Advertising Revenue Optimization is about Customer Connection

Media and Entertainment Advertising Credit to Cash

Media and Entertainment Advertising Credit to Cash

Just within the last few years, media platforms have been expanding before our very eyes. We have seen a dramatic change in media and advertising including the way content is produced, shared and converted to cash. In this new world, media and entertainment companies who are successful in leveraging big data analytics understand the success or failure of advertising and how the personalization of content has become so crucial. The same holds true in the process of servicing the complexities of credit to cash and how the experience using analytics and automated reconciliations are key aspects and expectations of advertisers and media buyers.

As a provider of credit to cash services and 3 rd party collections, we have been working with the media industry extensively. Going back to print media when distribution and advertising were local and a few large media buyers made the difference in revenue for TV, newspaper, magazines and stores or postal carrier were ultimately the path to an end consumer. Some of the same customer needs apply even with the major advancements through digital transformation. As we have grown to expect deeper insights though analytics, transparency in billing is now the most critical component of the relationship. Our job these days is to provide the solutions and recovery to accelerate cash flow for our clients and preserve relationships with advertisers. There are similarities from the print media days but with some major differences in efficiency, effectiveness and the incorporation into digital platforms.

What has changed in credit and collections for Media and Entertainment credit to cash?

What has changed besides everything for me, as an analyst, is the risk. With so many platforms and small transactions, the risk element in credit has increased substantially. With delinquency rising based upon the aggregate amount of these small transactions, how do you recover small balances, which can equate very meaningful margin? The answer comes in the form of strategic VS non-strategic work and a wealth of automation. Top customers need the most handholding and with limited resources, much of your focus should be with the top tier of revenue producing clients. That however doesn’t mean to leave the smaller customers waiting in the wings. Today, small customers account for strategic revenue: This is where we talk about the value of outsourcing and how the non-strategic work gains benefits for a platform based credit to cash process. This also works with 3 rd party collections in an industry-defined partnership to provide a soft approach to customer collections and bringing attention to the customer, focusing on reconciliation and resolution. Besides collecting your revenue, providing a high level of customer service counts!

Why are there so many disputes in advertising collections?

We have a wealth of industry information at our fingertips and root causes come from both our outsourcing and 3 rd party collections clients. The straight answer is lack of information. Some may say disputes are a stall based upon cash flow problems, but that’s not a dispute, that a different problem entirely. Essentially, if the advertiser doesn’t see a sales spike, they assume the ad didn’t run and why would they pay for an ad that didn’t run? So it is our job to build a relationship with the customer, form trust and provide meaningful information, which results in payment. This goes beyond emailing an invoice which is the reason why advertisers will treat us with priority in both reconciliation of disputes, poor cash flow or even just as a matter of process.

Keeping the relationship alive

So let’s focus on a key equation in the credit to cash cycle: To keep your advertisers, keep them satisfied. The customer experience has to be held in the highest regard when dealing in the media space. Your customers need your platforms and quite frankly, you need them. Focus on your customers in the credit to cash process. It doesn’t matter if captive, in-house, outsource or 3 rd party collections. Finding the balance of resolution is good business. Of course all the analytics available help focus upon the customer’s ability to pay and determine probability of payment. Why not use the same to determine accuracy of dispute validity? If truly a financial issue, this is just another way to find solutions for your customers and your business alike. Loyalty comes from going the extra mile, and while it’s our job to collect accounts receivable, creative solutions and partnership bring payment faster than write offs or use of the wrong tactics. Sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and talk to your customer. A strange concept these days I know, but the most effective and appreciated.

Frank Carino, Strategic Business Development

Patient Experience Across Revenue Cycle Management

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Patient Experience Across Revenue Cycle Management: It Counts in Cash

Over the 18 years I’ve been in the healthcare outsourcing field of RCM, I’ve learned efficiency in healthcare billing doesn’t have to be complicated. Although many trends have come and gone, there are 5 key rules that drive highly successful people to consistently exceed expectations and are very straightforward, more so than you may imagine. So let’s count it down:

  • 5. Cohesion – Values and culture act as a North Star on the path to accomplishing our goals. Aligning outsource partners with your internal values creates a unified team with vision and priorities. In our case, as a RCM outsourcing provider, we adopt and look to absorb our client’s culture. A successful partnership is cohesive and transparent with effective communication and trust flowing in both directions.
  • 4. Expertise – Of course, this seems straightforward but healthcare business process outsourcing is immensely encompassing when we delve a little deeper. True expertise in healthcare RCM goes far beyond the hard mechanics such as compliance and efficiency. True expertise includes factors such as empathy (identifying with patients on a personal level, understand to what they are going through). It is having the emotional acumen to respectfully guide a positive resolution, helping the patients, their families and our partners to smoothly navigate the path to recovery.
  • 3. Technology – Pressure will continue to be applied to budgets driving the need for efficiency, automation, and analytics providing insight to the changing conditions ahead. With the right platform effectiveness of a team can be realized, quantified and refined. With the proper balance of People, Process and Technology phenomenal performance gains can be made. Though, in seeking efficacy multipliers such as these, it is important to never lose sight of the patient relationship.
  • 2. Relationship – With the easing of manual processes, it is crucial to leverage human capital intelligently. Performance in the healthcare RCM space and the patient relationship are directly intertwined. The key, focusing the right resources where they count and in turn driving the most valuable level of care and relationship to successfully cure past due balances. The better the patient relationship, the better the payment metrics. The better the payment metrics, the better the client relationship. 

