services to the industry. With such a vast array of automotive specialists, the membership is divided into specific segments to better serve the interests of member companies. In the last month, we’re happy to count four new clients from the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) segment alone. A number we expect to see grow.
As we’ve done with our other industry associations, Brown & Joseph, Ltd. will continue to seek opportunities to build our relationship with the AAIA through educational and value added programs. We understand the role of a true collection partner means you not only grow your business within a specific industry, but you also look for ways to help that industry grow. In the coming months, we will be contacting AAIA & AWDA members about upcoming opportunities to join Brown & Joseph, Ltd. for educational webinars and regional events allowing members to come together to share ideas and tactics for increasing collection results across the board. In the meantime, we welcome anyone interested in learning more about our automotive specific, 3-phase approach to collections to visit our website or contact us directly. We welcome any questions or suggestions, and look forward to speaking with each and every member in the weeks and months to come.
Jeff Fluty has been involved in selling consumer and commercial collection services since transitioning from the billing software and services industry over a decade ago. Since then, he has worked with his clients to assist in all aspects of receivables management and collections both domestic and internationally. Based in Dallas, TX, Jeff has worked closely with various clients across all industries with a special focus on those with collection needs in the manufacturing, automotive aftermarket, and energy related fields. His background includes managing both in-house and outsourcing projects alike. In addition to advising on matters ranging from credit risk assessment to commercial portfolio purchases, Jeff works tirelessly to assure his clients are presented with the best solution for their unique needs.http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeff-fluty/15/5bb/353
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