Listening, Then Developing
Author: Brandon Day, CEO, Daycos, Inc.
Some companies seem to develop and launch new products and services because a new technology seems cool, or because the organization is trying to get that additional sliver of market share. We take a different approach at Daycos. We talk to our customers, listen to their problems, and then evaluate whether we have a service or technology that can solve a problem for them. Only if we don’t have a proven product to deliver, do we consider developing and launching a new product. Maybe that seems odd to some, but it has worked well for our customers and us.
This approach has held true throughout the 39-year history of the company. When the company started as “consultants” to the moving industry, we heard from carriers that their billing departments were not capturing all the revenue available. Our first product, the post- audit revenue recovery service (that we still offer to this day), helped them solve that problem by reviewing and ensuring all money that was due had been billed and collected. Revenue Recovery has been a successful product because it solves a problem for our customer without adding risk or start-up costs.
All of the subsequent products we have introduced have followed this same pattern. Customers told us about a problem, and then we have tried to find a way we can help them solve that problem. We have not been able to solve every problem our customers have had, but we have solved enough of them to bring value for almost 40 years. As we launch our next phase of growth, we seek to continue to develop innovative ways to solve- even prevent- our customers’ problems.
One clear area where challenges are faced in our industry is the agent payment process. Agents have to manage multiple compensations schedules, interfaces, and portals to submit invoices to carriers that are timely, accurate, and complete. These invoices require the baseline rating to be accurate, the correct compensation schedule applied, and submitted with all the correct information and documentation to receive timely and accurate payment. A mistake in any one of these areas leads to a delayed or incomplete payment by the carrier.
In order to manage this process, agents often work out of multiple systems, sometimes utilizing spreadsheets to track and manage comp schedules, in a very slow, manual process that increases costs and slows payment times. We know this is a problem area not only for the agent, but also for the carrier who has to manage the payment process to the agent.
A large number of inaccurate or incomplete invoices create a manual workload for the carrier in reconciliation (the difference between the agent’s invoice and the expected payment amount). To further complicate matters, agent invoices without proper documentation or complete information prevents the carrier from billing, slowing down the entire payment process for everyone.
This problem has existed for years with little improvement. After speaking to lots of agents and viewing their pain points firsthand, it was clear that Daycos had an opportunity to add value. Daycos is launching agere, an online billing platform for agents, to solve the numerous legacy issues in this space. Agere will allow agents to manage multiple compensation schedules, apply those schedules to accurate shipment ratings done by Daycos, and submit invoices and documentation to carriers, all from one web based platform. We believe agere will greatly improve the agent-carrier payment process from both sides, by using technology and Daycos expertise to remove the error prone and manual work out of the process, leading to greater efficiency and lower costs for all parties.
Agere is just the latest, real-time example of how Customer Stakeholder impacts are built into our decisions and development. The increasingly rapid changes we all face in our industry will bring challenges, complexity, and yes, problems. As we navigate this with our customers, we will continue to apply creative ways that solve more of the problems our customers face today and tomorrow.
By the way, if you read this and think, “Brandon, I wish you could solve this (insert issue here),” I encourage you to contact me. I would love to hear about your challenge, and see if there is a way the Daycos team can help you solve the problem. After all, it is what we have been doing for nearly 40 years.