We thought it would be best to begin by setting out our philosophy of collection and then move to the strategy we employ to set our general procedures.

Our philosophy is to bring professionalism to the collection industry. Professionalism to us means that we do an efficient job of collecting money for our client while preserving the dignity of the debtor, our client and ourselves.

In order to collect money in this way, we must be fair and equitable to all parties. Similarly situated debtors must be treated similarly and we must be meticulous in the application of our client's credit policy. Any process we use to do this must be consistent and lead to a logical and predictable conclusion.

The thousands of contacts we make on our clients' behalf require us to utilize computer technology to automate the process. We have invested heavily in automation and employ a full-time computer programmer. We use PC LAN technology to preserve our flexibility and have developed our own custom software. We also use our networking skills to link ourselves to our clients' computers whenever possible. This enhances the exchange if information.

The application of a computer technology to contact thousands of debtors without a methodology in place to assure quality would be foolhardy. We know that the computer is just another powerful tool. Like any other tool, it can do a lot of damage if it isn't used properly.

Our methodology is to apply automation to those elements of the process that lead to person to person contact rather than as a substitute for the human contact. We see our job as one of sorting the accounts by characteristics so that we can apply the next logical work unit that will lead to a resolution of the debt. Resolution of the debt may not be payment. The debtor could be bankrupt, may qualify for free care of there could be a customer service issue requiring that the account be returned to the client.

Our first job is to re-route all accounts that should not be pursued as self-pay and then embark on a strategy for the self-pays that will persuade the debtor that the money is owed and then to persuade them to pay. Once we have done this, we must follow-up to be sure whatever agreement we reach is enforced.

This is the point where professionalism can break down. If we fail to persuade the debtor that the money is owed, the only way to make them pay is through fear or deception. If we successfully persuade a self-pay debtor that the money is owed and set up a payment schedule that is never reviewed, it will probably not be followed and our client will suffer.

In order to achieve our goals, we have developed a standard approach to several classes of accounts. We created these approaches knowing that some things will be the same for all clients but that other more subtle procedures must be flexible in order to fit our clients' needs.