In the past, debt collection was all about performance. Recovery was the key metric for both delinquent and default accounts. Third-party debt collection service providers would tell their clients, in effect, “We’ll put on our headsets and collect your bills for you.”
Today’s consumers, however, are more informed than ever before, and that influences how they relate to creditors. In many cases, they won’t hesitate to register complaints with government agencies if they have a bad experience or question the debt. According to the CFPB, consumers registered more than 7,700 complaints about debt collection in October 2016,1 the latest month for which figures are available.
Most companies have a set of core values that drive their culture… These values set the tone for the way employees conduct themselves and treat their customers.
Oftentimes, customer complaints can be tied directly to the corporate culture of the creditor. In a healthy culture, issues are opportunities. A complaint can help the company identify problems and improve ways to communicate and process payments. Prompt, effective problem resolution can be one of the best ways to not only retain a customer but also strengthen a relationship over the long term.
Most companies have a set of core values that drive their culture, which might be stated in a mission statement or determined by senior management. These values set the tone for the way employees conduct themselves and treat their customers. Typically, companies with the least complaints are those with a culture based on core values that encourage service excellence throughout the collection process.
Here are some values and practices that can help create a positive culture:
- An environment of respect: The organization recognizes and appreciates everyone’s contributions. Management supports employees and encourages them to support each other.
- A team mentality: The company shows by its actions that management and workers are all on the same team, working toward a common goal. Management seeks to strengthen bonds by holding team events—not just off-site retreats but even things like employee birthday parties.
- A culture of collaboration: Businesses are open to new ideas and processes from employees. They keep team members informed about business activities, foster dialog, and actively listen to everyone.
- Training and education: Managers provide employees an opportunity to learn more about the business, and help them enhance their skills.
ARM doesn’t have to be a trade-off between revenue recovery and customer loyalty. A positive approach, generated by an organization with a progressive culture, treats customers in a caring and informative way that protects the customer relationship while still driving increased receivables.
— Gary Dorman, Director of Operations (@wrg_gdorman)