How to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Company?

At any moment, in any place, after any interaction you may have in life, even if it seems meaningless at the time, you can experience the beginning of something great. As a great man once said,

“You don’t know what you got til it’s gone”. But often enough it’s “You don’t know what you did until it’s done”.

For us at Arbeit, our time started in the depths of Serpentshrine Cavern and within the giant flying necropolis of Naxxramas. “Huh?” you may ask. These are virtual places, what are known as raids in the computer game World of Warcraft. That is where our story begins as Akihara, Richard, Bangbangbang, and Dr. Blue (Allan, Richard, Alonzo, and myself, Alex, respectively) went from nerds in a basement playing World of Warcraft to nerds in an office creating dialer, VoIP phone systems, and TCPA compliance solutions.

For me, this story does not seem so amazing or strange (nothing does when you’ve lived it). But whenever I tell the story of how we all met over World of Warcraft, I get a lot of interest and perked up ears. We’re starting this blog to tell our story of how we started and how we have evolved as a business (and if it helps with branding and marketing, that’s a definite bonus, but shhh… don’t tell anyone! :D). And I promise this is the truth, which as we know can be strange indeed.

Just give our page a Like to follow our story and where we’re headed next! Next week: our CTO Richard’s take on how it all started.

Increase Sales with ‘Inbound Cold Calling’ and the Power of an Auto Dialer

No one likes cold calling. Having to pick up the phone and call a complete stranger is terrifying. I know because I have made countless cold calls throughout my sales career and there is still a part of me that gets anxious every time. I worry about how the person on the other end of the line is going to react. What they are going to say? What if I say the wrong thing? This fear has stopped  cold even the greatest of sales people from making the call.

In business, at some point, you are going to make a cold call. You are going to have to pick up the phone and call someone you don’t know to get what you want. What if there was a magic machine that could generate inbound sales or make inbound cold calls? That could make thousands of calls a day, getting in touch with all your prospects, helping you get what you want. There is! It’s called an auto dialer (power dialer). 

Arbeit Dialer and Arbeit Click were designed to take the fear and anxiety out of cold calls. They streamline the call process, giving you the power to perform “inbound cold calling.” The companies we work with are experiencing an increase in call output, higher close ratios, and greater employee satisfaction. Employees love being able to close more deals and generate more money for both themselves and their company by simply answering the phone when it rings.

We’re confident we can do the same for you. That’s why we offer a free no commitment trial of our auto dialer/power dialer/sales dialer (it’s whatever you want it to be). Use our dialer for one day, you will experience an increase in revenue.

The innovative nerds at Arbeit have built the better automatic phone dialer software. Take Dialer for a free test run today and see how easy it is make more connections—with less downtime.

New Business Struggling for Exposure? Follow These Tips

If you have a great product but the public has not yet caught on to what you are offering, you need to explore your options for getting more exposure. When you have a product that you’re proud of, slow sales can be frustrating because people may just not know enough about the item. Fortunately, a number of methods exist to get more attention for what you’re selling and to take advantage of word-of-mouth advertising to build your customer base.

If you’re looking for a wider market for your new business, you should strongly consider these options.

Going Out and Selling Yourself

It’s your product, so there is no one better to talk it up than you. Get out there and make connections. Network, talk to people in your personal and professional lives and let everyone you know find out about how great your business is. While you may feel a lot of pressure to wait until your product is perfect before you get started marketing it, remember that there is no such thing as perfection. Start now on the process of selling yourself and the product you’ve produced. Taking a step back and thinking about what types of business or influencers would help your company grow will lead to a solid plan. If your plan isn’t working right away, you don’t want to throw it in the trash can, but you also just don’t want to randomly come up with ideas and see what sticks.

Sharing on Social Media

The Internet provides a great way to make connections and to let people know about your product. Be creative on social media, provide relevant information, and show off what your product can do. You should be able to make connections with lots of potential customers and you could even find that your company can go viral if you show off your product and people are impressed. (One side note: make sure your online presence is capable of handling an influx if that happens. The last thing you want to do is get a lot of potential customers and then your website or internal team can’t handle the success.)

