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How to ensure your Debt Collection Agency is Customer Centric

Not so long ago you would have been hard pushed to find the words debt collection agency and customer centricity in the same sentence. Put simply, customer centricity is placing the customer at the centre of everything you do, having them in focus at all times.

Customer Centricity for us in the collections business is twofold as it applies not just to our clients but to their customers, the end users of our service. With so many major brands embracing customer centricity, it is increasingly important for collection agencies to adopt a customer centric approach themselves. Often viewed as an extension of the clients’ organisation, it is important that the values and approaches of collection agencies are closely aligned to them.

Interestingly, adopting a customer centric approach has consistently been shown to increase collections, creating a win/win or rather a win/win/win for the client, their customer, and the agency. A collection call doesn’t have to be viewed as a battle where either the customer or collector are victorious but rather a customer centric interaction where you can assist the customer to clear their debt and improve their cash flow, whilst also increasing collections for the client. It is a shift in mindset and culture and most collection agencies now will refer to the ‘customer’ as opposed to the ‘debtor’ which can have negative connotations. This all ties in with agents keeping an open mind; you are not ‘collecting from a debtor’ but ‘assisting a customer’. This approach is a lot more positive, and as such, has a higher chance of a better outcome for all parties.

So, for an debt collection partner that can mirror your customer centric approach, how do you assess how customer centric a collection agency is?

7 Questions to help you assess how customer centric your debt collection agency is:

1. Do they facilitate call calibration sessions where both parties can score calls according to predetermined requirements?
2. Instead of focussing only on dollars collected, are there also KPI’s in place for quality conversations and assistance and support for customers?
3. Do they have a dedicated and specialised hardship division that are trained to assist with vulnerable customers?
4. Can they provide a range of digital solutions to engage your customer including customer self-serve options, smartphone friendly solutions, Interactive SMS/IVR services, chat solutions?
5. Are they socially responsible? Do they give back to the community?
6. Do they listen properly to your needs and tailor services specifically?
7. Are they well regarded in the industry? What is the feedback from clients, their customers (end users) and staff? Don’t overlook staff retention, how a company treats its staff is a great indicator of the human element. If staff are happy, then your customers will receive a better service.

Ultimately, the modern day collections team, whether internal or external, needs to help customers better manage their money and clear their debt; better inform customers about their existing debt; assist customers to resolve outstanding account issues, and strive to improve overall value for customers to ensure repeat business and long standing mutually beneficial relationships. Nail this, and it will increase cash flow for your business as well as clearing debt and freeing up cash flow for your customers, creating peace of mind and encouraging brand loyalty.

Bottom line, if you and your debt collection agency don’t look after your customers, someone else will!

Find out more about customer centric collections services – go to ‘outsourced collections’ page

 

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