Finishing the Year Strong

As the weather cools down, it’s important to ensure business doesn’t follow suit. It’s common knowledge in the industry that the fourth quarter is typically the hardest time to collect. Why is that? Come November and December, many people prioritize the holidays instead of a payment, which is completely understandable. But what if customers didn’t have to choose one or the other.

Compassionate customer care is a cornerstone of MRS’s business. What exactly does that mean though? Our agents have passed a rigorous training program that instills core values and empathetic techniques when talking to customers. We listen to our customers and offer personally tailored payment plans, always trying to find the best solution for everyone. 

The holiday season is a busy time too and many people don’t have a free moment to talk on the phone. No worries! MRS has adapted with technology and connects with customers through a myriad of channels including but not limited to text, email, web chat, and our customer service portal. We want to empower customers to resolve their debt with ease. 

2021 turning to 2022 calendar

The 2021 year has certainly been atypical. Pandemic government stimulus funding impacted the seasonal payment curve usually seen through the first three quarters of the year. While the entire industry is experiencing a disruption to the debt cycle, MRS remains focused on quality and technology. 

Chief Operating Officer Jim Beck said, “In 20 years in this industry this is probably the most unique time I have seen. The pandemic impacted so many people, the national workforce is going through a transition, Regulation F and changing customer preferences and payment patterns. One thing that has remained constant is that strong agent training and a customer centric approach yield exceptional results. I am proud to work in an organization that continues to use technology and make continued improvements in our recruiting and training to improve the customer experience.”

MRS believes in building relationships with clients and their customers. Being intentional and responsive with our communications fosters a stress free experience. Our dedication to excellence is exemplified through our long term client relationships and our best in class results.

Co-CEO Jeff Freedman Said, “2021, like 2020, has been an interesting year to say the least.  There have been many challenges, but like with all challenges, it has presented many opportunities as well. I am extremely proud of how our team rose to these challenges and continued to show compassion, empathy, and flexibility to customers in these difficult and uncertain times. I am also incredibly proud of our development team which has created amazing technical innovations that have led to more channel choices for customers, as well as simpler and stress free ways for customers to self service their accounts on their terms and at times most convenient for them. Investment in technology and analytics continues to be our number one priority and we look forward to the many exciting and new innovations we intend to introduce to the collection industry in 2022.”

With 2022 right around the corner, MRS is excited to see what the new year will bring.

Reg F Demystified

Do you still have a few questions about Reg F? Listen to Co-CEO Jeff Freedman and Attorney John Rossman chat about some of the most pressing questions regarding the new rules.

How MRS Stays Ahead of the Competition

MRS is a leading collections agency, pioneering innovative digital solutions, paired with excellent customer care. The principles that propel MRS to success might seem simple—in reality, they’re anything but. Dedicated workers, trailblazing methods, and family values underlie all that MRS does.

1. Look forward, not adjacent

If you want to lead the way as a forward thinking company, you can’t wait around to see what other people in the industry are doing. MRS firmly believes in thought leadership, with an innovative drive. Sometimes, our first try doesn’t work, but we wouldn’t have created the first Interactive Voice Response Virtual Collections Agent, Adam, if we gave up when the going got tough. Failure is a learning experience that helps us get better. At MRS, we don’t follow trends, we set precedents.

Want to hear more about MRS’s innovative spirit? Check out our podcast, Collections Success with MRS, and tune into our two part series, All About Adam.

2. Prioritize your customer

Customers nowadays know what channel through which they want to be communicated. They’re tech savvy individuals who rarely pick up the phone for an unknown number. Customers have agency! At MRS, we listen to our customers and contact them on their preferred platform; we treat customers with respect and empathy. Our goal is to find the best solution for everyone. 

Curious to read more? Don’t miss our article about how debt collection became one of the most consumer focused sectors, An Industry Transformed.

3. Clients as partners

After all, we are working towards the same goals. As members on a team together, MRS approaches client relationships as partnerships that best thrive when everyone supports each other. With this philosophy, MRS is able to form lasting relationships with clients that span decades and sector divisions.

Don’t take it from us, though. Listen to our podcast where we talk with clients about a myriad of topics, and be sure to check out our partnership episode. 

4. Value your employees

It’s a no brainer, right? Wrong! You have to show your employees that you value their hard work and respect their efforts day in and out. MRS ensures a family environment runs through the company through monthly incentives, charitable drives, spirit weeks, and employee spotlights. Additionally, MRS is a big believer in promoting from within and bolstering team members to grow their careers with us. There’s a reason we have so many tenured employees. 

