We were greeted by jars of homemade maple syrup, stuffed bears (some toy, some dead), and every book ever written about the Pine Tree State. That hotel lobby would be Info-Pro Lender Services Inc.’s first taste of Maine’s unique culture. The Black Bear Inn in Orono recently hosted the Maine Municipal Tax Collectors’ and Treasurers’ Association (MMTCTA) Annual Conference. As my coworker and I discovered, Wisconsin and Maine are not so different outside of geography, and that interpersonal understanding forms the backbone of the relationships upon which we pride ourselves here at Info-Pro. From giving us advice on favorite restaurants in beautiful Bangor to explaining how to harvest and cook the regional delicacy known as fiddleheads, Maine’s tax agency officials were kind and welcoming to us at every turn. By the time our return flight lifted off from Portland International Jetport’s runway, we had made significant inroads into helping our lenders by getting to know those friendly treasurers.
Info-Pro prides itself on being a customer-driven business. We view our customers as partners and actively seek feedback and make decisions with the customer in mind. While our true customers are banks and credit unions, we also interact on a daily basis with tax agency officials across the country. By attending conferences like the MMTCTA, we build personal relationships with those officials and pave the way for smooth business interactions down the road. I have lost count of the number of conference conversations that have included lines such as, “If I can help you with tax information, please give me a call. It’s so nice to talk to down-to-earth people!” This isn’t an act, it’s just who we are.
In addition to creating a positive first impression for the tax agency officials, we also try to figure out how we can assist them and relieve their frustrations. So much of our focus is on servicing our lenders, but the tax agencies play a key role too. We serve as the go-between in the truest sense – assisting our lenders with tax payments, delinquency notifications, and more. By understanding treasurers’ pain points, we can adjust our process to get the information we need while assisting them. For example, a treasurer might get deluged with calls from lenders right after tax bills are mailed. By attending a conference and speaking with that treasurer, we learn that she prefers us to mail a list of parcel numbers a week in advance. She will take our list, fill in amounts, and fax us back within a day. That scenario is just one illustration of how attending tax agency conferences can create efficiency and reduce headaches for our lenders.