Your ARMor

The UCS Newsletter, providing A/R management and debt collection insights, with the commitment of maintaining the important balance between

Results and Relationships
 vol. 5 issue 2
 
      
 
 
Table of Contents










 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gratitude
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kim,  
You have been great to work with on this unfortunate issue. 
Thank you so much for your kindness.  Please apply this check to reference# XX-XXXXXXXXX.
      Thanks so much,
               a consumer

Hi, 
I want to thank Krys for being so polite and helpful. She is an asset to your company.
   Sincerely,
         a consumer​​​​​​​

Hi Shirley, Thank you for always treating me with respect when you call. I'm sure you're the #1 collection person. Could you please send me the paid-in full letter for both accounts?
    Sincerely, 
           a consumer
 
 
 
 
Greetings!

Do you know what I’ve noticed lately when watching TV? Workplace drama is everywhere—and not just on reality shows. Many program series start out with an interesting premise and then end up devolving into shows about workplace drama. Take Blacklist for example. It started as a crime thriller about a high-profile criminal who surrenders to the FBI to help them (namely Elizabeth Keene) catch the world’s most notorious criminals. When it first premiered it was a great show. But unfortunately it has become a night time soap opera that’s more about the dysfunctional corporate culture of the FBI and less about catching infamous international villains. To be fair Blacklist is only one of many TV shows that have taken this unfortunate turn.


Here’s the thing, I don’t enjoy workplace drama on TV and I like it even less at work because It can sap a business’s life blood. It seems like there is no escaping it on TV, but fortunately you can in the real world if your company has a healthy company culture. A company’s culture is essentially its collective personality. It can either reveal itself naturally or be defined by mission statements, guiding principles, work environment, performance expectations and goals.


We've all heard a lot about workplaces that have large gathering places with ping-pong tables, fancy espresso machines and big comfy bean-bag chairs. And while having these features is definitely nice and fun, they are not vital. What makes a workplace great is the people. No company can build a comprehensive cohesive culture without a team of people who share its core values or at the very least embrace what the company is trying to accomplish. That’s why it’s so important to talk extensively about your Company Culture when interviewing new recruits. Team members are more likely to enjoy themselves at work, develop better relationships with coworkers, have increased workplace longevity and are more productive when their needs and values are consistent with the company culture.

We have a well-defined Company Culture here at UCS. Unfortunately, it does not eliminate all workplace drama, conflicts, or other issues that are bound to come up within organizations, but it does provide us with a necessary road map to navigate through difficulties quickly in a fair and consistent manner. This way our organization isn’t consumed by workplace drama like today’s TV shows and we can keep our focus on enjoying ourselves while operating effectively and efficiently.



Best regards,

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recently we were informed that UCS was selected as one of the insideARM 2017 Best Call Centers to Work For.


We are very proud of this accomplishment. Companies from all over the United States entered this rigorous two-part survey process that would determine the winners of this year’s award. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration, survey, and analysis process and determined the final rankings.


This is the first year we participated in the insideARM award process and we are overjoyed by the results. We have a wonderful team of hard-working people here at UCS and are committed to providing them a first-class place of employment. We care deeply about our work family. Their happiness is important to us and the overall success of our company. We believe kindness is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow on one another. It’s a big part of our company culture. How we treat people; clients, consumers, and each other is so important it’s included in our Mission Statement and guiding Principles.


This survey and award program was designed to celebrate excellence among call center work environments in customer care, collections, and outsourcing. The Best Call Centers to Work For list is divided into three size categories. UCS was one of only twelve companies in their category that met the standard to be selected.


Stephanie Eidelman, CEO of insideARM, said “All of us at insideARM applaud the winners on this great accomplishment. This is a rigorous process – it is NOT a pay to play contest. We encourage all call centers who meet the criteria to participate next year. Winning is a great badge of honor. However even those who don’t make the list get something extremely valuable – a blueprint for how they can improve – for virtually no cost.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

At UCS, teamwork has always been a large part of our Company Culture. Procedures and processes have been developed and refined in order to: forge strong peer relationships, identify strengths, create opportunities to learn from the strengths of others, and expose team member to leadership development when appropriate. Signs of a healthy team-building company culture include strong interpersonal relationships between team members and longer than average (4.6 years) workplace longevity. Our managers, averaging over 22 years of service at UCS, have decades of experience in collections and have all “grown up” here together. And our collection staff is also not new to the industry, averaging 12 years of collection experience.


Our team members’ longevity demonstrates our commitment to the cause. Working together year after year has created seamless interactions for efficiency, not to mention outstanding results. Our peer relationships are strong and unified. We are on the same page with one another working the delinquent accounts as they enter the office.


A long track record of outstanding results while playing by all the rules is done in accordance with our guiding Principles. Following all laws and regulations is one of our major commitments. Everything we do at UCS: technology innovation, speaking with consumers, sending correspondence, or our dealings with clients is driven by compliance. Upper management’s commitment to this effort requires ongoing education for everyone and places a compliance officer on our collection floor who oversees the team’s effort from the trenches. Plus, all of our collectors are ACA certified Professional Collection Specialists.


UCS has been providing higher than industry average collection rates to bolster the bottom line of literally thousands of creditors since 1950. The ability to deliver results in this industry for over 67 years while maintaining a vigilant stance with compliance is a sign of a strong organization. Our track record proves this.


To keep the team focused and energized, UCS maintains clear and attainable team goals, both short-term (daily) and long term (monthly). Our managers huddle briefly with the president each morning at 9 am for a quick update. Open, ongoing communication keeps all the oars rowing in the same direction and addressing concerns quickly, as they arise, helps to prevent them from escalating.


