This is my second foray into the collections industry. My first was with an agency that essentially was an extension of their client’s own collection department. Their modus operandi was to continue doing what their clients were doing for no up-front costs. Their clients would extend their reach by using their numerous collectors, calling the very same people they were calling, and through persistence achieve a certain level of success.
This was a business process outsourcer model (BPO) that worked well in markets where there was an abundance of billing, an abundance of late debt, and low expectations on that late debt; part of our client’s business model. These types of companies were seasoned consumers of collection agencies and, as such, low contingency fees were the key to getting in the door.
When I arrived, there was a desire to focus on commercial collections, specifically businesses collecting from businesses. In the B2B world (where bad debt is taken personally) they want escalation, they want a different course of action, and they want results. So, simply calling the same people they were calling wasn’t appealing nor did it give them confidence it would succeed. If that actually worked, you could hear, “I’m firing my collectors” from the credit manager. As such, when debt was placed our collection success was low for our clients, competitive with other BPO collection agencies.
After that disappointing experience I happened to come upon a non-traditional firm that treated each debt file as a case. Yes, a case, as in half Sherlock Holmes, half police investigation.
Corporate Intelligence Services, LLC is a financial investigation firm, first and foremost. Our private investigators are applying tools of the detective trade to the credit industry. Employing databases that are used by the FBI, Homeland Security, and major police departments we can get a detailed look at a company’s financial assets and liabilities; a complete timeline not just a snapshot.
We are used by credit managers to be certain of:
- New customers with limited credit history (who?),
- Existing customers who want a sudden increase in credit (why?),
- Customers who represent a large portion of your revenue (what if?),
- Vendors stability (will they deliver?),
- Customers who aren’t paying and new tactics are required.
We also collect. And, as above, all our collections begin with an investigation. We develop a tailored strategy that will succeed. We fit best when you’ve exhausted all your internal methods and feel the only option is to use an effective third-party agency. Our clients find that our detective style, “roll up your sleeves” approach substantially reduces their need for traditional legal channels.
One of the reasons our collection success rates are superior is because we have a complete financial picture of the debtor. As one client told me, “we are playing poker knowing what all the other players are holding.” Further, we aren’t going to call the same people, we are going to call decision makers. Yet, we are truly professional. We don’t have to intimidate, we don’t have to threaten, we don’t have to shout. Because, Knowledge is power and we know at CIS that half of knowledge is knowing where to find it and then equally important, knowing how to use it.
– STEVE IVES, Corporate Intelligence Services