Play By the Rules, Do You Agree?
As I set my intentions for a new year, I usually begin with the past. I take inventory. Not of office supplies, nor the cool giveaways sitting on Vertican’s shelves anxiously awaiting the time we will come together again. No, I ruminate about the experiences and the people I’ve encountered. About my colleagues and clients, relationships and partnerships – and what I’ve learned from each. Still, December 31st isn’t a magical day where profound revelations materialize. I learn every day of the year and continually call to action ways to improve people’s lives (and my own) based on those lessons.
2020 took Vertican on a sharp learning curve and not just because of COVID. I’ve talked about how we began scaling forward as a company. But this past year also brought to surface the scaling forward of our relationships with clients. From the beginning of time, the company/client dynamic and its success rest on two key factors: trust and communication.
The Vertican team and our clients can agree that one of the most complicated pain points in our relationship has been support incident resolution. I say complicated because, in the past, the company had not clearly defined the differences between a support incident and a professional service. And because of this, valuable time has been squandered.
Generally speaking, a support incident addresses a technical need deriving from existing technology. What does Vertican consider an incident versus a professional service? My team will be communicating a detailed explanation in the weeks to come. But in short, their main differentiator lies in the type of need – meaning whether a software feature requires tweaking or troubleshooting versus building or setting it up as new.
When clients have technological needs which extend beyond troubleshooting, consulting and professional services are required. For example, a support incident may assist in adding a new field to an already existing document form and a professional service would be creating the customized form letter. Another example is adding a new code to an existing matrix versus setting up an entire matrix from scratch.
Again, while more of these comparisons will be outlined for you soon, understand there will be circumstances where Vertican’s discretion may be needed.
In the past, there have been some systematic challenges in differentiating the two. Due to a lack of process and communication on our part, as well as an eagerness and desire to help our clients, we often provided support that extended beyond the definition. This came at a cost. Not just a billing cost but a cost of dissatisfaction and valuable time (both yours and ours). Today, we are clearing the slate and creating space for new procedures and positive outcomes.
There has not only been the lack of support incident and professional service clarity bringing about frustration, but the client service experience has also become the tennis rally of incident resolutions.
So, another component to our 2021 plan is to significantly improve our Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR). Mean Time To Resolution is a service-level metric for support that measures the average elapsed time from when an incident is reported until it is resolved (not responded to but resolved).
However, what gets measured must get managed, and having not measured MTTR in the past, made it difficult for us to target what was needed to scale everyone forward. We’ve come to realize that to make constructive changes and achieve our goals, we must establish a baseline. Afterall, to paraphrase Zig Ziglar, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it with remarkable accuracy.
Even without yet having officially measured this baseline, we suspect that our MTTR may be higher than the industry average. However rather than allowing this to destabilize us, we make changes happen. As technology partners this requires action on both our parts. These systematic improvements to our policies and procedures, and your active partnership, are what will scale everyone forward in 2021.
Vertican’s investment in Apptivo, our new CRM tool, will play a significant role in your incident resolution process. But we can’t do it alone. Vertican needs your help. We want you to ask questions. Get involved. Be an active player and align with us.
Being an engaged client means that you help us help you. This includes attending our (lately virtual) workshops, reading vConnect, and utilizing Vertican’s vast Knowledge Base on vPortal. It also means coming to the table with fully flushed out questions and ideas to continually enhance our products. Support your incident inquiries with detailed information (screenshots when possible) so that troubleshooting can begin at the point of contact with your client services (CS) team. All of this will allow your CS representative to understand your question without needing to ask more questions.
This is a group effort, otherwise, I’m singing in an empty arena.
What will Vertican do? We will continue to provide you tools you need to learn and efficiently use our software. This includes updating the Knowledge Base, producing more learning videos and town halls, defining rules of engagement for both support incidents and professional services, and tracking all incidents using our new incident submission process and email logging system where MTTR is built right in to measure and optimize the process. Finally, we commit to defining our processes as clearly as possible.
I speak for the Vertican team when I tell you that we are only as satisfied as our least satisfied client.
So, as we all look forward to any year that is not 2020, my “resolution” message has convenient timing. But that is just coincidence, Vertican’s resolve has already been set in motion. As I mentioned, I take stock all year round, yet as we embark on a new year, I can’t deny that I am filled with grim determination and equanimity too.
