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Getting to Know Alan Clayton of Frost-Arnett

I am thrilled to announce that the “Getting to Know” series is now being sponsored by TCN. TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as SMS, email, predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations while adhering to callers requests. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. TCN serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.

While he may have been unable to hit a curve ball at one time, Alan Clayton definitely has learned to handle all the twists and turns that the accounts receivable management industry can throw at someone. Alan, the chief operating officer at Frost-Arnett Company, likes to get into the office early, loves “Star Wars”, and long walks on the beach. Read on to learn more about him and what he would do if he could go back in time and start his career all over again.

Name: Alan Clayton
Company: Frost-Arnett Company
Length of time at current position: Four years
Length of time in industry: I have been in the ARM industry for the past 4 years. I have been in the healthcare/customer service/collection industry my entire 30 year career spanning the credit card, insurance, healthcare, and insurance industries. In all cases, the goal has been to deliver great communications to consumers while helping them resolve their accounts aka collecting money.

How did you get your start in the industry?
Definitely by accident. I had planned to become the second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, once the curve balls started really spinning, that dream ended. So, too many years ago, shortly after I graduated from Indiana State University, the newly formed credit card division of the Limited hired several college graduates to see if they could become telephone collectors and then ultimately future leaders within their organization. That was back in the day when smoking was allowed in the office (and I don’t smoke), autodialers were a few years away, and we manually dialed the phone. After a few months of working harder than the other experienced collectors, Candice Roberts and Bruce Turkett gave me my first break, they recognized a little bit of talent in a very unpolished, yet driven person.

What is your career highlight so far?
Being COO of Frost-Arnett would be the #1 highlight so far. Working with a company to put a call center onto the island of St. Lucia would be a close second. Ask me about it over a beer sometime for some good conversation. Coaching my kids soccer teams for many years would also be well up the list.

When or how are you most productive?
I am usually in the office by 6am each day and find that first couple of hours to be the most productive. The quiet time driving into the office in the morning is usually when my mind finds the best solutions.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
I often say that our phone staff have the absolute hardest job in our company. They are talking to people about their finances all day long, trying to comply with all the rules and regulations and call guidelines while also trying to collect money. So, hats off to everyone on the phone!

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I don’t know that I do anything better than everyone else. I am continually challenging myself and questioning myself as to whether I am “doing this” the right way.

What do you like most about this industry?
There is never a dull day. There is always something new to learn, someone new to meet, new technology to implement or investigate, new legislation or rules to digest. Having said that, the thing I like best about this industry is the variety of colorful characters that I am privileged to work with, internally and externally. The more I get to know people, the more impressed I am with most of them.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I would really like the industry to be able to catch up to today’s technology. Email and texting should be allowed. Common file formats for our clients to use when sending and receiving placement files, payment files etc would be high on that list as well.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would like to think I would be finishing that great American novel that has been languishing the last couple of years. If I was to go back and start all over, knowing what I know now, I would be an orthodontist. I would set up a practice across the street from a middle school and would then start making big bucks.

Describe a typical work day.
I am usually in the office by 6am. First meetings with direct reports start some days as early as 7am, working through all the goals and projects that are on the plate. We typically are working through a number of varying initiatives with our team and with our various vendors. There really isn’t a typical day. Every day brings its own different challenges which I enjoy very much. I touch base via video chat daily or in person with as many of my direct reports as possible across our three locations.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Yelling at the TV when my Kentucky Wildcats basketball team is playing hoops and walking the beaches of Gulf Shores on vacation. Oh, and “Star Wars”. One time, when the kids were much younger, we started on New Year’s Eve at noon with the first of what was then just six “Star Wars” movies. We spent that entire New Year’s Eve junk fooding and watching six “Star Wars” movies. We finished the last one just in time to watch the ball drop on TV. Happy exhausted kids!

The Getting to Know Series is Sponsored By:

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Perfect is the enemy of good. Keep making improvements no matter how small they may seem at the time. Everything we do can be improved, even if you just tweaked it recently.

What are you currently reading?
Growth Mindset for work. “The Reckoning” by John Grisham at home

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
My philosophy is that I work for my team and their success is my success.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Therese Yakel, Jim Lynch, Joann Needleman.

I am thrilled to announce that the “Getting to Know” series is now being sponsored by TCN. TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as SMS, email, predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations while adhering to callers requests. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. TCN serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.

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