Ever since the dawn of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977, collectors have been subject to strict state and federal communication guidelines with little room for actual dialogue, and for good reasonwith the support from the Consumer Financial Protect Bureau (CFPB) in their recent proposed rules for debt collection, collectors and borrowers have now found common ground in frictionless debt resolution through electronic communication. Enter the industry-pioneering, comprehensive estate management application, DCMS ServiceLink®.
As Minnesota hits record-low unemployment rates of nearly 3.4%, local employers are scrambling to fill desks with great urgency. While DCM Services, LLC (DCMS) is no exception to this trend, it’s the culmination of proactive recruitment through digital innovation, in tandem with internal development and retention efforts which have prevented the hemorrhaging of employees currently seen elsewhere. Here’s how a holistic Human Resources strategy is growing DCMS in record-low unemployment.
Proactive recruitment through digital innovation
As communication generally becomes more fragmented and casual in nature, DCMS has recognized the need to connect with potential candidates in a myriad of less traditional channels. Implementing a suite of technology applications has proven successful in nearly every stage of the recruitment process.
Sourcing talent is a key component in the recruitment process in an employee-centric job market. Our Talent Acquisition team recently shifted to a proactive recruiting strategy by utilizing LinkedIn®, Indeed®, and ZipRecruiter® to advertise open positions and connect directly with candidates. These sites also provide transparency by leveraging real reviews from both past and present employees, which helps set expectations for prospective new hires.
In 2018, DCMS published a professionally-shot video focused on attracting new talent by highlighting our award-winning culture. This video has become a cornerstone in our recruitment process as the first impression candidates receive of DCM Services. Additionally, integrating the Text Us® application in our digital ecosystem allows us to quickly connect with talent and drive higher engagement through text messages in an efficient, yet casual capacity. Further supplementing our technology stack is Calendly®, an online scheduling application which provides candidates the ability to schedule their own phone interviews with our Talent Acquisition team. Calendly has drastically reduced the number of unanswered calls and has increased the number of scheduled phone interviews.
Internal development and retention
While recruiting is integral to a successful human resources strategy, at DCM Services empowering our employees to grow and develop is paramount. In fact, DCMS promoted more than 50 employees since the beginning of 2019 alone. Much of this professional development is facilitated by our Training team through programs such as Cross-Training and Corporate Coaching. The DCMS Cross-Training program provides the opportunity for any employee to converse with subject matter experts from each of our departments to learn about their role in-depth, and how they impact the organization. Cross-trainers walk-through a structured lesson plan with trainees as well as demonstrate their performance of actual job duties. New in 2019, our Corporate Coaching pilot program pairs members on our management team with employees looking to grow at DCMS to assist in their development in specific areas of opportunity. A roll out of to all employees is anticipated in 2020.
Extracurricular opportunities are also available to employees who seek to become involved outside of normal job functions by joining one of our many committees. Members of our committees undertake initiatives which encompass charity work, employee health and wellness, corporate and interpersonal communication, and other aspects important to DCMS’ culture. Because DCMS truly values the career trajectory and tenure of each individual employee, DCMS created a Retention Committee to focus solely on retaining talent. This committee is leading a redesign of our annual employee awards as well as the implementation of job-specific “Career Pathing”. Our organization also focuses on continuing to seek feedback starting early on in an employee’s career, including a 45-day feedback session and a 90-day reunion luncheon.
What are an organization’s initiatives worth without measuring success? To maintain a pulse on employee morale and satisfaction, DCMS continues to partner with Energage® to conduct our annual Employee Engagement survey, the results of which have landed us four Top Workplace awards.
In tandem with proactive recruitment through digital innovation, internal development and retention, DCMS utilizes the feedback from our annual surveys to celebrate our successes and plan initiatives to tackle areas of opportunities. The culmination of these cultural aspects has prolonged the success of our human resources strategy and strengthened the underlying intangible which DCMS employees come to work every day for; the culture.
About the author
Melissa Cossairt, Director of Human Resources
Melissa is an experienced Human Resources professional, with expertise in the areas of Recruiting, Customer Relationship Management, Employee Relations, Strategic Planning, Engagement, Audits and Benefits.
DCM Services does not endorse individual vendors, products or services. Therefore, any reference herein to any vendor, product or services by trade name, trademark, or manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval of DCM Services.
“Energage” is a registered trademark of Energage, LLC.
“TextUs” is a registered trademark of TextUs, Inc.
“Calendly” is a registered trademark of Calendly, LLC.
“LinkedIn” is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation.
“Indeed” is a registered trademark of Indeed, LLC.
