COMTECH SYSTEMS INC. NEWSLETTER



Happy Holidays

"Wishing you a joyous Holiday Season and a most prosperous and Healthy New Year"




December 2008

Comtech is excited to share with you some new enhancements to our software and services.


Customer
Survey

Comtech invites all of our valued clients to help us gather feedback about our CV11 software. Your thoughts and ideas are important, so we value your participation. We have a very simple survey prepared that you may find by clicking on the following link Customer Survey. Thank you for your participation and valuable feedback.


FOR MEMBERS ONLY!

NEW WIDGETS
Pick lists and control files are available for download in the Member Center Widgets area.

NEW! -- Australian States Pick List

This pick list of Australian States may be used to enable your users to easily select the correct entry for the Debtor's State field. A Readme is included with instructions for attaching the pick list to the Debtor's State field. Download Australian States Pick List.

Collect! Training Videos New Format
All Collect!'s training videos have been remixed using an attractive new format and display. You will love the new ability to switch to Full Screen Mode so the video display fits your screen. New videos will be added on an ongoing basis. Check back often! Visit Collect!'s Member Center Videos Page.

New Screenshots
Many screenshots in the Help documentation have been updated to show the latest Collect! user interface with all the menus and options currently available in CV11.

Format Time
*** TIP: Go to the Member Center and download a report snippet for formatting time using the twelve hour clock, AM and PM. Please refer to Help topic, Go to the Member Center Widgets page for details.


Sales

Strategies and Techniques
Two of our staff, Neal Cropper and Robert Rutherford, recently took part in one of the many valuable CampusACA online teleseminars, Sales: Strategies & Techniques. This course provided invaluable information in assisting Comtech Systems Inc. in our ongoing efforts to become educated in not only the industry we serve, but allowed us the opportunity to further enhance our sales toolkit. Karolyn Rubin, Senior Vice President of Bonded Collection Corporation in Chicago, IL. and President Elect of ACA International offered her experiences and expertise in a well delivered and engaging presentation. Several questions were received by the panelists following the course and Sara Blair of CampusACA and Karolyn Rubin, ACA President Elect have kindly granted us permission to reprint one of the questions and it's answer to share with our community of Collect! users.

Q: When a prospect tells me they don't need our services, I tend to just say "okay, well can I follow up with you in about 6 months". What are some suggestions to help improve my mindset?

A: When you hear "I don't need your services" from the prospect...start asking a lot questions to help you uncover the prospects needs, what they are currently doing (or not doing) etc.

The motivation to make changes/addition to their current process in place has to be greater than the resistance to change. Find what motivates the prospect by asking questions.

Questions will help uncover what services their existing agency provides (if there is one) and where you can introduce services perhaps their current agency provider does not offer...find your agency strengths and interject them every chance you get.

Also, suggest the prospect provide YOU with the time line in which to follow up. Don't predetermine the prospects time line...have them be an active participant in setting one with you.

Also ask "in the meantime, what information would you like to see to help prepare you for our next conversation (meeting, etc.)?"

The above information was referred from:
Karolyn Rubin, Senior Vice President of Bonded Collection Corporation in Chicago, IL.
President Elect of ACA International
karolyn.rubin@bccfs.com

*Reprinted with permission by Sara Blair of CampusACA and Karolyn Rubin, Senior Vice President of Bonded Collection Corporation in Chicago, IL.

For further information on CampusACA offerings please contact:

Sara Blair
Project Coordinator
Campus ACA & Events
ACA International
1(952) 928-8000 ext. 711


Features Showcase

Select Posted or Payment Date
The Operator Analysis and Transaction Analysis reports have been enhanced. When prompted to select a Date Range for transactions to be included in the report, you can now also specify Posted Date or Payment Date to use for the Date filter.

Collect! Performance Reports
You can download a group of reports to use when testing and comparing data before and after an upgrade. These reports are also shipped with the Demo database. Please refer to Help topic, Go the the Member Center Report Libraries.


