Recently, our company celebrated our 18th year in business. As a result, I received over 50 congratulatory notes from various clients and colleagues. At first, I gave it little attention because in my business, it’s one day at a time and you are only as good as yesterday’s results. My wife and I have owned two companies in the debt collection business over 30 years. The first NCMC was founded in 1986 and went public in 1997. The second, Access Receivables was formed in 1999. When we formed Access in 1999, our goal was to create something really unique. We believed that the “WORLD WIDE WEB” (ha-ha) would actually amount to something someday and we set out to design a company that would provide online access to delinquent customers for self-resolution and also online access to clients for up to the minute client service. It is important to note, that in 1999, there was no linkedin, no youtube, no facebook, no twitter and no smartphones and 2400 baud modems. Only 40% of Americans had a computer in their home and even fewer businesses had PC’s on the desktop. Does anyone remember “Y2K?” If you don’t – google it! Y2K was the fear that permeated IT departments prior to the turn of the century. Major companies still ran their businesses on mainframes and no one knew what would happen when the clock struck mid-night.
As a result, many of those companies made the investment into distributed networks and started a revolution which would change the course of our technological history over time. In fact, I believe that Y2K was the single largest reason that PC’s came of age. People bought one for the house after they learned to use them at work. Fast forward to today, 18 years later. WOW! The advancements in technology and how it has changed our lives. In our business, we offer Zoey. She is a intelligent virtual representative that offers a kinder and faster way of resolving a difficult and embarrassing problem. Our business model has changed so much over the last 18 years but in a way it has remained the same. Provide fast access and exceptional service to delinquent customers and clients alike. My wife and I are so proud of our team at Access and the 300 plus clients we serve throughout the country every day. We are grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to see what the next 18 years will bring. So, what changed over the last 18 years was the ways in which technology helps us to deliver the best service possible. The goal has always remained the same. For those of you who grew up in the 70’s an anecdote; When I was 14 years old, my best friends’ father worked for Texas Instruments. One day we were playing football and he came home and called us boys over to his car. He said, “Hey boys, check out this new watch!” We looked at the warm glow of the red numbers blinking on the digital watch he was wearing. “My team is developing this new watch”, he said. “It will be a big hit”. “How much is it”, I asked? “Right now, it’s about $5,000, but the price will come down once we can get it into mass production”, he added. Within 4 years, you could buy a digital watch at the 7-eleven for 10 bucks. Wow! Happy Holidays