    As we know, patient satisfaction is highly correlated to a patient’s choice physician and facility should they require care in the future. Which leads us to rule #1:

  • 1. Patient Experience – Parents, grandparents, spouses, friends, family and loved ones. The person on the other side of phone calls or correspondence may be anyone these, and under a different set of circumstances it could be you or me on the other side this exchange. Make the conversation matter. Make it bigger than just a call to recover a bill. Raising the bar to what a positive patient experience is. All of the previous rules lead to this point. Patient Experience is the number one priority which multiplies all others including desire to pay. Focus on delivering an informative, helpful, compliant, valuable and pleasant patient experience and all other key metrics will rise as well
  • Patient Experience is the key to greater collections in healthcare, and through my 18 years in the field, these are the essentials to excelling in Revenue Cycle Management that I’ve found most effective for our clients, our teams and myself.

    – Erin Wilson, Healthcare BPO Project Manager of VWi

Hello Durable Medical Equipment Industry.

Are you advancing your automation agenda for working capital optimization?

Healthcare Reform has put a strain on budgets and ushered in new complexities when it comes to collections and overall receivables management. One of the key issues is the lack of capability through investment in technology and automation. As budgets continue to be compressed this critical area of advancing automation to ease manual processes and increase cycle time to cash is problematic. But this doesn’t mean the problem can’t be solved with strong partnerships.

We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Leveraging collaboration through domain specific partnerships helps. Credit to Cash providers in an outsourced partnership can take some of the complications out of the matter by understanding the new world and customer complexity to solve the impact and the fine details toward improve working capital.

In anticipation of the many changes occurring over the past years, most companies within Durable Medical Equipment industry are working to update their finance and accounting systems and taking into consideration changes that may impact the timely collection of invoices. Financial systems need to be enabled to deliver and support flexibility to reduce impact on business operations. Question is, do you find the capital to fund these initiatives or partner with a provider who brings technology with services?

You can start with analysis to understand how this change can affect the customer relationship. I believe the approach of a specialist by customer and transaction type can support mitigating disputes and reducing complexity to the AR cycle. This can easily be achieved with the right platform and in an outsourced model but maybe problematic, due to expenses, in a captive or shared services infrastructure.

Additionally, the comparable analysis of your product portfolio, revenues and customers will help to better understand the current and new customers, who are the end users, intended use of the product is. Only then can accurately estimate and therefore determine what the true potential for optimized DSO should be.

We believe that determining how customers transact invoice payment comes from a number of factors. Deep business analytics and accurately targeting can change the slow paying behaviors. New advances in analytics and payment modeling have made the DME collection process more effective than ever but an investment or a change to an industry leading domain specific BPO partner is required.

Beyond analysis and system updates, comes the complexity of recording and reporting to ensure you’re in compliance with tax regulations. This requires more oversight and controls from a compliance perspective but also requires more diligence in operations – from taking the order to accruing revenue.

The issue may not be the only provision to slice into profits, but the need for additional resources across F&A becomes another issue burdening business with more expenses. With the availability of technology, just like any particular process, the need for manual intervention will be removed. Additionally, analytics and automation, to drive risk mitigation, support a clear view of what can be expected in the long term. By coupling these strategies you effectively minimize the manual and labor intensive processes, see a reduction of credit risk and sustain the most valuable production actions being delivered.

This may take time for some but others utilizing an outsource strategy today, the expertise and enablement is already leveraged. Business process outsourcing and technology solutions, which come with such engagements, make the entire process seamless and can help ensure you are being diligent in optimizing your working capital. At the same time, controls will ensure the customer experience is being considered to avoid losing what are ultimately good customers who need creative solutions.

David Gallagher – Strategic Business Development

Customer Centric Solutions

Listening and Understanding Counts in Collections 

For all of us in the services industry, especially my realm of 3rd Party and Order to Cash Outsourcing, the relationship and the trust to solve complex problems is one, which can be missed during the buying cycle. I often realize though the complexity of day-to-day business how critical true partnership is and one, which should not be forgotten in the crucial matching of the supplier relationship.

My main focus, as an owner of the client / customer experience, it is my job to take the complex issues and turn them into quick solutions for our clients. In the world of 3rd party collection and being the support mechanism between creditor and debtor, this can be a challenge. Over the years I have learned to hone my skills and bring experience plus practical solutions for our customer service team, customer and ultimately their customers as a solution provider. This requires a skill, which seems to be lost in some sense, listening and understanding.