This is an exciting time and I personally appreciate and value your partnership. So, as we begin 2021, on behalf of the Vertican team, I express my gratitude to all those friends, partners, and companies who actively support and get involved with the work that we do to improve people’s lives. Vertican will continue to return your partnership and trust with transparency, service, and excellence.
A PS from CS
Collection-Master’s Total Plan – It’s 2021, Now What?
In December’s issue of vConnect, we talked about how and why we significantly pivoted the Vertican SAAS platform to a full-featured, all-inclusive legal collection package called Total Plan.
If you are on the Q-Law/E platform, we are pleased to announce that Total Plan is coming your way this spring. Here’s a sneak peek at some important information.
So, you’re on Total Plan for Collection-Master, now what? The next steps are critical. The implementation of your software, including the installation of your Vertican License Manager (VLM) must be completed no later than January 31.
Here’s your play-by-play on what you can expect to ensure your software remains active:
Step 1: Did you complete the brief pre-VLM implementation questionnaire provided in your subscription purchase confirmation email? Filling out the questionnaire as soon as possible prioritizes your platform’s implementation and avoids interruption of support so that you can seamlessly continue the active status of your plan. No need to search feverishly through your inbox for the email, simply click here: Complete Questionnaire.
Step 2: Once the questionnaire is submitted, an implementation team specialist will call you within 10 days to confirm your platform information and coordinate a time for your implementation. In the meantime, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with all the CM modules available now at no cost! Remember Collection-Master now includes over 20 free modules. These hidden gems are powerful tools that will power up your debt collection game and make life much easier. Take advantage of them.
Step 3: Implementation time. Please have all your named users’ information ready. If you’re on the latest version of Collection-Master, your implementation specialist will complete the VLM implementation, this includes installation and named users set up. Should you need to update your software, you will receive additional guidance from Vertican.
Step 4: Keep an eye out for our 2021 training schedule on our website. Also, visit our Vimeo page which provides Vertican produced training videos and previous town halls to maximize your collection software and module experience. If you need training where feature documentation is not yet available on vPortal or prior to a training video becomes available, know that you can utilize Vertican’s professional services at an additional cost and receive one-on-one instruction. *
Brandon Tor, Vertican’s implementation team lead, explains, “We want our clients to know that we are working diligently to install each firm’s VLM as soon as possible. This is a first come first serve process, so I encourage anyone who has not yet submitted the questionnaire to please do so TODAY. The form only takes a few minutes to complete, and this is how you are added to our implementation list.”
Step 4 revisited.
The importance and value of Modules bear repeating. Start the new year off right and take advantage of Collection-Master’s free value-add modules. These underutilized components to your platform serve as powerhouses of functionality.
For every client who had not previously invested in these modules was a CS representative determinedly troubleshooting, then developing a workaround to achieve what our, now free, modules already do (Formally, these were billable services due to the nature of the troubleshooting and workaround).
We understand there are a lot of modules to explore. That’s why we have and will continue to produce training videos and town halls year-round. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, this usually means a training video is not yet available. If this is the case, but you are eager to train on the module, you can reach out to us for one-on-one instruction at an additional cost.
Title of this Message revisited … Now what?
Now is when your costs to collect go down and your available time goes up. It’s all about our Total Plan partnership, utilizing all our robust, innovative products, and helping us help you optimize your software experience.
As your technology partner, and you ours, we encourage engagement on every level. We value your input as we also implement new routines and rules of engagement to elevate the client service experience in 2021.
Vertican’s Latest Innovation – SMS
SMS messages have made us more efficient and direct in our interactions with friends and family. But they have become much more than sharing memes. SMS also allows us to receive alerts, updates, track our finances, and more.
Millennials and Gen Z are set to overtake Baby Boomers as the dominant U.S. consumers in the coming years* and SMS is their preferred method of communication. Nicholas D. Arcaro, Vertican’s SVP of Sales, expects this will dramatically increase collectability.
Ultimately, as collection agencies and law firms look for a more efficient and cost-effective way to communicate with consumers and receive payments, SMS will become the standard way that they do so.
Enter VT SMS
Vertican will be launching a new SMS product to help businesses reach customers and collect payments electronically. Vertican’s clients can sign into our website to configure automated SMS messages to be sent to consumers who opt in. It will save time and money by allowing consumers to check various account details and make payments without your staff being involved. They will be able to receive alerts, schedule payments, and as the product expands, submit payments over the application directly into Q-LawE and Collection Master. Consumers will also have the option to connect to a human via SMS chat to discuss their account, should the need arise.