Tip of the Month

Collect! Screen Display Size
Did you know that you can change the size of all Collect!'s windows with the /f option. Example: C:\CV11\bin\cv11.exe /f16 Start Collect! with 16 pt font size for display. Larger numbers display a larger font size and smaller numbers display a smaller font size. Start with /f12 and you can make it bigger if needed. Included below is a screenshot of Collect! using /f12

Please refer to Help topic, Collect! Screen Display Size, for more information.

debtor
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Support Ticket System

For a fast, efficient reply from our Member Services team, simply send an email with your question or problem to support@collectsoftware.cc. All tickets are checked regularly by our Member Services team. So please submit a ticket before you pick up the phone to call.


Collectiontechnology.net

We wanted to let everyone know about an interesting new online resource called collectiontechnology.net. This website is a simple social networking type site specific to collections. The site is produced by Royal Media Group, a media company that has served the collection industry since 1998. Join Here.


PCI DSS Compliance

Definition: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. A worldwide security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).

PCI DSS compliance is a security standard affecting millions of businesses. The standard was created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud, hacking and various other security vulnerabilities and threats. A company processing, storing, or transmitting payment card data must be PCI DSS compliant.

PCI DSS compliance has many different points that require review most relating to your internal procedures and network security. Some also relate to the software you run within your company. For instance PCI DSS requirement 6.1 states - Ensure that all system components and software have the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed. Install critical security patches within one month of release.

So make sure you are up to date with all of your software vendors such as your ARM software, OS, Firewall, Anti-Virus, etc, etc...

The control objectives and their basic requirements are:

*Build and Maintain a Secure Network
        *Requirement 1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
        *Requirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security           parameters

*Protect Cardholder Data
        *Requirement 3: Protect stored cardholder data
        *Requirement 4: Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks

*Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
        *Requirement 5: Use and regularly update anti-virus software
        *Requirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
*Implement Strong Access Control Measures
        *Requirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
        *Requirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
        *Requirement 9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data

*Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
        *Requirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
        *Requirement 11: Regularly test security systems and processes
        *Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security

*Maintain an Information Security Policy
        *Requirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security

For more information on PCI DSS compliance see:
PCI DSS Documentation - PCI Standards.org

Wikipedia Article on PCI DSS - Wikipedia.org


CBSC releases important book for ARM industry

One of our partners CBSC (Credit Bureau Strategy Consulting) has released a fantastic book on Credit Bureau Reporting 101 for the Debt Buyer and the Collections Agency.

Jennifer has written a very comprehensive and well laid out book on Data Accuracy, Integrity and Supplemental Reporting Guidelines also Regulatory Audit Requirements for Collections Industry Reporting. This book takes a dry topic and makes it informative and engaging to read and the value it brings to your business is tremendous.

If you report to the credit bureaus this is an invaluable tool and should certainly be in your arsenal of knowledge. Disputes, complaints and litigation often leave Agencies and Debt Buyers stumped. In most cases, seeking guidance from the Credit Bureaus will result in your credit bureau contacts simply quoting the Metro 2 manual back to you. So how do you figure out what you are doing wrong? Read this book and you will have your answers.

Remember FACT Act section 312 will require that all data furnishers be able to prove "reasonable procedures" are in place to evaluate "data accuracy and integrity." To date, very few data furnishers have any evaluation processes in place to review the account data they report prior to delivery to the credit bureaus or after the consumer's trade line has been posted to the bureau.

This book provides guidance for data furnishers that are new to credit bureau reporting or have had little hands on involvement in their reporting processes in the past. This manual is not intended to replace the Metro 2 instructions found within the Credit Reporting Resource Guide (© 2008 Consumer Data Industry Association) or e-Oscar training. Rather, it has been developed to provide supplemental guidance in tying both the Metro 2 instructions and e-Oscar processes together with day-to-day operational practices.

Get it now at CBS Strategy Consult


Electronic Payment Providers

Safeguarding Your Business and your Financial Transactions
PCI Compliance was developed by the major credit card issuing companies (such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express) as a guideline to protect personal information and ensure security when transactions are processed using a payment card. All members of the payment card industry (financial institutions, credit card companies and merchants) must comply with these standards in order to accept credit cards. Failure to do so can result in fines from credit card companies and banks, or even the loss of the ability to process credit cards altogether.