“ZipRecruiter” is a registered trademark of ZipRecruiter, Inc.
On Thursday, August 8, 2019 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (7th Cir.) published its long-awaited opinion in the matter of Lavallee v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC, 17-3244 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2019). For everyone in the ARM industry that is considering using email to deliver requisite 1692g disclosures, the decision is mandatory reading.
The number of people who have both a strong sense of where they came from as well as a determination to leave things better for those who are coming next is very small. Tracey Bannochie is in that group. Read on to learn more about Tracey, why you’re best to catch her early in the day, and why “Rock and Roll All Nite” is more than just a song to her.
Name: Tracey Bannochie
Company: DCM Services
Length of time at current company: 15+ years
Length of time in industry: 30 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started as a skiptracer and general admin for a small commercial collection agency in Minneapolis and then got hired as a collector at A.M. Miller & Assoc. back in 1990. They were fabulous at management development and I am lifelong friends with a core group that I met there! So, I guess you could say it changed my life personally and professionally.
What is your career highlight so far?
Helping to build this company to where it’s at today. I’m just one small piece of its amazing history and breadth of talent.
When or how are you most productive?
First thing in the morning! I get punchy later in the day which, my coworkers will attest to.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
All of the women who have come before me and paved the way. It could not have been easy and I thank you! I can only hope that I’m doing my part for the next generation!
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I can pack a mean suitcase — and I get a lot of practice. I pity the TSA agent when my bag comes up for random inspection.
What do you like most about this industry?
The amazing network of friends and colleagues that I have surrounding me who are always willing to share best practices and their experience.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
How difficult it is to influence policy and regulation. There are many masters, many interpretations, and much risk for doing it the wrong way.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Travel, wine, food … any profession where I could combine the three.
Describe a typical work day.
I think herding cats is an appropriate description.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I have many: Totino’s pizza, Junior Mints, 1970’s glam rock, and massages.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never create a folder called “Forms”. It will become the dumping ground for everything and you’ll never find the form you need.
What are you currently reading?
A Bill Bryson travel memoir (he’s hilarious), and I always have some random 19th century novel on my nightstand — there’s a reason they’re called “classics”.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m fiercely loyal. Once you have earned my trust, we will stay in touch forever!
This article was originally published on AccountsRecovery.net. Read the original article here.
DCM Services Company Overview
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Empathy /empəTHē / (noun): The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empathy has gone from merely a word, to an organizational state of mind at DCM Services (DCMS). In any consumer interaction, empathy is critical to success. Flippant attitudes and disregard for the feelings of the person interacting with your front-line employees can cause damage you may never have the chance to repair. Alternatively, when given the appropriate consideration, these challenges provide an opportunity to cement a positive and lasting relationship with a customer.
This principle may not hold truer in any industry more than deceased accounts receivable management. Mastering empathy starts with developing an academic understanding of the process this a person is experiencing; learning how to actively listen and engage with the a survivor, personal representative, and/or executor, and creating respect for the unique grieving process each person is navigating.
When we train new representatives at DCM Services, the first step we take is to walk our newest employees through a trainer-facilitated module explaining the probate process in plain English - from the perspective of a decedent’s family member acting as the estate’s personal representative or executor. This family member may go through the process of retaining an attorney, filing for probate, interacting with creditors, and resolving accounts to close the estate in court. Therefore, understanding probate is the first building block in developing academic appreciation for the consumer experience. Before our account representatives can attempt to relate, they must own a comprehensive knowledge of the process a survivor may experience themselves.
To move past appreciation and into a genuine engagement with someone, simply hearing the words they say is not enough. In what might be an emotionally-charged conversation, such behavior will not help drive solutions. Therefore, at DCMS we break “empathic active listening” down to a science; the steps we take while doing so, and how we demonstrate an active role in a conversation. Internalizing the spoken words, filtering for the applicable facts and emotions, and using what was deduced to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution. In the short duration of each phone call, our exemplary representatives apply everything they’ve learned to problem-solve with consideration and kindness.
Despite popular belief, the grieving process lacks five neatly defined stages nor a linear progression. Ensuring that our employees understand this misconception is one of the most important insights our trainers emphasize during their initial three weeks of influence. A truly empathic representative understands that a caller who seemed “at peace” with the passing 30 days ago, may have a drastically different reaction to a conversation today even if the stereotypical progression of grief suggests they should be coping better with the loss. Every story may sound similar on the surface, yet underneath they are never the same.
