If InDebted is taking the traditional model of debt collection and throwing it out the window, then Dave Aglira is the man who has been tasked with driving that vision, molding the company’s focus on customers and digital collections to an industry that has long been reluctant to utilize such tools.
The company recently hired Aglira as its Head of Customer Engagement. InDebted made its entry into the country last year when it purchased Delta Outsource Group, a collection agency based in St. Louis, Mo. Aglira, a two-decade veteran of the accounts receivable management industry, said the opportunity to work at a company as committed as InDebted is to reshaping how debts are collected, as well as the people he would be working with, made the decision to join the company an easy one. Even his title — emphasizing customer engagement over a more traditional title like Director of Operations — is an indication of how InDebted wants to treat customers and debts to be collected.
While his experience in the industry played a large part in the decision to hire Aglira, he said that the marching orders he received from John Watson, the President and Chief Executive of InDebted USA, surprised him.
“He said, ‘I know how long you’ve been in the business, but you need to forget everything you’ve ever learned,’ ” Aglira said.
Not only was Aglira told to forget what he had learned, but for the customer service representatives who were part of Delta and are now part of InDebted, they, too had to forget much of what they had been trained. Traditional collectors are used to “pounding the phones all day,” Aglira said. “The InDebted model is if somebody wants to pay at 3am off of a text message on their phone, or, you know, nine o’clock at night from an email then that’s what we want. If they need to speak to an agent because they can’t figure something out, that’s when we come in.”
Forgetting how business has been done is a key driver for InDebted, Aglira said. “In our industry we’ve been so nervous to try and do anything new, and InDebted is just taking that mentality and like throwing it out the window saying, ‘We’re gonna do it,’ ” Aglira said. “If we find that does not work, we’ll adjust based on the data and results and try again.”
One of Aglira’s top priorities is getting the company’s four-day work week implemented in its U.S. operations, which it started to roll out January 1. Yes, you read that right, a four-day work week of 32 hours while paying for 40 hours. Happy employees treat customers better and happy customers pay more. Now that sounds like a recipe for success.