Finding Brand Influencers Who Can Help

Brand influencers are increasingly common and getting someone with a big network and lots of clout and credibility with your target demographic can be one of the best ways to get your product out there. It’s a combination of the first two points. You are networking by finding someone who can benefit from your product, and then you are using that influencer’s creditability and reach to spread your product through social media and other channels.

Arbeit is a startup company that provides an auto dialer software solution for businesses. As a startup, we understand the challenges in making sure that the public can find the great products that you have to offer.

If you want to find out more about our debt collection software or about how we’ve successfully grown our business by providing a quality product, contact us today.

How Does the New Overtime Rule Affect Collections Agencies?

In May, Labor Department finalized new rules on overtime that are applicable nationwide throughout the United States. These new rules go into effect on December 1, and the change is estimated to make 4.2 million salaried workers suddenly eligible for overtime pay who weren’t eligible before.

The rule makes more workers eligible for overtime pay because it raises the threshold at which white-collar workers become exempt from overtime. Previously, people in certain professional positions who earned a salary could be exempt from being paid overtime if they had annual salaries of $23,660. Now, the salary threshold is raised to $47,476. This means if you have any salaried workers who make between these amounts and your collection agency previously was not paying them overtime, you will have to start at the beginning of December

This change can have a profound impact on your payroll. You may need to make some modifications to how your collection agency does business including:

Prohibiting employees who make under the threshold from working more than 40 hours per week.

If you don’t want to end up suddenly paying a lot in overtime, you’ll need to make sure that employees making under $47,476 are no longer working more than 40 hours a week. This option works for call centers who don’t want to increase the salaries of their employees. However, that could mean hiring more employees, either on a full-time, part-time or temporary basis. If your workers traditionally log 50 hours per week, they could be relieved to only be doing 40 hours at the same salary level, but you need to find that lost 10 hours somewhere.

Reallocating workloads

As fewer salaried employees are exempt from overtime, you may need to consider reallocating the distribution of work.  Consider the number of employees you have, their salaries and work hours to determine the most cost-effective solutions for your business. As the previous point mentioned, your company needs to evaluate all of the costs of hiring new employees, not just salary but also benefits, onboarding, training, etc. A staffing agency could be the right option in the short term since they handle the benefits, and you can determine the best long-term option for your call center.

Changing rules for who punches in.

Employees who are salaried will now have to punch a time card and keep careful track of their hours to make sure that they are not going over the 40-hour limit. That’s going to be a significant culture change for your staff members. They might not like the stigma that goes with being an hourly employee. Being proactive and addressing the changes actively with your team can help make the changes easier to accept.

Whatever approach you take to responding to the new overtime rules, it is important employees understand the rules and that you are open and honest about changes that are being made. You also want to find ways to improve productivity during the time that your employees are on-the-job.

One option comes through better automated phone dialing software. Take advantage of the efficient and comprehensive phone dialer software available from Arbeit.  Contact us today to find out more about how we can help make debt collection more efficient so your employees can be more productive and help your company grow!

Is Your Debt Collection Agency Protected Against a Cyber Attack?

Debt collection agencies have a lot of important personal data, including Social Security numbers and contact information of debtors who must be called as a part of the collections process.

With this personal data stored on your networks, your debt collection company is vulnerable to a potential cyber attack. Hackers are always looking for ways to get access to information that could be valuable, and your debt collection agency needs to make sure that you protect your network and ensure your data is always kept safe and secure.

Far too many debt collection agencies, fail to ensure that they have adequate security in place to protect their organizations. Companies react in this area after an attack, which is many times worse than spending money proactively to prevent attacks.

An increase in targeting small businesses

Many cyber criminals have become more aggressive in trying to access data from small and medium-sized businesses. Criminals from countries with lax enforcement of hacking laws had tremendous success recently with going after smaller companies and are likely to continue this approach going forward.  These hackers know the smaller companies aren’t putting enough resources into cyber protection and are just hoping they won’t get attacked since they don’t have a lot of valuable data. However, cyber criminals are realizing any amount of hacked data can lead to something beneficial on their end.