Within the guidelines for compliance is the PCI DSS (Data Security Standards) group of principles, which is organized around the following criteria:

1. Build and Maintain a Secure Network
2. Protect Cardholder Data
3. Maintain Vulnerability Management
4. Implement Strong Access Control
5. Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
6. Maintain an Information Security Policy

Whether your business involves a small number of card transactions monthly or high volumes daily, the following four steps provide a general understanding of PCI compliant actions that should always be practiced:

1. Collect only data that is needed for a transaction or order;
2. Store only that customer card data that does not violate the requirements stated very specifically      in the PCI standard;
3. Make sure that all customer card data is stored securely;
4. Make sure that card data is securely transmitted from a customer to a merchant via the      merchant payment gateway.

To alleviate some of the workload associated with your companies IT security it is a wise decision if partnering with a payment to ensure that they too operating best practices such as PCI Compliance. Maintaining PCI compliant action steps for your organization is not only a best practice to safeguard your clients' personal information; it is also a highly regarded industry standard that dignifies the reputation of business. Electronic Payment Providers and the Express Payment Suite maintain PCI compliance and adhere to the strictest security standards available so that your business can eliminate the need to achieve PCI compliance. By handling all of your security needs, EPP ensures that you can focus on your business and leave payment security to us. Electronic Payment Providers (EPP) partners with providers such as Collect! within your market and offers a suite of powerful integrated payment solutions for both ACH and Card payments.

For a free evaluation of your current practices or for a quote on establishing a multi-channel payment strategy, please contact EPP at (877) 377-2677 or visit our web site at http://www.expresspayments.com.

EPP logo
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Credit & Collections

The Economy and How to Deal
If you're like most of us you have customers that are having trouble paying you because of the economic crisis. I spoke to business owners from across the world to find out what people, just like you, are doing to deal with this situation.

One woman who is in the process of starting a personal grocery shopping business is working on persuading people to try her business based on the comparison of high gas prices and having to take small children out to the grocery store with them. Saving them money and headaches.

Another business owner who sells bath and body products claims to have only had a temporary drop in sales. She claims people need their products and will find a way to justify the cost versus smelling badly or getting dry and itchy skin. She claims for the customers that she has already converted to be her customers they will come back no matter what the cost if the alternative is the ?stuff? they sell in the grocery store.

Another service business is reassessing credit limits and keeping tabs on their receivables. They are now providing options to their past due customers to help themselves get paid and help their customer through this tough time.

One business owner in the Netherlands is not involved in the economic crisis like we are in the USA but had some great insights. When she has a customer that suddenly is having trouble paying her, she first tried to find out if the customer is in temporary trouble or if the situation is more serious. If you have a question, run a D & B query or check credit references again. She also keeps strict payment plans and some times then requires pre payment for future work.

Some tips to help you deal with the economic crisis;

* Keep an eye on your accounts receivables and credit limits.
* Send invoices upon completion of work ? don?t wait 30 days.
* Offer more payment options.
* Make collection calls only to someone with authority, not an assistant or clerk.
* Be persistent and follow up.
* Hold orders until balances have been paid.
* Communicate!
* Step up your marketing efforts.

Remember that you are not alone and you can do things to make it through these tough times.

A 20 year Debt collection industry veteran, columnist, award winning author, one of the Top 5 Women in Collections and one of the Top 50 most influential collection professionals of 2007, Michelle Dunn is the founder of her 10 year old Credit & Collections Association, the author of 7 books and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to writing and marketing her books, Michelle is a published columnist, an Editorial Advisor for "Collector Mentor" magazine and shares valuable credit & debt information with business owners on her blog http://www.Credit-and-Collections.com/blog

MichelleDunn logo


Contact Information

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The sender of this email is the Collect! Software Team at Comtech Systems Inc., #107 - 859 Orono Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, V9B 2T9. (c) 2008 Comtech Systems Inc. All rights reserved. The Collect! Software System is a product of Comtech Systems Inc.