As you probably already know, I am a big proponent of continuing education, which is why I attended the CreditScape – Western Region Credit Conference, held at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas last month. As someone who has participated in many seminars and events, this was one of the better programs I’ve attended. I was impressed with the many first-time attendees attending. I thought the conference overall was excellent. The speakers and topics were varied and well presented. I learned about a lot, I met many new people and was able to connect with others who I had lost touch with. There were so many different topics and I would like to share my thoughts on a few of the sessions I attended and look forward to your feedback and comments.
The Opening Keynote Speaker this year was Steve Zipkoff. He energetically shared with us how to deliver customer delight in many aspects of our professional and personal lives. I now know the 6 tools that I started implementing right away. The one that hits home the most is to be a “fixer” not a finger pointer. We all should be looking for solutions to resolve the cause and change it verses putting a band aid on the problem. You can either fix the issue the right way or you will be fixing it again and again. It is important to practice continuous improvement and be able to adapt quickly. Steve expressed to everyone to behave like you own the business which is something I’ve believed for a long time.
I attended Rudet Fountain’s session on the changes in payment processing. Does everyone understand how electronic payments are processed and what is changing? If you attended this session, you would now. B2B payment processes continue to change and improve but at what cost to your company? How are banks standardizing communication formats so that data can be transmitted more easily? What about credit card payments, I know my company gets requests daily to use a credit card to pay but are we ensuring our fee structure is the best it can be? Is our processing at a Level 3 standard which could save my company a lot of money? What about the new chip we are starting to see on credit cards – anyone know what that is for? It is for fraud protection; which there are new rules for that and those need to be in place by Oct 2015. Boy, lots to think about just from this session alone.
The Credit View was a fun session filed with excellent pointers and insight to other credit professionals’ struggles and achievements. The panelist shared with the attendees how they broke into the credit field, how they work with the sales team and how they integrate with upper management. The session was a takeoff from the TV show “The View”. There was some banter and good opinions shared. I was particularly impressed with the ladies on this panel, excellent role models for women in the credit profession, definitely making sure I am connected with all through LinkedIn or Facebook !
The Closing Speaker was one of my favorites, I am sure that cannot be said about many other economists but Chris Kuehl has a great way to share information and keep it light hearted and entertaining. Chris is NACM’s chief economist and especially enjoys presenting to credit managers across the US. Have you completed the Credit Manager’s Index with NACM, if you have, Chris is the one who is analyzing the data and telling other economy professionals what is happening in the business world. He let us know that during an election year, things will be crazy that the economy has not taken off as well as everyone had hoped and an “Ebola czar” is not really needed. Chris publishes a regular brief on changes and updates to the economy, I am definitely getting on his email list.
Overall, the WRCC was a great opportunity to learn. There was also great network events too, “Fly Me to the Moon” was well attended and a super fun dance night! I really encourage all credit professionals to mark their calendar and not miss the next conference, you will not be disappointed. For those who haven’t seen them, photos from the event have been posted on CMA’s Facebook page.
I truly hope that the first-time attendees this year return for years to come and that training stays a key attribute for all credit professionals. What about you, did you attend (or wish you had attended)? Please post your comments and insight below.
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or firstname.lastname@example.org