An increase in targeted social engineering attacks

Hackers have developed social engineering skills from years of scamming, which allow them to employ unsophisticated keylogging tools to steal information from businesses worldwide.  Hackers from some countries like Russia and the Ukraine, where there is a large organized crime element devoted to cyber offenses, have even more sophisticated tools they can use to access and stay hidden in networks for a long time. Some of these attacks occur through what appears to be an email from a contact, but it’s actually a hacked account.

Evolving ransomware attacks

Ransomware involves encrypting the files of those who have been hacked, and charging money to get the ransomed files back. It’s similar to a social engineering attack but then requires a “ransom” amount of money to the user to get access back to their server, computer, email, etc. The U.S. government recently announced a number of ransomware attacks increased four times in 2016.

Your collection agency needs to try to stay a step ahead of the hackers. This means doing regular data backups and testing those backups, as well as making sure that all of the files employees use daily are kept backed up. On top of that, investing in security and being extremely protective of your data can’t be understated for your small business and collections agency.

It is also important to make sure employees only have access to the files and file shares they actually need to do their job.  Finally, choosing safe and secure software designed by industry experts can also help you to ensure you keep your computer operations running smoothly. Contact Arbeit Software today to find out more about our phone-dialing software that will make your life a little easier.

Eight Key Features of Phone Dialer Software

Phone dialing software can make it simpler and easier to connect with debtors during the collection process. However, not all phone dialer software programs have the features that are most in-demand for debt collectors. When you count on your software to serve as a productivity tool, you need to make sure that the software has all of the features that make it simple and effective. What are eight key features to look for in your auto dialer software?

Simple call list mapping

You want to be able to import number files quickly and easily with minimal or no configuration. Once you configure your file once, the system should remember for the next time. That list can be in the six figures and it’s uploaded in just seconds, with no extra work needed on your end.

The ability to start making calls where you left off

It’s common not to finish an entire call list in a single session. With the best phone dialer software programs, you can always pick up the automated calling process right where you left off. That option increases the efficiency of your team when they return the next day, or if you are passing off the list between other employees. The coordination becomes much simpler.

Features to ensure compliance with Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other regulations

As a debt collector, you’re restricted from making phone calls outside of certain hours. The good news is, with the right automated phone dialing software, you’ll never have to worry about calls being made outside of allowable times. The software can use area codes to determine the time zone of those being called and to make sure you don’t call outside of permissible hours. You should also ensure your phone dialing software allows for quick and efficient updates to your Do Not Call list.

The ability to easily generate reports

Phone dialer software should make it easy to download files in CSV format to integrate the data with your favorite spreadsheet application. This makes reporting simple for your entire time.

Custom messaging features

Having a generic message won’t help conversion rates. The flexibility to fully customize your own message, use a text-to-speech option or reorder elements is very beneficial.

Text-to-speech systems that are sophisticated and that actually work

One of the most frustrating parts of phone software comes with an inaccurate text-to-speech option. With a good text-to-speech system as part of your phone dialer software, you can target specific people to increase your contact ratio. You can also make sure that the messages are specific to your targets.

Efficient routing of calls

A SIP (session initiation protocol) to SIP link that automates calls directly via an SIP connection can be a big money and time saver. With a compatible phone system, the call avoids being routed multiple times and that leads to saving money for your collections agency.

Live look-in

Live look-ins make it easy to quickly identify and resolve issues. This feature provides a great opportunity for management to coach employees and educate them on becoming more effective during their conversations.

At Arbeit Software, our phone dialer software offers all of these features and more. Contact us today to learn more about the ways in which we can assist your business!

5 Ways to Incentivize Your Collections Agents that DON’T Have to Do with Money

Providing the right incentive to collection agents can make a big difference in effectiveness. Working in a call center every day can be mundane, but a great culture can really increase the energy and productivity. While commissions and bonuses are always a popular way to incentivize, you can also motivate and enhance performance through non-monetary rewards and benefits as well. Here are five key ways to incentivize your collection agencies without using cash.

Public Praise

Everyone likes to be recognized when they do a good job. Making the praise public also makes it more meaningful as your staff is recognized in front of their peers. Giving public praise is not only motivating to the person you’re complimenting but can also encourage others to do better so they too can receive recognition. Find a way to incorporate a “Call Center Agent of the Month” in a public place. Take a minute where everyone listens as management gives a public compliment of an employee going the extra mile to accomplish a company goal.