Regardless of the portfolio, the overarching narrative of the account receivable industry, and more broadly the financial services industry, is in the hands of those who directly interact with consumers. Anyone with a vested interest in improving the general perception of the industry has a responsibility to act from an educated position, and to use that position to change that perception through genuine engagement and respect for the varying stories and circumstances of consumers, one interaction at a time.
About the author
Since joining DCM Services in 2008, Tony has executed on the organization’s core values in several roles. After 3 years as an Account Representative on behalf of several clients, Tony acted as the Senior Quality Assurance Specialist for 5 years as a member of the organization’s compliance department. In 2016, he assumed a new role in managing DCMS’ new hire and on-going training initiatives. He strives to ensure the organization is providing a top of the line learning and development experience by collaborating with stakeholders and introducing new programs, including DCMS’ newest opportunity, Corporate Coaching.
Minneapolis, MN — June 17, 2019 — DCM Services, LLC (DCMS) the industry leader in estate and specialty account recovery solutions, announced today the promotion of Dereck Eastman to Chief Technology Officer.
Eastman, who most recently served as Vice President of Information Technology, will continue to oversee all application and development support as well as the IT infrastructure area. Eastman joined the organization in 2006 and has nearly 2 decades of experience architecting and developing software. He has been the premier software developer at DCMS and has led the development of several technologies including Probate Finder®, Probate Finder OnDemand®, DCMS ServiceLink® and many other industry leading tools.
“Over the last 13 years, Dereck has become an integral part of our organization,” said Tim Bauer, DCMS Chief Executive Officer. “Dereck’s ability to understand business challenges and apply appropriate technology solutions has established him as a leader within DCMS. Dereck’s leadership and accomplishments at DCMS have led to this well-deserved promotion.”
About DCM Services
Minneapolis-based DCM Services, is the industry leader in estate and specialty account resolution services, maximizing the value of client portfolios across financial services, healthcare, retail, and telecom industries through innovation and performance. Its recovery solutions offer a full range of services from proprietary web-based solutions to full outsourcing, maintaining an unmatched spectrum of innovative solutions that increase recoveries, protect brand value, and enhance survivor relationships – with respect and sensitivity. For more information on all DCM Services’ offerings, visit www.dcmservices.com.
Did you say audit? Audit requests for companies like DCM Services are part of our everyday operations and environment. Our team understands that audit preparation is a large, but very important endeavor. Being an auditee involves a time commitment for document gathering, an explanatory meeting regarding processes and procedures, and gathering evidence requests. This pre-audit foundation work is often met with more critique than praise. However, what most internal audit teams ignore are the many opportunities to create organizational value following an audit.
An independent perspective
The audit process allows you to receive an independent perspective on your company’s processes and efficiencies. Most of the time the auditor has audited companies in your industry, or even your competitors. The auditor’s opinions and recommendations should be held in high regard and used to improve your company’s services, internal operations, and processes. An on-site audit is also a great opportunity for our team to build a trusted reputation and relationship.
Furthermore, auditing is a chance to showcase your company’s dedication to compliance, the complex regulatory environment, and your proactive approach to strong internal controls. Many organizations face a wide range of risks that impact the outcome of their business; risk management, compliance, and audit functions deserve attention as they are extremely important to the overall organizational health.
A consultative approach
After an audit, our team pays close attention to the audit closeout meeting, which is a comprehensive discussion of the audit experience. Auditors leave no stone left unturned, covering observations both good and bad, but ultimately highlighting areas of improvement. Often, audit teams overlook the mentions of positive actions and practices that were observed during the audit due to the negative connotation often associated with the audit process. Once received, the audit report details any opportunities for improvement. These items then are discussed with our audit committee and executive leadership team.
This closeout meeting is also our chance to ask any questions, give feedback, evaluate portfolio strategies, and the improvement of processes. During this time, we discuss any potential discrepancies, and provide clarity to the auditors about our internal processes. Most importantly, our team takes advantage of this meeting to build rapport as most auditors are subject matter experts in their industries with vast repositories of knowledge and upcoming trends.
How to create value
Auditing is an independent, objective, assurance activity that adds value and improves our company’s operations. Audit activities also provide assurance to management and our audit committee that risks to the organization have been properly evaluated and are being managed appropriately.
Our advice? Embrace a solution-driven culture of creativity and innovation for your clients, employees, and stakeholders. Leverage the audit as a valuable resource to executive management and the board of directors in accomplishing overall goals and objectives, as well as strengthening internal control and governance. A vendor with strong processes in place sets a standard for their clients, and ultimately elevates the industry at-large. Your commitment to continually improve your relationships and business operations will result in air-tight process control and eventually the establishment as a leader in your industry.
