Cornerstone Billing and A.R.M. Solutions announced a strategic alliance to enhance the receivables management process for Cornerstone’s customers. This solution combines first-party collections services through Cornerstone’s online billing platform with the clout of a third-party collections company, A.R.M. Solutions.
The goals of the alliance are to minimize account delinquencies, maximize recovery of amounts due, and retain the customer relationship before those receivables become bad debt.
Cornerstone offers reliable, affordable billing services and solutions to security dealers nationwide, making account management better, faster and easier. Services include recurring billing, payment processing, an online payment portal, 24/7 system access, 800 number support and training, In 2009, Cornerstone introduced Billing Plus receivables management, first-party collections support for their online customers. Billing Plus provides a series of calls and letters, beginning when subscriber accounts first become past due, to minimize the number of past-due accounts. The phone call and letter process is designed to provide persistent, “fair but firm” follow up to get slow payers to stay current.
A.R.M. Solutions specializes in the alarm industry and offers both a flat fee and a contingency collection program to promote client retention and retrain the slow paying customer base. A.R.M. understands the cost of gaining new customers versus keeping the existing ones. “Our Flat Fee collection service is very cost effective, the fee is the same no matter the size of the balance,” commented Brad Jadwin, A.R.M.’s President. “More important, each account receives the same consistent treatment, unlike a traditional agency that focuses on the higher-balance amounts,” Jadwin said.
“Our ALARM software is now integrated with A.R.M.’s system, so there’s a seamless hand off when accounts move from our first-party service to their third-party services,” explained Scott MacDougal, Cornerstone’s President. “While our service is often effective, inevitably some customers fail to respond. The dealer can then decide when to disconnect an account due to non-payment. If the dealer has also opted to sign on for A.R.M.’s Flat Fee collection service, the letter requesting ‘immediate payment or service disconnection’ is sent from A.R.M. rather than from the dealer. We’ve found that this letter often prompts subscribers to pay, because the letter is from a collection agency…they realize the alarm dealer is serious,” MacDougal said. For those subscribers who are cancelled for non-payment, A.R.M. Solutions has an additional 42-day process of letters and calls that try to get the customer to pay and reconnect their service.
Cornerstone’s recent update of its ALARM software (version 31) features a Billing Plus module that allows for easy review and management of account aging. “The screen is like an interactive aging report where accounts are listed based upon aging criteria,” commented Jody Schuhart, Vice President at Cornerstone. “There are built in features to track call and letter activities and set clear next steps, like A.R.M. Placements by date,” she said. For those customers that use A.R.M. Solutions for their third-party collection activity, the module includes the ability to upload subscriber information directly to A.R.M.’s FTP site, and then receivable and payment information is updated daily to A.R.M.’s system.
“No dealer wants to lose a customer, but dealers have to balance what is owed and what their costs are, with the likelihood of receiving payment for services,” Schuhart commented. “The winning combination we offer is persistent first-party dunning work to minimize slow pays, supported by an equally persistent collection agency that can report delinquent accounts to credit agencies–thus maximizing collections from the tougher, non-pay subscriber accounts.“
For further information on Cornerstone’s alarm billing services, call 888.629.8101 x 2 or visit www.alarmbills.com.
For further information on A.R.M. Solutions, call 888-772-6468 or visit www.armsolutions.com.