Never Hesitating to Reward the Same Top Performers

If certain members of your staff repeatedly out-perform others, be sure to recognize their continuing good work so they stay motivated to keep excelling. Your top performers deserve special recognition when they continue to perform above-par time after time, so you should not be afraid to give repeat praise. While your company can also have team goals, rewarding the best employees will be recognized as a reward for someone who isn’t doing a good job can affect the team’s attitude.

Managers Taking Calls for an Hour

For top performers, giving them an extra break by taking their calls for an hour can be a great reward. They’ll enjoy the free time and a longer break. Others will see this special treatment and become motivated to try to earn it. A lot of employees get motivated by seeing their boss have to do their job for a period of time.

Providing an Extra Day off for Top Performers

Days off are a great reward, as everyone loves vacation time. Everyone on your staff will want to work to earn more time off as a reward for outperforming. Yes, this might cost your company some money in terms of productivity, but your employee must follow office procedures for scheduling the off days so you can also schedule another employee to fill that opening.

Peer Awards and Peer Recognition

Peer recognition can be gratifying and can make staff members feel especially proud about the contribution that they are making to the workplace. Provide opportunities for your staff to recognize each other when they go above-and-beyond in getting their job done. These recognition awards don’t have to be anything major, but it could just be handing someone a gold star for helping out with a task they couldn’t solve.

Providing non-monetary motivators can allow you to keep your staff excited without spending a fortune. On top of that, making work easier with an efficient auto dialer software will also help with office culture. Contact Arbeit Software today to request a free demo of our automated dialer software solution.

Want to Start a Collections Agency? Here’s One Thing You CAN’T Do!

At Arbeit Software, we offer an industry-leading auto dialer to help increase call output and make more collections. But we weren’t always in the technology space. In fact, before launching Arbeit Software, we owned a highly successful collections agency ourselves.

In starting up the collections agency business, we learned a lot of tough lessons. The biggest lesson we learned was…

As a collection agency owner, the one thing you CAN’T do is relax.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to talk you out of starting your own collections agency. But before jumping into the deep end, know what you’re jumping into.
In our last post, we talked a lot about what it’s like to open a collections agency. But in this post, we wanted to look closer into one question:

What Is the Scariest Part of Starting a Company?
The CEO of Arbeit Software summed it up perfectly…

Alex: The scariest part is not being able to just relax and coast sometimes. There is no downtime, no day off. No matter what, if something fails it’s my fault – every employee’s future, my future, my partners’ future… I feel like all of this is in my hands and that every decision I make will have an impact. We have had such great success so quickly that it’s scary to think it could go the opposite way just as quickly with one or two bad decisions. I do not anticipate that disappointment because we have so many of us involved directly in everything.

Let’s take a closer look at this statement and walk through what it really takes:                

No days off.

That’s right. As the owner of the company you’re responsible for everything. There are no days off. You are constantly involved in almost all aspects of the business — especially at the beginning. You need to dedicate yourself to building quality organization.

If something fails, it’s your fault.

Good or bad, it’s all your fault!  As the owner of the collections company, there are two fundamental areas in which you need to excel at: Hiring good people, and instilling good processes. The leading collections companies have amazing processes, metrics and systems in place to turn good collections agents into great collections agents. (They are also slow to hire, quick to hire.)  This is difficult at first but if you don’t have good, self-motivated people, you won’t succeed.

Don’t get too high, or too low.

As collections agency owners, we saw great success quickly. But we were humble enough to realize that without hard work and dedication, it all disappear just as quickly. As a collections agency owner you need to be diligent and always looking for ways to improve. You need to continually review call metrics, train your staff, and look for small ways to be more productive. You also need to look for new ways to streamline your business processes and allow your team to be more efficient and profitable.

Looking to start a collections agency? Contact someone that’s been in your shoes!

At Arbeit Software, we’ve been in your shoes. Our ownership team has gone from startup to successful agency, and we’re passionate about helping others succeed. In fact, our dialer software was created because we saw a huge opportunity for our own firm to be more productive, be more efficient, and to drive more revenue. If you’re looking to start your own collections agency, call us today. We’ll share some of the mistakes we made (so you don’t make the same ones) but also outline a strategic plan to help make sure you’re profitable quickly.