Most of the issues and resolution in credit and collections comes in the form of a dispute or financial difficulty on the debtor’s part. While we are at our best when solving a client problem, working with a debtor maybe challenging and our collectors need the support of their client liaison to accelerate a solution evolving our client. In some cases the added stress and pressure to make good on a large balance due and the personal attachment to a business can bring forward some interesting attempts to contort and distort the real issues. As our collection associates and clients provide vast amounts of data and analysis, we need to take into consideration some of the most important traits of working with multiple groups and ultimately, people. The facts and data provide us with the starting point and deductive reasoning and a good network of skilled solutions oriented resources the rest. The needs for these skills and the ability to have mutual trust through actions are sometimes missed in our industry but for me a clear differentiator in the services industry.

Practical thinking and passion for delivering to the client a quality of service with the right construct to their expectations is not an easy task. But spending your time and effort to understand these needs and expectations goes a long way in clearing the path for a long-term partnership. I have spent many hours with our clients, which are valuable hours as to get the process right and ultimately time and cost of ownership savings for both. Understanding their business and listening to their needs as I stated is unfortunately becoming a lost practice as more and more need for speed drives assumptions and ready-made answers. Grounding ourselves in this service based economy and respecting the needs of the mutual business partners and customers is crucial to best business practice.

As a day in the life of working in a fast paced environment and making each customer a priority can be a challenge in most businesses but mutual investments have been made and value relative to revenue large and small can be made a priority. A careful selection of resources aligned to delivering what has been promised and load balancing your infrastructure, as an investment to serve the client is a simplified way of making sure all inquires and issues are handled as designed with the client. Additionally providing the right working environment to reduce turnover and unplanned change is your risk prevention. Change occurs, people move on but the right people grow with your business and clients long term. Your back up plan, always a highly skilled team to move up and continue the consistent quality of service and relationship always..

When specialization is required, collaboration between all is enabled by good customer practices and bringing forward the best solutions and skills. Trying to do it alone will not strengthen relationships but quickly result in disappointment. It has been my 15+ years mission to have this careful attention to detail delivered in each client engagement by using a full network of people and tools to not be seen as the king of all customer service but a practitioner of bridging relationships for the best outcomes. Networking people and the growing of relationships is truly the best part of all, isn’t it?

Some lessons learned across the way of working with diverse customers, sectors, and people globally which I would say are attributes which make for great experiences. My favorite part of all engagement is the respect, which comes with giving respect and gaining the accolades from positive customer retention through solid outcomes. While service providers such as us in 3rd party collections or providing an outsource service can generally be the deciding factor on revenue recognition, reduced write offs or the hand holding agents through a legal process, listening and understanding are what count in professional and personal success. Automation increases the speed of delivery but personalization and care keep a client and bring business growth.

-Matt Stachkunas, Customer Service Manager 

The Innovation Track for Subrogation

Expertise in Subrogation is not just about technology but the innovation behind experienced human capital

Subrogration outsourcing

As a business, VWi has spent the last 50 years in the subrogation space, with a deep understanding of the laws and regulations of managing subrogation cases. We are continuously working on our recruiting and finding people who are really enthusiastic about learning the nuances of subrogation. This development of the next generation of experts isn’t so easy for our clients as the people who founded the key processes are buried in a serious time crunch as they try to keep up with the day to day business. So how do you make this sector exciting for the next generation? More important, how do you share the knowledge in a meaningful way to develop the next wave of experts?

Lets start with what’s happening to the experts

A new term has emerged called, claims adjuster burnout. Cases are increasing, claims are getting more complex and the process has become increasing more complicated overtime. Add to this the growing demand of providing an excellent customer experience with a single point of contact, never ending phone calls and a full inbox. It takes an extreme professional with years of experience to manage the end-to-end process. Add to this the complication of age and experience of these industry veterans and you start to understand what will happen next in an industry desperate for the next generation of proficiency.

An evolving job market

The insurance industry has seen a major impact. As the number of claims per year starts to meet or exceed the number of premiums, the industry is thirsty for talent. In a study by the Jacobson Group and Ward Group, they found that from 2010-2015, the number of positions in the claims management area has increased year over year. As the need for more claims adjusters continues to climb, many companies are turning to temp labor, but that merely defers the problem with a lower cost solution, but seldom creates those long-term employees that are now don their way to retirement.

The need for claims adjusters continues to climb year over year.

Using innovation to engage the workforce

Challenging the incoming workforce to be innovative will be essential to keeping them engaged long term. Just as the advancement of technologies has improved our daily lives, innovation in the workplace will be key to keeping them interested and, more importantly, tap into the knowledge of the retiring experts.

As our own business grows, we work with our teams to identify those key employees that show promise in both managing the process and looking for creative ways to circumvent problems. By pulling them into conversations that focus on improving processes or identifying waste within the business, we help them grow to the next level. It also helps them see a path to a career that perhaps wasn’t previously on their radar.

Looking to the future

As the laws that govern the subrogation industry become more stringent, the future becomes more clear that competent people are necessary to foster long term growth and stability. Add to that an incoming workforce that is impulsive and fickle about their employment opportunities and you have a compounded problem. Conversely, VWi sees this as an opportunity to take the subrogation industry to a new level.

By engaging the technology minded Millennials to work with the experience of the Generation Xers and the leadership of the Baby Boomers, VWi is leveraging the key strengths of each generation of the workforce to find solutions that improves the claims management process, reduces risk and increases revenue.