Our product is highly configurable to ensure all SMS messages meet forwarder and receiver compliance standards. This includes customizable identity verification, multiple layers of disclosure language, PPI protections, and more.
Also on our roadmap is the ability to configure push messages to consumers who opt-in. For example, you will be able to send payment reminders, special discount deals, end-of-month offers, and other messages.
As electronic communications become more common in the collections process, we will expand into other communications channels. Consumers will be able to seamlessly switch between messaging applications like SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
The Stats Speak
With 90 percent of text messages read within three minutes of being received and text messages having a 98 percent open rate compared with 20 percent for emails**, companies will find SMS a key component of their customer communications.
* (Source: Morgan Stanley, “How a ‘Youth Boom’ Could Shake Up Spending Trends” (2019)
**(Source: OpenMarket (2019) https://www.openmarket.com/)
The vSquare General Sessions are now available for viewing.
New Dates – April 12 to 15, 2021
Look for our cabana at RMAi 2021!
If you are in the receivables management industry, this is the premier event for you and your team. Debt buyers, originating creditors, collection agencies, law firms, brokers and affiliates gather for long-awaited days of timely industry education, in-person networking opportunities and business development prospects.
Welcome to the section of the Newsletter where we share an inside look at some of Vertican’s amazing team members. This issue of vConnect focuses the spotlight on Donna Gowen and Diego Hernandez.
Donna’s key role with the company is working as the Deputy Product Owner for Q-Law. We talked with Donna about her work at Vertican and learned some fun facts about her personal side.
How long have you worked for Vertican? Since 2006. (Started as Qsoft with Kurt Sund. But I have worked with Kurt in some capacity since the early ‘80’s).
What sort of work did you do before joined Vertican? I was co-owner of a Healthcare consulting firm and temporary agency for numerous hospitals in the St. Louis area. I also did/do pro bono patient advocacy for insurance issues/problems.
What is a typical day at Vertican like for you? Meetings, reminding the team of deliverables, conducting daily standups and the team sprints. Project manage migrations from FOX to SQL.
What do you like most about working for Vertican? The teams and the people. Everyone truly seems to care about helping each other. It is also nice to have a company that makes you feel important to the success of the company’s goals.
If you could learn anything new, what would it be? To be proficient in SSMS and learn another language.
What was your very first job and how old were you? At 10, I was babysitting five children for a doctor and his wife who enjoyed late night parties. Later, I was the first female pizza deliverer in the college town. Up until that point they would not allow women to deliver pizza, only waitress.
Word on the street is you are an avid baker and Halloween lover? Tell us about it and how that began. I like to bake (but I rarely eat sweets). I am best known in our previous neighborhood for themed Halloween parties. I have always loved Halloween and costumes. We built a ship around our garage for Pirates of the Caribbean, a giant chandelier for the Phantom of the Opera, Celebrating 50 years of Movies had numerous scenes from famous movies (my 50th birthday), and a drive-in movie for the kids. Unfortunately, this is the first year we did not have a Halloween party… thanks COVID.
What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues? When I moved to Manhattan in the 80’s, my first job was for MTV.
What (else) do you like to do outside of work? I bake, try new recipes for dinner, enjoy kitchen music and dancing, and tend to three stupid chickens.
Share something exciting you did in the last 12 months. We became foster failures when we attempted to foster an abused rescue Scottie and ended up adopting her. She was so frightened of everything. It is rewarding seeing each new milestone of progress and her emerging personality.
Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?
Movie: Quigley Down Under, tied with King Arthur (the one with Kiera Knightly)
TV: I watch some procedurals but really prefer something that will make me laugh.
Music: Very eclectic tastes, some are better to dance to than others….
Book: Game of Thrones (all of them), or Stephen King
Please share a favorite quote.
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” – Karen Davison
Diego recently joined Vertican but our collaboration with him goes back much further. His key role with the company is working as the Product Owner for both vExchange and vExchange Dashboard. We took this opportunity to get to know more about not only Diego’s position at Vertican, but what he enjoys doing outside of work.
How long have you worked for Vertican? This is my fourth month working for Vertican, but I had participated in projects with Vertican for more than five years in my previous job.