What Is It Like to Start a Company and Grow It?

At Arbeit Software, we create software aimed at improving the collections process. As a small business created by owners of collection agencies who understand what it takes to be a success in this industry, we know that collections can be a challenging field, but that it also provides ample opportunity.

As our own company has grown and become successful, we’ve helped many collectors meet their software needs, reduce down time and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. We also want to offer insight to collectors and other business owners about the actual behind-the-scenes details of starting and growing a successful company.

This roundtable is the first article in a series of content coming from the employees at Arbeit Software.  The goal of this series of articles is to provide insight to make your own business a better one.

Today’s question-and-answer session deals with the most basic issue: What Is It Like to Start and Grow a Company?

Here are a few answers from:

  • Chief Executive Officer Alex Villafranca
  • Chief Information Officer Alonzo Rainero
  • Chief Engineering Officer Allan Rossi Lisboa
  • Chief Technology Officer Richard Hacker.

How Did You Get Involved with Arbeit?

CEO, Alex Villafranca: Alonzo and I owned a collection agency, which we started in September 2009, and used another vendor as a dialer provider. We were spending a lot of money and experienced a lot of headaches with downtime. We were sick of those headaches, so we came up with the idea to create our own software. While we owned the collection agency, we were involved with a lot of IT work for agencies in the area, including creating small software programs to make their daily operations more efficient and to save them money and headaches. Creating our own software was a natural extension of this work.

Richard worked for us as a database administrator and suggested we hire Allan to do the programming. We all knew Allan from playing the World of Warcraft, and that is where the rest of our friendships also were solidified. After the software was developed, the four of us decided to split ownership equally in Arbeit. In order to focus on the dialer, Alonzo and I closed down the collection agency.

Chief Information Officer, Alonzo Rainero: I got involved with Arbeit when we decided to transition from the accounts receivable industry to the technology side of that same industry. We noticed that collections technology was severely lacking, especially for what we wanted, so we decided to fill the missing void and created Arbeit Software.

Chief Engineering Officer, Allan Rossi Lisboa: Alex and Alonzo needed some software developed, and Rick knew that I worked in that field. We connected and started working together. The software was well done and started to outgrow the existing business, so we created Arbeit to focus on that.

Chief Technology Officer, Richard Hacker: My business partners are my childhood and personal friends. When I brought on Allan for a software project for Alex and Alonzo, we realized we could build greater things and formed Arbeit as partners.

How Does Your Role Help Grow Arbeit?

Alex: My formal role and tile at Arbeit is CEO, but we are a small company and all of us wear multiple hats. We are too small to have someone for every job, so everyone works in different areas. I work with the sales team constantly, to provide the resources they need to sell. I also spend a lot of time researching and speaking with agency owners, trying to get an idea for what we should do next and what they want and need to succeed.

Alonzo: I have a very versatile role at Arbeit. I primarily handle government paperwork and regulations, hiring, telecom carriers and payroll. I also handle client relations and offer ideas and guidance on current and upcoming projects.

Allan: I write the programs that we sell.

Richard: I work to build and maintain the systems that provide security, reliability and performance to our customers.

What is Most Exciting about Starting a Company?

Alex: The most exciting thing for me is creating an amazing company where people can work, and creating a work culture that everyone here – including myself – loves. It is rewarding to have 15 people working here, especially since we are paying them well and giving them great benefits like profit sharing, full health coverage and vacation time. This might sound like a politically correct and insincere thing to say, but you can ask Allan, Alonzo and Richard when we are in meetings how excited I get about these things. I can’t wait to cut the first set of profit sharing checks to people at the start of July this year.

Alonzo: The most exciting part about starting a company is the endless possibilities. We are able to decide what we want to do, how we do it and when to do it. It is nice to “be your own boss,” but with great power comes great responsibility!

Allan: Being able to do fun things. Being free to make my own decisions about where my work will take me.

Richard: What’s most exciting is the feeling of building something useful and disruptive that our customers benefit from every day.

What Is the Scariest Part of Starting a Company?

