Q&A With Rick Bonitzer

There is a lot for Rick Bonitzer to be excited about these days. His recently rebranded company — PayCourt (more on that in a minute) — was recently awarded a Torch Award by the Better Business Bureau. The company is one of only a few in the accounts receivable management industry to ever win such a prestigious award. At the same time, Bonitzer launched a rebranding of his company, Credit Collection Partners, changing the name to PayCourt. Mike Gibb of AccountsRecovery.net exchanged a series of emails with Bonitzer about the two big events.

Mike Gibb: Congratulations on the Torch Award and the new re-branding that you have launched. This must be an exciting time for you. What are you most excited about?

Rick Bonitzer: I’m most excited for the positive light this casts on our industry. Despite really great efforts by many of my peers, the effort to change perceived stigma from a macro standpoint is slow moving. Awards like this help.

Mike Gibb: You mention in the video that maybe a few other agencies around the country have ever managed to win this award. Why do you think you were selected? 

Rick Bonitzer: Well we leverage the BBB a lot with our customer feedback strategy so we knew about the award. I threw our hat in the ring but it’s a panel of previous Torch Award winners that vote for the winners, NOT the BBB. I think we were ultimately selected because of how historically uncommon it is for a collection agency to be nominated for this award. Couple that with our power-usage of their rating system and I think it was a slam dunk.

Mike Gibb: You also mention your ratings from the BBB and Google in the video. How important are those to you and your company? How do you cultivate those ratings? 

Rick Bonitzer: Yes, they are VERY important. I’d like to give a quick shot out to my friend Tim Collins at Indebted and Jeff DiMatteo at American Profit Recovery for both understanding the importance of harnessing these positive reviews. With so many scams out there, it’s more important than ever to illustrate with a quick google search that your company IS NOT a scam and to go one step further, that you’re great to work with. This is the bedrock of our new consumer-centric online persona. We make it super easy for agents to text/email the BBB Review link and/or Google Review link to folks we interact with. It’s got to be frictionless for the agent and frictionless for the consumer. Everyone should be doing this.

Mike Gibb: Let’s shift gears and talk about the re-brand. Why did you make the decision to change your name? 

Rick Bonitzer: So I had the first inkling to rebrand in 2019 simply because Credit Collection Partners just wasn’t an accurate reflection of our niche industry. We’re primarily in the government/court-fine business, there is no “extension of credit” on the accounts we manage. It just wasn’t applicable anymore. Now comes the COVID-19 pandemic and routine references to the Chinese Communist Party. What’s their acronym again? Oh yeah, CCP. It was just the right time to jump start the transition. We started a task force in March of 2021 consisting of my executive management team, multiple attorney firms, industry consultants, client committees, and the marketing geniuses at Branding Arc. The experience took substantially longer than I expected by the actual rollout and go-live was surprisingly smooth. We’re grateful to all of those who had a hand in this project.

Mike Gibb: What was it about PayCourt that gave you that “Eureka” moment that you had found the new name for your business?

Rick Bonitzer: It was 6/21/21 we were exhibiting at an Illinois Circuit Court Clerk conference and kicking around options with our clients. It was actually one of our clients that put the idea on the table! We all loved it immediately.

Mike Gibb: How cool is it that it was one of your clients that gave you the name! I hope they are getting a discount. 🙂 What was the most difficult part of the process? What was the most important lesson you learned during the rebranding?  

Rick Bonitzer: The most difficult part of the process was really getting my hands around the true scope of the project. Spreadsheets of goals & action items helped. The most important thing I learned is that you must have complete and total buy-in from your clients and executive management team for the rollout to be successful.

Mike Gibb: Can you give an example of how important it is to have that buy-in? 

Rick Bonitzer: If you don’t have buy in from a department head, negativity can start brewing, and negativity as we know spreads like wild fire.

Mike Gibb: With respect to the new name, what are you most excited about? What opportunities does it open up for you? 

Rick Bonitzer: We’re excited to impress upon the government community that we are market leaders in this particular niche and that we specialize exclusively in court fine collections.

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