September 5, 2013 by Lisa Brammer
Reputation is important. I know it and you know it. It’s important in both our professional and personal lives.
There was a time, back in the day, when you could keep your private life private, but with social media and other evolving information outlets the world is an open book.
Have you ever had an embarrassing visit to Facebook where on your news feed you found that some “well-intentioned” friend posted a less than flattering picture of themselves with you, let’s say, at a party and what immediately came to mind was Ricky Ricardo saying, “Lucy, you have some ‘splaining to do”?
Sometimes these things blow over with a few laughs and other times they wreak havoc and have far reaching consequences.
Remember when Mom said you would be judged by the company you keep and how the reputation of your friends would rub off on you? Same goes with business relationships.
Okay, so you’ve decided that your accounts receivable are getting out of control and even though you know you need help you also have concerns about partnering with a third party collection agency.
That’s understandable. You’ve worked hard to protect your brand and the last thing you need is for some other organization to mess up what you’ve spent so much time, money, and energy to protect.
So, how exactly can you protect your brand’s image and ensure a positive customer experience all while increasing your collection of bad debt?
There are 4 important parts to a successful collection process that will ensure your company’s image. When choosing a third party collection agency be sure to ask about how they handle the following: training, compliance, quality assurance, and customer experience.
Number 1- Training
Right now, I’m talking specifically about training for the collectors. I don’t think I can overstate how important this training is! They are the front-line of the collection agency and your customers will be talking and working directly with them. How your customers feel about these collection efforts will, in part, determine how they feel about you, the creditor. Your third party collection agency should have extensive training for their collectors by an accredited program. It’s also important to note that not everyone is cut out to be a successful collector and a good agency will have a screening process in place to ensure an applicant’s personality matches the requirements of the position.
Number 2 – Compliance
Third party debt collection is an extremely regulated field. There are many rules and regulations in place and strict adherence to all laws, privacy, and ethical standards is imperative. The collection agency you chose should be up-to-date on the latest regulations and take compliance extremely seriously. Compliance training for all employees should be a must as well as ongoing—especially for the front-line collectors. It’s important for your brand’s image that they always act professionally and show your customers the respect and dignity they deserve.
Number 3 – Quality Assurance
The truth of the matter is any collection agency worth their salt will be as concerned about protecting their own brand’s image as they are about protecting yours. With a rigorous quality assurance program in place, an agency will be able to pinpoint areas where employees are shining and identify other areas where additional training is required.
All phone calls should be recorded and managers should frequently monitor both live and recorded calls in order to maintain compliance for all corporate, state and federal rules as well as to ensure that the consumers are receiving a great customer experience all while recovering the lost revenue for you.
Number 4 – Customer Experience
If an agency is taking care of numbers 1, 2, and 3 properly, the customer’s experience should be positive.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just what the collector says to a consumer, but how they communicate and what course of action they decide to take that ensures collection recoveries all while maintaining a positive brand image for your organization.
A collection agency worth partnering with will have the above 4 key elements in place and know how to maintain that important balance between results and relationships!
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com or call 877-723-2902 for more information.