Running a successful collection agency is a challenge, and it’s not for everyone. Developing and implementing an effective strategy requires multiple layers of consideration and continual revision. Executives must attend to the administrative and personnel needs of a small business in addition to steadfastly attending to multiple stakeholder perspectives at once including consumers, clients, and regulators. Here are a few strategies that help pave the way for consistent collections success.
Be What You Want to Attract
As with any small to mid-sized business, it’s largely the team that drives success. Hiring for fit and compatibility can go a long way. That being said, the leadership culture is a big factor in attracting the right people, molding new hires, and retaining as stable a team as possible. In addition to efficient strategy, quality service is a driving factor in the trajectory of a collection agency’s success. Look for soft skills and character as well as organizational skills and personality fit. Humility and receptiveness to training are also invaluable, as respect for consumers and knowledge competency are crucial in providing quality customer service.
“One of our most valuable assets is absolutely our team. We’re proud of the positive feedback we receive from consumers but we realize this isn’t something that can happen without such strong customer service representatives. We’re very fortunate to have an excellent team that’s stuck with us over time. Hopefully, that’s at least partly because of something we’ve done! We really try to make a point of showing our appreciation in concrete ways and creating a positive environment to grow personally and professionally,” shares Mike Lesher, COO of Central Portfolio Control.
Equip & Empower Your Team
Once you’ve built your team, equip and value them as best you can. No one is perfect and no one arrives “ready-made;” even quality potential needs solid training and leadership to reach quality performance. Set and communicate clear goals and expectations, celebrate successes, and gradually empower employees with increased responsibility and accompanying rewards. Provide consistent communication across the organization as well as behavioral mentors and models to help set the framework for the cultural values, increased autonomy, and customer service mindset you desire from employees.
Set aside time for “dry runs” and mock phone calls for practice, provide feedback, and make it interesting! Training, feedback, and modeling should be an ongoing source of learning opportunity, team-building, and improvement— not just a one-time or initial onboarding occurrence. The routine investment of direct assistance sets the stage for greater independence and autonomy because it ensures everyone is on the same page and addresses new questions and challenges as they arise from real-life experience.
Clarify Vision & Build Buy-In
Define core values and vision for your company and make them well-known throughout the company. Make sure your team has a solid foundation of understanding about where your company fits in the business landscape, goals for the future, and what it takes to get where you want to go. Each team member should have a solid understanding of their specific “seat on the bus” and the specific value their roles provide in collaboratively “rolling the bus forward.” Things flow a lot more smoothly when everyone is attempting to head in the same direction with the same sense of mission rather than pulling against each other.
Buy-in requires authenticity and genuine regard for each team member. It requires something worth working for and a mission greater than oneself. Make the time to serve as a team, play as a team, and celebrate achievements as a team. A little grease on the wheels is well worth the investment for the reciprocal benefits to employees and the company gained by long-term retention of quality service representatives. Satisfied employees beget satisfied customers beget satisfied clients and regulatory success. After all, we all want our work to matter. Empower your company and your team— including yourself— to make a real difference, and reap the rewards of lasting satisfaction.
For more ideas, articles, and webinars about improving the employee and customer experience, visit customerthink.com and customercontactweekdigital.com.
Central Portfolio Control (CPC) has been fortunate to experience over two decades of growth, continually learning and refining how best to serve employees and customers. We will always have areas for improvement, but we hope these tips help to generate ideas and conversation points for newer agencies or agencies seeking to reinvent or re-imagine the status quo.
To learn more about CPC’s commitment to charities and growing our Accounts Receivables Management (ARM) community, visit our website’s newsreel and be sure to follow Central Portfolio Control on social media for any updates on what events CPC will be at in the future.
About Central Portfolio Control, Inc.
Headquartered in Minnetonka, MN, Central Portfolio Control, Inc. is a full-service and nationally licensed collection agency focused on the recovery of distressed accounts receivable. Since being founded in 1998, the CPC team has continued to grow the company providing top quality services to our clients and jobs to our local community.