Finding A Collection Agency: How Do I Choose?

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October 9, 2012 by Rick B

Last week we discussed how valuable a relationship with a collection agency can be for your business.  Today we will focus on how to find the best collection agency for you and your business.

So, you’ve decided partnering with a collection agency is the right thing to do, now what? The first thing to be cognizant of is your brand and reputation.  We all work hard to build a reputation as a quality business; it is vital to find a collection agency that espouses similar core-values.  Your collection agency will be speaking directly with your customers, make sure they are flexible enough to convey your message, not theirs.

Speaking of reputation, ask any agency you’re considering partnering with for references. Anyone can tell you they have a good reputation, sometimes it’s best to hear this from another source.  Any reputable business should be able to provide references for you.

In last week’s post, we discussed the importance of utilizing a collection agency based on their ability to efficiently and effectively recover your receivables.  The most efficient and reputable organizations will have highly trained collectors working on your behalf.  Make sure to ask how/where their collectors have been trained; ACA International is the go-to entity for collections training and compliance.  Make sure the agency you go with is utilizing this highly specialized training—it not only helps with results, but also compliance.

Speaking of compliance, I cannot overstate the importance of partnering with a reputable agency that values compliance as a core-competency. If you are a healthcare facility, you already know what I’m talking about.  Most of us have heard of HIPAA and maybe HITECH, but have you heard of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that governs the collection industry? I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.  The ACA trains collectors on compliance and a good agency will  not only have ACA certified Professional Collection Specialists, but also have a compliance department or officer that can ensure their collectors stay up to date on their education and compliance.  If an agency you are speaking with glosses over compliance, there is only one thing to do—run!

Last, but not least, make sure they pass what I call the “gut-check” test. You know, that little feeling you get when something feels off?  You can’t always put your finger on it, but you know something doesn’t seem right.  Don’t ignore that little twinge. If something doesn’t feel right, move on.  The best collection agencies know how to work with people and make them feel comfortable.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right collection agency.  Reputation, compliance, communication, and results are good places to start your search.  Hopefully, the tips above will serve as a valuable guide in your decision making process.

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