In the long run, it will be most effective for your organization to internalize proper audit practices as part of your holistic mission and culture. Here at DCM Services, we do the right thing not because a policy or law requires it, but because we truly value integrity and recognize the critical importance of compliance and risk management.
About the Author
Melissa Coutier applies her decade of experience in government/regulatory auditing to successfully managing the Audit team at DCM Services. Her variety of expertise includes Risk Management, Federal Compliance, Internal Controls, Process Improvement, and Internal Investigations. She is a member of both the Certified Fraud Examiners Association and the Certified Internal Auditors Association, along with serving on the Supervisory Committee at a Federal Credit Union. Melissa’s team has received praise and won awards from clients as being a top leader in compliance in our industry.
It’s important to understand that the differences between traditional debt recovery and deceased account recovery are significant, and thus deceased accounts require specialized treatment. Predominantly, the reason accounts are placed for follow up with DCM Services is because the consumer passed away, not because there was a delinquency on the account. As such, these accounts shouldn’t follow the same path that traditional delinquent accounts follow.
I’ve outlined my considerations for deceased account recovery in the following three categories: legal considerations, nuances of probated estate claim filing, and consumer sensitivity.
As with traditional debt recovery, if the work is being done in the third party, there are specific laws to be adhered to. The FDCPA and other state debt collection laws are examples of laws that must be abided by; however, they were not written with deceased account recovery in mind and as such, are incomprehensive. Between 2009 – 2010, the FTC did research within the deceased account recovery space and provided some guidance with their “Statement of Policy Regarding Communication in Connection With the Collection of Decedents’ Debts,” which should be reviewed. Below are a few significant topics they address within the statement:
The definition of who is allowed to be considered a Right Party Contact (RPC), and how to confirm their authority in relation to the deceased consumer
Information cannot be disclosed about the debt until the RPC is identified. Although, DCMS respects the intent of this requirement, this unfortunately leads to initial complications during the recoveries process, a delicate dance takes place; agents cannot disclose any account information until the RPC has been confirmed, but often the contacted party won’t disclose their role until the agent provides the reason that they’re calling. This confusion is further magnified by a cultural concern with data protection and privacy.
Liability of the debt cannot be misrepresented. This often translates to agents proactively giving a non-liability disclosure to the RPC.
Nuances of probate claim filing
Identifying probated estates and filing creditors’ claims are a complicated, yet critical, part of this specialty receivable as well. Simply searching for probate cases, managing the process, and remaining compliant within the requirements to present claims in each jurisdiction (of which there are more than 3,400) is enough to cause complications. Furthermore, allowable time spans in which to file the claims must be managed by locations, which vary drastically. As an authorized signer, proper and adequate knowledge of the debt and claim signing controls must be in place. This part of the process, specifically, can be overwhelming, cumbersome, and expensive, to manage. Have no fear, there are subject matter experts at DCM Services to assist.
By now you’re probably wondering what risks are associated with not understanding all of these constraints. If there are incorrect or inadequate service levels associated with these specialty accounts, the risks often manifest themselves in the form of:
Elevated complaint levels
Harm to an organization’s brand
Disallowed or disputed claims (if your controls are inadequate related to filing creditors claim against the probated estate)
In the end, nearly every aspect of communication is completely unique. Recovering on specialty receivables is far more akin to a customer service interaction than collections. It requires a level of sensitivity and compassion. This often results in call length longer than your average debt collection call as there are a myriad of disclosures. The ongoing training agents receive should encompass patience, sensitivity, and tone, yet a firm reminder that they are not grief counselors. Agents also need to understand the probate process without providing legal advice.
My advice? Work with a partner who is aware of the legal considerations, well-versed in the nuances of probate claim filing, and is skilled in consumer sensitivity.
DCM Services can help drive growth at every stage in the recoveries process and assist in creating the right end-to-end workflow for your organization.
About the author
As a veteran in the credit and collections industry with over 25 years of experience, Tracey joined DCM Services in 2004. Her experience includes customer care through late-stage recovery call center operations, in addition to first-party and third-party roles. She has managed multi-location call centers, including new center acquisitions and integration.
Tracey serves as an editorial board member on the Compliance Professionals Forum (InsideARM affiliate) and has been asked to speak on industry recovery topics throughout the nation.
Tracey received a Bachelor of Arts from University of Minnesota in English and Communications.
What lies beyond the claim presentation? Join us as we conclude our three-part series that takes you behind the scenes of Probate Finder OnDemand and addresses common expectations versus reality.