MY LESSONS LEARNED AS A COLLECTIONS AGENT.
By Carissa Robb
You can look at millions of data points to understand one consumer, but if you can’t make the connection, you’ve missed the point.
I spent the first part of my banking career collecting payments. I viewed it very much like a sales role. My job was to figure out where the customer was coming from, and sell them on choosing me as the one person they’d pay that month.
To become that one person, I needed to do a couple of things in between the regulatory disclosures and scripted questions: relate, and earn their trust.
With the advancement of omni-channel communication and payment strategies in the collections industry, making a connection (and I don’t mean just a right party contact), is a challenge.
The art of collections has become a science.
Predictive dialing technology is now a baseline requirement to enable collection shops to maximize calls per hour and make it through the hundreds of thousands of outbound calls. The screen pops up with the next transaction in line and the checklist of scripted questions starts to roll. End call. Code call. Rinse and repeat.
Your entire conversation is simplified to a single reason, the sole purpose of which is to systematically throw you back into the spin cycle. The autodialer makes a connect- the collector has about 3 seconds to spin through notes, verify ID and waste everyone’s time.
It’s not a sales process anymore. And it’s certainly not personal; because personal is expensive. We’ve invited the consumer to meet us on our turf. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
As we enter into extremely complex times for understanding financial distress, challenge your strategy. Is there a human at the center of its design? Because there’s definitely one at the other end of your calling campaign, and they need you.
There will be outliers that don’t fit into the box. There will be hardships that will not change between calls. Most importantly, there will be a need to step back and explain the problem, strategy and solution simply.
It doesn’t start with an API or complex data file. It starts with a statement, an intention, to truly help. It moves beyond checking the box and monitoring widgets and focuses on doing good work- not just “the work.”
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