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Your ARMor

 The UCS Newsletter, providing accounts receivable management and debt collection insights. 

With the committment to maintaining  the important balance between  


                                       Results and Relationships.                                                 

2013 - Vol 1, Issue 3
In This Issue
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Thanks for your kindness.  I am deeply sorry you had to wait for payment. 
Pray for me, and I for you.
                 a consumer
Dear Cathy,
Thank you for all of your help.
                 a consumer
 We apologize for the delay in payment.  We will do our best to pay all of our bills ASAP.
Thank you for your patience.
              Thank you,
                    a consumer
Dear Rick,
Thank you for your donation to Open Arms Free Clinic, Inc.
    Christina Dean, Treasurer
 Dear Mr. Cox,
Thank you so much for the bike.  I got my other bike when I was in third grade... The bike you donated is the perfect size for me....
  Thank you,
- recipient  
Elkhorn Police Department - United Way Drive.
I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for your donation for needy military veterans through ARMing Heroes, the collection industry's charity for military veterans.
Nick Bernardo, President

In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Far be it for me to try and improve upon the words of Benjamin Franklin, but I think we can add conflict to that list.  Because like it or not, if two (or more) people are in a marriage, a family, in the workplace--or anywhere together--conflict will arise.  It's really not a matter of if it will happen, but more of a when will it happen, kind of thing. 



I remember back when I was much younger, I had a boss who avoided conflict at all costs.  And even though I could see why he dodged dealing with it (conflict made him extremely uncomfortable) I could also see that not addressing it cost the organization plenty. I learned a lot from that boss--I learned a lot about how not to run a business.


 Here's the thing, when conflict is avoided or mismanaged it can cause great harm to an organization by damaging relationships that might leave people feeling hurt, misunderstood, resentful, or alienated which could snowball into turning the company's culture toxic. But, if conflict is met head-on and resolved in a positive way--with respect--it can actually provide a great opportunity for a business to strengthen and grow relationships, build trust, motivate team members and  make better comprehensive group decisions.



I've found that I like to build teams with divergent positions and personalities.  Does conflict arise in these groups? You bet.  And if the conflict within these groups is embraced and resolved properly and constructively it can inspire innovation, creativity, and learning in ways like-minded teams can't possibly comprehend.


For me, there are four pillars to addressing conflict head-on.  The first one is communication. I think we can all agree that a huge percentage of conflicts occur due to a lack of communication. And sometimes the best way to find if there has been a misunderstanding is not to talk, but to listen.


The second pillar is controlling emotions. Conflict can sometimes trigger emotions and while it is important to know how you feel about a situation, it is also vital not to let strong emotions get in the driver's seat or a regrettable decision may follow.   It's also important for us all to realize that when we're on the receiving end of a disagreement we might feel defensive (there go those emotions) even if people are not attacking us.  It's hard to listen when emotions are charged, when taken out of the equation there's a greater chance of identifying a possible misunderstanding and clarifying your position.


The third pillar is defining acceptable behavior. Group leaders need to encourage open forums where disagreement is expressed freely, or you could deprive the group of potentially valuable insight. But, there should be ground rules on how disagreement is expressed--it can't be just a free-for-all. Sometimes it's not about what you have to say, but how you say it that's important. People need to be aware that the words they choose can affect others positively or negatively.  Be sensitive to others; criticize the idea, not the person.  If you want a cohesive group, leaders cannot allow personal attacks.



The fourth is to understand the WIIFM (what's in it for me) facet. One way of resolving conflicts is to understand the other's objective, their WIIFM factor and, when possible, help them achieve it. You will find very few people objecting to someone who is taking action that will help them achieve their goals.


Honestly, I believe that a resolution can be found as long as there is a genuine desire to do so by all parties involved. Embracing conflict and using the above strategies can help us all at home with family and friends, and when working with colleagues, clients, and consumers.


Best regards,       


Collection Agencies: National Leaders in Resolving Consumer Complaints--Again



In 2012, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 110 million inquiries from consumers and provided free business reliability reviews on more than 4 million businesses, which contributed to making the BBB's website among the top 350 most-visited websites in the United States.



Each year the 100+ year old nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust provides an annual report on their inquiries and complaint statistics.  Earlier this year the BBB released their 2012 report.  It revealed that collection agencies within the United States resolved 86 percent of the consumer complaints received by the bureau, exceeding the national average across all industries of 76.7 percent.  2012's resolution rate for collection agencies showed an increase of 3 percentage points over 2011's rate of 83 percent, while overall resolution rates across all industries remained fairly static, increasing slightly from 76.4 percent in 2011.



These numbers demonstrate how dedicated the third party collection industry is to resolving complaints--especially when you consider ours is an industry that is inherently fraught with conflict--and how committed we are, as an industry, to working with consumers to find solutions.


If you are curious about how your industry faired with the resolution of consumer complaints in the Better Business Bureau's 2012 report, click here


The Better Business Bureau is not the only consumer watchdog on the block. Two years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis; the federal government launched the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that, along with its other duties, tracks complaints against debt collectors. In their annual report this year, the CFPB noted a reduction  in the number of complaints received relating to the collection industry, and announced their new consumer complaint resolution process for debt collection related complaints.



If you would like to see the Better Business Bureau's review for United Credit Service, Inc., please click here.  









Protect Your Brand--You Know What They Say--Image Is Everything           by Lisa B




 Reputation is important, yours and ours alike.