UCS team goals are not only focused on monetary results, but also on behavior, accountability, and compliance. These daily and monthly goals are written on a large white board on the collection floor as well as posted on our intranet and results are updated daily. Everyone on the team understands the direction we are heading from day to day, week to week, and so forth. Each month, new goals are personally presented to everyone by the president, and the previous month’s results are discussed with an overview and comparison of our monthly results from the previous year(s). Company goals are made fun and are often incentivized with amusing themes, games and monetary bonuses.


UCS has been on an upward trajectory and we are confident in our capabilities. We are growing and expanding. We invite your team to partner with ours. Together we will meet our goals, stay on track, and have fun bolstering the bottom line.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A key component of the success of any business is how it is led. Indeed, the success of our business is truly driven by the vision the executive leadership team has for the business and that is implemented by the exceptional staff we employ. We are fortunate at UCS to have quality leaders, from the executive level and across the enterprise as a whole, as well as a highly talented, motivated and mission integrated team.


How is UCS Led? First and foremost, it is built on a base of an easy to understand Mission Statement backed by a solid set of principles.


Our Mission Statement:


“United Credit Service, Inc. is committed to providing highly effective debt collection and accounts receivable management services tailored to the individual needs of our business partners. We will conduct ourselves ethically and professionally: in all of our business dealings, in the treatment of each other, and within the communities where we live, work, and thrive.”


The Principles we employ to support our Mission are:


  • Honesty, Integrity and Fair Play – characterizes how we will conduct ourselves with our clients, consumers and each other.
  • Adherence – to all laws and regulations, without fail.
  • Balance – in our business and personal lives is important and encouraged.
  • Innovation – we must never stop trying to find creative solutions, technology or services that create value for the Company or our clients.
  • Embrace – what we do, how we do it, and strive to be the best that we can be.
  • Recognize and Reward – individuals will be judged by, held accountable for, and rewarded for their actions and contributions.

The Mission Statement and our Principles have been put into place to ensure we are all on the same page and pursuing the same mission. Pretty easy huh? Well, not quite so much as one would imagine.


This is a highly regulated business that requires not only a top notch set of leaders with high ethical standards backed by solid business experience, it also requires our team to adhere to a myriad of regulations, laws, contract commitments, and privacy requirements every moment of every day.


That is why we say that even our leaders sometimes must be the best followers and vice versa. That is why those of us who are in leadership positions need to know when to lead or simply get out of the way as the old saying goes.


There is a myriad of research, experience and just plain opinion of what it takes to be a good leader, but what about being a good follower?


A while back I came upon an article by Gwen Moran in Fast Company titled “5 Ways Being a Good Follower Makes You a Better Leader” which discusses traits shared by good followers and which, reciprocally, make them better leaders in their own right. I think her take on ‘followership’ (my term) parallels our approach at UCS. Here is my summary of her thoughts:


Awareness: Being a ‘bull in the china shop’ does not a good follower make. Being aware of our actions, and the impact they have on others around us, is a key attribute. Quoting Barbara Kellerman (a leadership lecturer at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government) Moran writes: “Being a follower teaches you how to be aware of the needs of other people as well as their potential to ‘make my life hell from one second to the next’...” Good followers are aware of those things that improve relationships, make the people around them more effective and avoid roadblocks.


Diplomacy: I have often heard it called the ability to get along in the sandbox. Quoting Kellerman again: “Good followers learn how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences…because a leader or manager can’t afford to be oblivious to the attitudes of those around him or her…” Being able to manage through potential minefields of strong opinions is critical to achieving goals.


Courage: Any conception that portrays a good follower as docile, subservient, or ‘sheep-like’ is just plain wrong. Good followers have the voice to speak up in dissent regardless of consequences if a leader or organization is heading in a bad direction. Among the five qualities this may be the most challenging. Moran quoting Kellerman again: “…[this] requires the guts and strength of conviction that are essential to good leadership…It means being engaged. It means paying attention. It means having the courage to speak up when something’s wrong and it means having the energy and activism to support a leader or manager who’s doing things wisely and well," she says.


Collaboration: Recognizing the power in the team. Although leaders often stand to receive the most credit for success, being able to work as part of a team, and lever the collaborative talents of coworkers, is the real force behind success. If a team cannot successfully collaborate, this may make or break the influence of the leader to successfully lead the initiative to conclusion.


Critical Thinking: The ability to view a challenge from a variety of perspectives and intelligently incorporate useful criticism into a better solution. Moran quoting Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., (associate dean of the faculty at the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont California): “In order to be a good follower, you need to be able to think for yourself.” Riggio says "Many of the same qualities that we admire in leaders—competence, motivation, intelligence—are the same qualities that we want in the very best followers.”


At UCS we are dedicated to providing our client-business partners with the highest quality collection services day in, day out. To do that takes effective leadership, but it also requires our leaders to follow the leadership of our clients to craft a business model designed to meet their needs and strict compliance requirements. This also means we need to continue our commitment to building a well led, fully integrated and functional team to meet our client’s goals.


This is how we lead, and follow.  The results speak for themselves.  The longevity of our company, the dedication our team has to seeing our clients receive what is rightfully theirs, our solid track record of success all speak to the success of our model.  We are proud of our success on behalf of our clients and our team.  Together we have made this a successful company for more than 67 years.  



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Where We've Been:
2017 Wisconsin AAHAM  Spring Conference
May 10-12, 2017
 
 
Where We Are Going:
2017 Wisconsin AAHAM Fall Conference
October  25-27, 2017
 
 
 
Hope to see you there!
 
 
 
 
United Credit Service, Inc.
www.unitedcreditservice.com
15 N. Lincoln Street, P.O. Box 740
Elkhorn, WI 53121
262.723.2902
 
 
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