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Our Thriving in Third Party interview series has highlighted all types of debt collection professionals, including attorneys, educators and agency owners. Today, we’re speaking to someone from a different corner of the ARM industry – Lex Patterson, President of collection software DAKCS Software Systems, Inc.
President at DAKCS Software Systems, Inc.
Read about the changes he has seen in the industry, how he and DAKCS have adapted, and what Patterson is looking forward to in the future.
- How long have you been at DAKCS? What led you to DAKCS?
January will mark 32 years. Prior to this, I'd been the corporate service manager for a multistate office equipment company who had shut their doors. While considering offers from several companies I came to DAKCS as a part-time revision installer in 1988. I was hired to help with installing Sting revision 1.2. One thing led to another and thankfully my career took a different path.
- What changes have you seen in the collection software industry in your career?
In 31 years a lot has changed. The industry is much different, more regulated and conducting business is much more difficult because of the litigious environment we find ourselves in.
Technology has also really changed. I watched Moore's law play out heavily through the 90s when computers were getting smaller and the capacity of the drives, memory, and processors were doubling every 1-2 years. It was amazing. It's crazy to think about it, but this was in the initial stages of the web, and we were connecting to our customers' machines using 9600 baud modems over phone lines. Things have really progressed since those days.
- How has DAKCS adapted?
We've tried to stay ahead of the curve, offering new options to leverage the technology, adding capability, new revenue streams, and lower costs. But one thing hasn't changed and that is our human touch.
In a world of chatbots and support via email or text, we still have local people with solid domain knowledge picking up the phone. We've adapted by hiring the best people, cultivating a customer-centric culture, and investing in technology ourselves.
- The DAKCS Summit is coming up in October, can you us tell what to expect and why DAKCS decided to host this type of event?
We expect 100 plus people from all over the country to attend. Our Summit is an interchange of information where we come together to discuss challenges, solve problems and build upon relationships, many of which are well over 20 years.
Oh, and we have a good time together too. The conference has also evolved. We've been hosting these events since the beginning, but we've landed on a 2-year rotation. This allows us the time to build and innovate while at the same time keeping close with our customer family.
- DAKCS has been in business a long time – since 1985. How has the company evolved?
The company has seen leadership changes, and we've endured the loss of our founder Kent, but the principles he built the company on live on. It's evolved to a more reliable platform, and we're just getting started.
- What is your proudest moment in business?
Actually there have been many. One that stands out is a call I received as Director of Technical Support some years ago. A longtime customer called in with a hardware issue that had corrupted her file system. In those days things were backed up to tape.
Once the hardware was fixed, we attempted to restore the files. Tragically every backup tape she tried failed. We continued to brainstorm. I remember calling her and saying I had a crazy idea and she said “What put a gun to my head? My business is over.”
I had the idea to work with a mail vendor whom she had outsourced her letters with to reconstruct her data. Because of the requirement to send the first notice on every new account and the fact that our vendor partner had proper archiving going back over several years, we were able to work together to piece her data back together.
It was a painstaking process but we pulled it off. I’m very happy to say that her business is still running today.
- In life?
My 39-year partnership with Deena my wife and watching our children grow and become parents and succeed on their own.
- How is DAKCS preparing to help customers transition to the CFPB’s proposed new rule once it becomes final?
We've put together a tracking sheet of all of the proposed changes and possible outcomes, and performed a gap analysis. We'll be discussing these options with our customers at the Interchange Summit and we're working with Joann Needleman of Clark Hill Law and other industry thought leaders to keep a close eye on how things unfold so we'll be ready for whatever outcome happens.
- How important do you think electronic communication will become under this new rule?
We have high hopes. The generational consumer landscape is changing and research has shown that digital communication is how most consumers want to interact. This industry has been shackled for far too long in outdated regulations.
The technology is here we just need to be able to use it. We have solutions that we know can help. We're glad that we're part of this new opportunity and have fingers crossed that we can move forward in a responsible way to keep the conversation going.
- What was the last great book you read? (Or movie or TV show you binged watched?) Why was it great?
Ryan Holiday, "Stillness is the Key." It's great because in this world of information overload, stillness and being fully present is a challenge we all face and desperately need. It's was a good reminder of this.
- What are you most looking forward to over the next year? (Professionally, personally or both)
We have some very exciting things we're working on within DAKCS. Our commitment to innovation is beginning to pay dividends and we have big plans for new and different in 2020.
Personally, I have my 6th grandchild – a grandson – due in January. I'm excited to see our family grow.
About Lex Patterson
Driven to take action and make things happen. Lex is curious by nature and loves to learn and explore new places, concepts and possibilities and then try to connect the dots.
He joined the DAKCS team in 1988 as a part-time revision installer. During his tenure, he has worked in various roles within the company before accepting the role of President in 2006. Today he works to cultivate new markets, enhance product offerings, connect with people, learn and further DAKCS' legacy of delivering great customer service. Adding value is his goal and intention in any situation.
Enjoyed the interview? Check out past editions of the series with Joann Needleman, Harry Strausser III, and Kelly Parsons-O'Brien. To get updates on future interviews and other informative articles, subscribe to our blog: