By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
The three partners who started Delta Outsource Group in 2009 are all veterans of the debt collection industry, with an average of 22 years’ experience each.
“We thought we could do it better,” said Nick Jarman, president and chief operating officer. The agency, which specializes in working with banks and other financial industry clients, strives to rise above the negative stigma of the collections industry by strict adherence to laws and extensive training to be sure employees show respect to the consumers they call.
“We turn difficult circumstances into positive experiences,” Jarman said. “We firmly believe that people don’t choose to be in debt and not pay their bills. We get them on the phone, talk with them and try to find a solution,” such as a payment plan.
“Our 80 employees are our biggest asset,” Jarman said. “Employee development is critical.”
Employees new to the collections industry go through three weeks of training in the classroom on how to speak to consumers, relevant laws and regulation as well as understanding the expectations of Delta’s clients. Experienced employees go through a condensed version – usually a week – focusing on how Delta operates and how it differs from other collection firms.
“If we bring someone on board, we’re going to invest heavily in them,” Jarman said. “We really value the employee/employer relationship.”
Jarman said Delta teaches its employees to avoid becoming personally involved in a consumer’s case, particularly if the person is angry or abusive. “This type of work is not for everybody,” he said. “Individuals find out quickly whether they can do it.”
The training never stops. Delta monitors every agent using speech analytics to make sure they’re abiding by the law and not using abusive language. Delta has ongoing training in ethics and asks employees to sign a pledge to abide by its 20-point code of conduct. The firm is certified by the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals in Professional Practices Management Systems, and it trains employees in the 18 basic elements of the systems.
“We’re very big on doing things the right way all the time,” Jarman said. “Sometimes you hear about debt collectors taking short cuts. That’s not something that we’re interested in. We care about what consumers think about how our company deals with them.”
The company’s mission is “to provide professional and compliant receivables management solutions built on a foundation of integrity, transparency and accountability.”
Delta Outsource sought BBB Accreditation as soon as it was eligible, and it has been Accredited since September 2010. Consumers are savvy about their finances, and they often do research before they work with the company, Jarman said. “They will go to sources that they trust. BBB is one of those.”
“We care about that rating,” Jarman said. “Any time there’s an issue, those issues are resolved quickly, typically within two days.”
Delta has a senior-level director of client experience to assure that the banks and other credit issuers who hire the firm are having their needs met and exceeded. Clients can log into Delta’s website to monitor their accounts in real time, too.
“We want to know from clients what their expectations are and be accountable to them,” Jarman said.
Delta Outsource Group (DOG) has an internal Positive Attitudes Will Succeed (PAWS) organization that works with employees to improve the workplace as well as sorting out charitable organizations that the company supports. PAWS has sponsored food and toy drives and worked with Junior Achievement on a financial literacy program, taught in part by Delta employees.
“Most people enjoy giving back,” Jarman said. “If we can give of our time and enjoy it, we will do it.”
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. To register for this year’s TORCH Awards luncheon on Nov. 13, go to http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/events.