There was a time, back in the day, when you could keep your private life private, but with social media and other evolving information outlets the world is an open book. Have you ever had an embarrassing visit to Facebook where on your news feed you found that some "well-intentioned" friend posted a less than flattering picture of themselves with you, let's say at a party, and what immediately came to mind was Ricky Ricardo saying, "Lucy, you have some 'splaining to do"? Sometimes these things blow over with a few laughs and other times they wreak havoc and have far reaching consequences.


Remember when Mom said you would be judged by the company you keep and how the reputation of your friends would rub off on you? Same goes with business relationships.


The truth is you cannot control the actions of people on the internet or what they are saying about you or your organization, but what you can and should do, if you haven't already, is set up Google Alerts to let you know when someone is talking about your organization. This will give you the opportunity to see what people are saying about your business.  It will also give you an opportunity to send a response or get involved if there is a customer service issue. 


When setting up your Google Alerts, use your DBA's as well as your legal name--or any name someone might call your business.  It's actually a very simple process, just click here and follow the easy instructions. 



Be rest assured that here at United Credit Service, we do everything we can to protect your brand's image--and consequently ours as well.



There are four key elements to our collection process that will help safeguard your reputation:  



1.  Compliance - As you may already know, third-party debt collection is an extremely regulated field.  There are many rules and regulations in place; strict adherence to all laws, privacy, and ethical standards is imperative for all employees. Compliance training for all of our team members is a must as well as ongoing--especially for our front-line collectors.  It's important for your brand's image they always act professionally and show your customers the respect and dignity they deserve.


2.    Training- All of our employees go through extensive training, including the ACA certified Collection Specialist training program before they interact with any clients or consumers. Through ongoing training, team members are able to maintain compliance for all federal, state, and corporate rules and regulations.  They learn effective collection stratagies along with the necessary communications skills that ensure a positive customer experience.  Not everyone is cut out to be a successful debt collection specialist.  We have a screening process in place to ensure an applicant's personality matches with the requirements of the position.


3.    Quality Assurance - We have a rigorous quality assurance program in place so we are able to pinpoint areas where our team members shine and other areas where they may benefit from additional training.  All of our phone calls are recorded and managers frequently monitor both live and recorded call in order to maintain compliance for all corporate, state and federal rules as well as to ensure the consumers are receiving a great customer experience all while recovering lost revenue for you, our business partners.


4.     Customer Experience - When compliance, training, and quality assurance are handled properly the customer's experience should be positive.  It's important to realize that it's not just what the collector says to a consumer, but how they communicate and what course of action they decide to take that ensures debt recoveries all while maintaining a positive image for your organization. 






Our Collections Program; a Review




Every customized collection solution at United Credit Service, Inc. starts with our accredited fundamental recovery program which we call Core-Collect. This program is used to collect on delinquent accounts by implementing a series of highly effective processes: telephone calling campaigns, written correspondences, credit bureau reporting, skip tracing, and after exhausting all other traditional collection processes, litigation. Core-Collect can be combined with one or more of our ancillary programs in order to create an effective, customized bad debt collection solution for our business partners.


  • Automated Telephone Calling Campaign - For maximum efficiency and productivity, we utilize a web-based predictive dialer. Compared with traditional dialing, it can increase the number of consumers we are able to contact daily by 500%.
  • Manual Telephone Calling Campaign - At times, the use of an automated system is unlawful or an unreasonable option. To contact these accounts our ACA certified Professional Collection Specialists will manually dial the telephone number.
  • Written Correspondences - We start with a-FDCPA required-debt validation notice, and follow with a series of effective letters to hasten payment of outstanding balances. (Check out our Pre-Collect program for additional customizable collection letters.)
  • Skip Tracing - The ability to contact a consumer is essential for debt recovery. At UCS we have proven high-tech solutions for locating debtors and their assets.
  • Credit Bureau Reporting - UCS reports to the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.

  • Litigation - After an extensive asset search, UCS may recommend litigation to recover an otherwise uncollectable debt. UCS is able to handle almost all legal cases without our business partners' attendance in court.  This means less time out of the office for you. We will advance all court costs and pay attorney fees in order to obtain a judgment. (UCS will never pursue legal action without written authorization from our business partners. 




 Fun & Games  



      United States Trivia


1. Which famous document contains the sentence: "We hold these truths to be    self-evident that all men are created equal."?


2. Which U.S. presidents were assassinated?


3. Which state has 3 times more cattle than people?


4. Which state produces more food than any other state?


5. Which is the only state to have had the flags of 6 countries fly over it?         



     To submit your answers click here 




                  Answers to last quarter's game 
                  Wisconsin Trivia: 



1.     Which Wisconsin county boasts more Lake Michigan shore line (250 miles) and more state parks (5) than any other county in the country?  Door County


2.     Which Wisconsin city is the bratwurst capital of the Great Lakes? Sheboygan


3.     There are many famous Wisconsinites, Name:  a. the famous magician and escape artist. b. the well-known World War II and Korean War general.  c. America's most famous architect.  a. Harry Houdini, b. General MacArthur, c. Frank Lloyd Wright 


4.     Which Wisconsin city hosts the State Cow Chip Throwing Contest on Labor Day weekend? Prairie du Sac


5.     Which Wisconsin city is the "Toilet Paper Capital of the World"? Green Bay - Interesting facts regarding Toilet Paper Capital of the World.  Green Bay is home to Quilted Northern Brand Toilet tissue.  Northern Paper Co. produced its first tissue in 1901, yet it did not become splinter-free until the 1930s. 











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