Watch our employee spotlight videos to get an inside look at a day in the life at MRS, from the training department to customer services. 

MRS encourages inventive thinking, paired with empathetic collections. And at the end of the day, we stay competitive by caring about our customers, clients, and employees. If you care about what you do, it shows in your work.

Reg F Crash Course

Are you having a daily Reg F induced anxiety attack? Sure, the impending implementation date might seem daunting, but MRS is here to quell your Reg F panic by clearing up some common misconceptions.

Reg F, in total, is more than 1000 pages. But guess what? You don’t need to memorize 1000 pages to be compliant and knowledgeable about the new rules. There are a few key pieces of the rule to focus on. If you need some help knowing where to direct your attention, be sure to understand the following points:

  • Model Validation Notice- the CFPB created an example of a communication that clearly states important pieces of information regarding the debt, the consumer’s rights, and further action a consumer can take in response to the notice
  • Limited Content Message- a voicemail left for the consumer that includes required content but does not indicate that the caller is attempting to collect a debt
  • Phone Call Frequency (7×7)- no more than 7 phone calls within 7 consecutive days can be placed to a consumer
  • Consumer Preferences- it is expected that a company will ask for a consumer’s communication preferences with clear opt out selections in those communications
  • Record Retention- a company should retain records showing compliance and non-compliance the day that collection activity begins and continuing until 3 years after the last activity on the account
  • Credit Reporting- a company is expected to speak with the consumer, mail them a letter, or send a digital communication, and wait 2 weeks before credit reporting

These definitions are, of course, summarized versions, so familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs of each rule in order to delve deeper into the body of Reg F.

Do you have those topics down pat? Then you’re more prepared than you think for November 30th. 

So take a deep breath and let go of that Reg F panic. Remember, these rules help modernize debt collection and allow for some really exciting innovations. MRS is ready for Reg F—are you?

An Industry Transformed

How debt collection became one of the most consumer focused sectors

It’s no surprise that many people still have a negative image of the debt collection industry. In the past, the reigning philosophy was to collect by any means necessary. The industry has changed dramatically through consolidation and regulation and become extremely focused on compliance, business ethics, and customer experience. The fact is, debt collection has morphed into one of the most consumer focused industries in the US — people just don’t realize it.

Debt collection is heavily regulated. Bad actors are increasingly unsuccessful and have been “weeded out” by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB, founded in 2011, champions consumer rights and is responsible for enacting legislation that governs the debt collection sphere. Regulation F, a new CFPB rule, will be implemented November 2021. In a  huge step for the collection industry, Reg F tackles technological innovation and its place in accounts receivable management. With rules surrounding texting and emailing, limitations on phone calls and new approaches to credit bureau reporting and time barred debt, the consumer has never been more of a priority. 

“The vast majority of consumers in the US do not want unsolicited phone calls and respond far more favorably to texts and emails, which allow customers to respond when it is more convenient for them and is much less intrusive,” said Saul Freedman, Co-CEO. “Until Reg F, rules around the use of electronic communications were ambiguous and left to a variety of interpretations. Now it’s been codified, and that is good for everyone: creditors, their customers, and debt collectors.” 

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More than just a legal shift, the collection industry’s culture has transformed as well. MRS highlights empathy in training and customer experience is one of the cornerstones of our business. The caring family culture present at MRS carries through our phone calls, emails, and texts. Our agents are supportive and helpful throughout conversations, always looking for the best solution for the customer and the client.

“MRS has long believed that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. For the last decade, we’ve placed significant importance on customer experience and focused our training and call quality programs on rapport building, empathy, and doing what is right for the customer,” said Co-CEO, Jeff Freedman . 

Debt collection companies also have compliance teams to ensure that laws are being followed and customers are being treated with the utmost respect. With a whole department dedicated to upholding the highest standard of operation, collection companies are connecting with consumers in meaningful ways. 

Chief Risk and Innovation Officer Michael Meyer attested to the integral nature of compliance in the modern collections industry. “Compliance is critical and nowadays completely interwoven with all facets of a company to ensure the customer, their data, and their privacy is protected.”   

For the debt collection industry the times have changed, but public opinion hasn’t quite caught on yet. People interacting with collections companies are often surprised at the treatment—in a good way! MRS has always prioritized customer experience and worked to quash peoples’ misconceptions about the industry. We believe if we keep doing what we do best—help customers resolve debt through supportive conversations—public opinion will catch up.