Alex: The scariest part is not being able to just relax and coast sometimes. There is no downtime, no day off. No matter what, if something fails it’s my fault – every employee’s future, my future, my partners’ future… I feel like all of this is in my hands and that every decision I make will have an impact. We have had such great success so quickly that it’s scary to think it could go the opposite way just as quickly with one or two bad decisions. I do not anticipate that disappointment because we have so many of us involved directly in everything.

Alonzo: The scariest part of starting a company is the unknown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in business. A new government regulation, industry change or competitor could cause a big disturbance. That’s why it is important to diversify in what your company does and not be locked into only one thing. You have to keep evolving and keep moving!

Allan: It all depends on you. If you fail, the company fails.

Richard: The things that make anything frightening are often the things that make it worth doing.

What is it like to work with other partners?

Alex: It’s amazing. They are the three smartest people I know. We have a unique relationship that is very hard to explain, but I love it. Having the ability to pick their brains with new ideas for the company is awesome. Also, when coming up with new ideas – to have them rip the ideas apart (in a constructive way) is great. The level of trust we have in each other is also a big benefit. We each fill a specific need for the company, and we all think differently about problems. It really has lead us to where we are today.

Alonzo: I have known my partners for most of my life, one for 22 years. We are all like-minded individuals with similar goals and aspirations. I think it’s great that the people I work with are not just partners, but friends.

Allan: A challenge. Everyone has their own minds. Some people are guided by feelings or moods, and it’s very scary to have someone’s mood swing have a deep impact on your life. It is also very helpful because I don’t have all the answers, and I rely on my partners to help me all the time with the things they are knowledgeable about. Having people that you can trust at your side is a huge relief.

Richard: It’s great working with Alex, Alonzo, and Allan. We all bring something to the table, and though we may joke around sometimes, we take our work seriously, and we are always looking out for each other.

What other information do you think would help other entrepreneurs?

Alex: Screw it! Just wing it and see what happens, it’s how we started. Real experience has a greater value then any amount of education, so sometimes you have to try and see what works and what doesn’t. There is no playbook or textbook explaining how to do things, as everything is based on circumstances. There is no one size fits all way to entrepreneurship.

Alonzo: The hardest part of starting your own business is doing it. You need faith in yourself and your partners that you can get the job done. Starting out takes some time and effort, but the rewards are great!

Allan: If at the beginning you are working less than 16 hours a day, you are doing it wrong.

Richard: Develop a set of skills and build something valuable. Then release it to the world.

3 Tips to Improve Call Quality

When your business is dependent upon making calls, there is nothing more important than call quality.  Poor call quality can destroy a business that is dependent upon the phone.  There are many things that can have an effect on call quality. If your company is experiencing poor call quality, contact Arbeit today so we can help. In the meantime here is some free advice, here are my  Three Tips to Improve Call Quality

Bandwidth Speed:  Having proper bandwidth speed is key to making high-quality calls.  Not having the bandwidth speed can lead to calls being missed, calls being dropped, and poor voice quality.  It is important to be sure that you have the bandwidth to support your capacity needed to make calls.  The nerds here at Arbeit recommend having at least 64 kilobytes of bandwidth per concurrent phone call.  This will allow you to be sure you have the proper bandwidth speed to see high calling quality.

Tier One Carriers: Tier one carriers are a key in making high-quality calls.  When you use low quality or budget carriers, you can experience things like dropped calls, distortion, delays on the call, and even busy signals when the line is available.  At Arbeit, we only use the best of the best (tier one carriers.)   Using tier one carriers gives all Arbeit users the ability to make high-quality calls without experiencing things like dropped calls and distortion.

Network Setup: Many things are happening on your network at the same time.  A busy network can cause terrible call quality.  We have two recommendations for you to help fix this problem.  The first would be to configure your network to give priority to your phones. Meaning, if your network was running slow, other features would be stopped in order to keep your call quality high. If you need help with this call Arbeit we will be more than happy to help.  The other option is to have a completely separate network for your phones.  This allows all other things being run on the network to run separate from the phones and will not cause interference to call quality.
If you run a business that relies on outbound or inbound calls. Stop accepting dropped calls and loads of downtime. Contact the nerds at Arbeit and learn how we can help.