Ask five people what the best skip trace tools and techniques are to find John Doe and you are likely to get five different answers. Why? It is relative. Searching for a missing child you’d likely have different time and money limitations than searching for a debtor to recover money or assets. Below are seven simple rules to help you get more out of your skip tracing.
Rule No. 1: Right tool…right time. Balance, number of accounts, staff limitations and other factors deter-mine the right tools to use at the right time. If you have more than a few hundred accounts to work in a given month consider batch processing as a first line of defense. Some vendors can store your accounts for a period of time and constantly monitor for new hits. Manual searches on paid or free internet sites will produce locates not found in batch, but manual searches will take additional time. More companies are outsourcing certain skip accounts to third party skip trace companies when specific account criteria are met.
Rule No. 2: Know when to give up. The chase and excitement of locating a skip can be a lot of fun. It is easy to spend too much time trying to find a single skip at the expense of other skips or debtors that could be a quicker path to increasing the overall dollars collected. This is the opportunity cost (or sacrifice) of making one treatment decision over another imp source.
Rule No. 3: Dedicated skip tracer. Isolating skip tracing to a single person or skip trace team is an effective way to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your collectors. If you are the only person in your office or you play a dual role as a skip tracer and a collector, consider setting aside an hour or two you can dedicate to skip tracing. Since we make money collecting debt, time spent on skip tracing should be used wisely.
Rule No. 4: Develop metrics. Measuring the impact of your skip tracing will help you improve your results over time. It will also help you determine the account criteria needed to warrant spending time and money on a skip account. Important metrics to track or periodically estimate include return on investment (ROI), total dollars collected, cost per right party contact, and call penetration rate. While there is no one right answer as to how many times a debtor should be called (call penetration rate), the number of calls will have a measurable impact on performance. Metrics will rise and fall over time as account penetration rates increase and as accounts age. Once call penetration rates are tracked, it isn’t uncommon to find you are buying skip data that is never called.
Rule No. 5: Use your vendor. Most vendors offer free telephone or onsite training. Vendors understand that if tools are inefficiently used and costs go up, clients are likely to turn off or limit access to those tools. As a result, vendors have a vested interest in helping you get the most out of their product. Vendors have the advantage of learning best practices across multiple clients and these tips can help you find more debtors and boost recoveries. In addition to training, request your data vendor provide monthly reports that track usage for each user. Learning which searches your best skip tracer or collector is using is a great training tool. Ask your vendor for input on how to get the most out of these reports.
Rule No. 6: Carefully consider free searches. While there are some valid reasons to search free internet websites they can end up costing you in the long run. Paid sites typically have more comprehensive and accurate data which can help you to locate and collect on more accounts in less time. If you are using free websites, make sure you are considering time spent locating a skip or handling inaccurate information. Check to make sure the websites meet your information security standards and they are not collecting the information you input into their website.
Rule No. 7: Use multiple sources. The best skip trace program layers in multiple skip trace vendors to maximize cost and effectiveness.
The single best way to find John Doe depends on your unique situation and accounts, however these simple rules will help you find more people in the most efficient and effective manner. As a result your recoveries will increase.