Debtcol, a leading mercantile software innovator, recently undertook a survey at the IMA conference to gain greater insight into what challenges the industry is facing today.
Sandy Barrett, Managing Director of Debtcol Software, has worked in the industry for 25 years. In this time he discovered how sparse the platforms provided for debt collectors were. He knew there had to be a better way, so for the past 16 years, Sandy’s involvement in developing and providing efficient software, now gives the industry the tools it needs to conduct itself efficiently.
The relentless drive to provide the best solutions has acted as a catalyst for the survey/inquiry. After comparing the challenges of today to the challenges Sandy was faced with twenty years ago, his sole purpose became obvious. The software solutions provided for the industry needed to address all concerns. It also needed to be relevant, seamless and affordable.
As a key service provider to the industry, we have the ability to recognize and interpret what the industry seeks, then generate intelligent solutions that seamlessly integrate with the customer’s needs. Moreover, as a software provider, we are driven to revolutionize the end-user experience and improve the client’s bottom line through efficiencies. But what is possible to address through software and what isn’t?
The survey was very well received as it lent itself to introspection, and provoked thought in those surveyed. What we uncovered was deeply compelling as much as it was revealing. One of the key trends highlighted was that most of the industry is hustling to react to client driven change. Competition is fierce and customers are fickle. They know what they want and they know they can get it. Meeting these demands is driving up costs of business, yet these costs are often worn by the business itself, making margins even smaller.
The trends discovered were found to be pointedly obvious, and are best expressed by categorizing them into three distinct groups surveyed; users using software systems, not using software systems, using the DebtCol system.
Similarly, we grouped the challenges into four distinct areas being;
- Customer Demand, Compliance and accreditation
- Business and Development
- Management and Quality Control
Questions asked in each category were:
- Inability to properly leverage from your software platform / under utilising software
- Lack of or poor remote access to your data
- Managing multiple tools e.g. email, SMS, searching, Accounting
- IT Support / Backup (Availability, Reliability, Cost for out of hours support or out of scope projects)
- Cloud based system support, back up and security
- Maintaining and upgrading equipment
- Maintaining and upgrading software
Customer Demand, Compliance and accreditation
- Trust Account
- Privacy Act
- ASIC/ACCC guidelines
- PCI compliance
- Reporting requirements
- Client demand requiring customisation
- Customer expectation for you to have ISO accreditation or compliance
- Finding and keeping good staff
- Systems/procedures training of staff i.e. length of time it takes to train new staff to the productive and profitable stage
- Staff overworking files or taking actions that are not profitable
- Competition pushing down price, lowering your margin
- Poor quality work
- low debt value
- skipped debtors
- missing debtor details (address, phone, email)
Business Development and Management
- Managing high volumes of work
- Excessive administration costs
- Efficient management of workload
- Outsourcing work and receiving timely updates
- Creating and maintaining legal precedents
- Attaining new business
- Retaining new business
About the Survey Respondents
Within these distinct groups we assembled the results in order of most challenging to least and found the following trends -
Group 1 (Using Software Systems)
1. Customer demand, compliance and ccreditation
a. Trust Account, Privacy Act, ASIC/ACCC and PCI compliance
b. Reporting requirements
c. Client demand requiring customisation
2. Quality Control
a. Finding and keeping good staff
b. Systems/procedures training of staff
c. Poor quality work
a. IT Support/Backup
b. Managing multiple tools/disparate systems
c. Inability to properly leverage from software
4. Business development and management
a. Attaining new business
b. Efficient management of workload
c. Outsourcing work and receiving timely update
Group 2 (Not Using Software Systems)
1. Business development and management
a. Efficient management of workload
b. Outsourcing work and receiving timely updates
c. Managing high volumes of work
a. Managing multiple tools/disparate systems
b. IT Support/Backup
c. Lack of or poor remote access to date
3. Quality control
a. Systems/procedures training of staff
b. Competition pushing down price
c. Finding and keeping good staff
4. Customer demand, compliance and accreditation
a. Reporting requirements
b. Trust Account, Privacy Act, ASIC/ACCC and PCI compliance
c. Client demand requiring customisation
Group 3 (Using the DebtCol System)
1. Quality control
a. Poor quality work
b. Finding and keeping good staff
c. Competition pushing down pric
2. Business development and management
a. Attaining new business
b. Outsourcing work and receiving timely update
3. Customer demand, compliance and accreditation
a. Customer expectation for ISO accreditation
b. ASIC/ACCC guideline
a. Under utilising software
So what can be addressed through software and what can’t?
We have shown through integration that we can reduce running costs. Your productivity is key to profits, so if you’re emailing, SMSing, searching, data verification, Court issuing, field attendance updating, CRM and online payment processing is being managed by disparate systems, this is costing your business dearly in lost productivity.
Having a single platform that can drive all of these activities from the one simple screen, automatically build client reports as operators do their job and become transparent to your client by providing real-time web access, is not only taking a proactive role for your customers, it is going a long way to meeting the customer demands with ease and confidence. And that means you can simply get down to what you do best and get the real results for the client.
And since finding and keeping good quality staff ranked so high on the list of challenges, having a system manage a greater portion of the administration that ordinarily comes with that level of client compliance, can also help you make gains.
There are so many solutions out in the market today that businesses can leverage from to improve their profits. But at what cost? Training, licensing, IT outsourcing, hardware and double or triple handling things? Integration and Cloud Hosting is key and vital. Unburdening yourself of administration by implementing one easy to use cloud-based product, and gaining valuable time, is quite possibly the greatest benefit of all.
It is clear that those without a computerized system are suffering the most. The level of effort it takes to manage workflow and meet client demands for billing and reporting alone is, without question, debilitating.
Those with computerised systems benefit from improved management of workflow, yet IT costs can be high and unpredictable.
Utilising a single solution that is cloud-based and bundles everything into a single affordable monthly fee, gives you improved cash-flow, greater agility and capacity to grow, but most importantly, it gives you access to invaluable research and development resulting in relevant and seamless solutions without the effort and expense. This means you have the time to counter those problems not normally associated with software, such as training and keeping good quality staff, attaining accreditation and ultimately growing your business and profits. Basically you can get back to focusing on doing what you do best, without interruption.
The survey not only provided insight which acts as a barometer in assessing the industry voice, but also satiated the underpinning question asked by DebtCol – that we provide the solutions not only of our customers’ needs, but also the industry’s in general. Assuaging the cumbersome administrative challenges by offering a seamless, multi-dimensional platform extends businesses the time and the confidence they need to focus on other factions of their company.