What sort of work did you do before joined Vertican? For five years, I was an operations manager at Midland Credit Management where I managed a staff of more than 15 employees. I coordinated supporting services for the Legal Strategy department and managed vendor relationships. I also drove strategic and operational improvements to achieve revenue targets and cost-saving opportunities, and developed process efficiencies producing the Standard Operating Procedures for the Puerto Rico office.
What is a typical day at Vertican like for you? My days have been changing every month, part of the day could include meetings with internal teams, external clients/partners, and potential clients. Another part of the day is dedicated to strategic planning and evaluation of possible product enhancements and process efficiencies opportunities. Also, I provide support to existing projects from a Business Analyst / Project Management perspective.
What do you like most about working for Vertican? Two things, 1) The people at Vertican are great, everyone that I have worked with has been very collaborative and supportive. 2) The opportunity to drive the strategic vision for vExchange products and work with multiple teams as a result of that role.
If you could learn anything new, what would it be? I would like to learn to ski and learn a third language.
What was your very first job and how old were you? When I was eight I helped my father sanding silver jewelry pieces at his workshop. Later, as a teenager, I helped to train horses.
Word on the street is you have acted? Tell us about it and how that began. I was an actor when I was a teenager. I joined the school drama club when I was 15 and participated in several teacher plays. Later on, in high school, I joined a specialized art school on weekends and we performed several plays in different schools and theaters in Puerto Rico.
What is something about you that may surprise your colleagues? I was a goalkeeper in the soccer varsity at the University of Puerto Rico.
What (else) do you like to do outside of work? I like to do sports, go hiking, and do outdoor activities with my daughters and wife.
Share something exciting you did in the last 12 months. I had the opportunity to invest more time with my family. My wife and I have been working from home, my seven year old daughter has been studying from home, and we are taking care of our two years old daughter at home. A challenging but amazing experience!
Do you have a favorite movie, artist and/or book?
Movie: I liked comedies and action movies (Marvel & DC)
TV: The Big Bang Theory
Music: Rock (mostly in Spanish)
Book: Don Quixote (Don Quijote de la Mancha), by Miguel de Cervantes
Please share a favorite quote. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – often attributed to Albert Einstein
Powerful Paperless File Policies III
Building on last month’s tips, here are a few more good policies that control software behaviors in the Paperless File, including a password policy.
Click on image to view larger version.
Click on image to view larger version.
Collection-Master has many features that are governed by policies. As of November 2020, there are 1550 policies available in Collection-Master. As a rule, all policies default to “on” and are set to “Y” out of the box. To change the default behavior, you must set the policy “N” to cause a change. Not setting the policy at all or setting the policy to “Y” are equivalent settings.
Click here for a pdf of a few more of the many available powerful policies.
Test Your Network Speed in Q-Law
Does your system seems slow? You can test your network speed in Q-Law. From the main menu click [Maintenance], then click the Edi-Custom Modules-Help. Finally, click [Test Network Speed].
Click on image to view larger version.
Follow the prompt and click Yes to confirm running a network speed test.
Click on image to view larger version.
Hidden Messages in the Viewing Module
When in the vMedia Viewing Module, hover over any icon on the top of the screen to indicate what that button can do. It also includes the shortcut keys on how to perform the same action without having to click.
For example, the first icon can tag images, pressing V or Enter on the keyboard while the image is highlighted can perform the same task.
Click on image to view larger version.
ENTER TO WIN
December 2020 Winners
Congratulations to the winners from the December Contest!
Martin Goldman, Law Office of Martin F. Goldman
Stephanie Stein, Specified Credit Association, Inc.
Flint Zide, Law Offices of Harris & Zide
The answers to the December trivia questions:
1. When are the twelve days of Christmas?
December 25th to January 5th
2. What northeastern U.S. state holds the Guinness record for largest snowman/woman?
3. What year did the ball begin dropping in Times Square?
Winners had the choice of one of these two prizes:
January 2021 Contest
This month’s quiz is in the spirit of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
One winner will be chosen at random from everyone answering all three questions correctly.
- When Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he was the youngest man to receive the award. How old was he?
- Which U.S. president approved the creation of a national holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.?
- True or False: President John F. Kennedy was immediately on board when he first heard about the March on Washington.
Want an extra entry? Give us a memorable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote and we will enter you twice.
This contest has ended. Answers and winners are posted in the February 2021 vConnect Newsletter.