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Strong coaching can improve debt collection teams

Mar 30, 2013 Philip Burgess

Strong coaching can improve debt collection teams

Working in a debt collection agency is rarely easy. Even for skilled employees, there are many cases where helping debtors pay back their dues is challenging, and failures to collect can have an impact both on both the consumer and the firm's bottom line. Not only that, it's important to recover funds for the companies that have entrusted their collection needs to a professional agency. In order to maximize the chances of success, managers need to take control of their staff and guide them to perform at as high a level as possible.

Being the coach

According to Dave Rudd, a debt collection professional who writes the DialerFan blog for insideARM, spring is the perfect time to revamp a business' collection strategies. Events like March Madness, he wrote, are an excellent reminder for supervisors to think about how they can be more effective in the enterprise and empower their employees to produce great results.

"As the coach - the business owner, manager or supervisor - you must help those around you understand the company's goals and direction," Rudd wrote. "At times you need to call your team together and take corrective action to keep your staff heading down a winning path. Let team members know what they can do to improve and guide them toward success."

This, he noted, is something that happens frequently in successful basketball teams. Coaches need to huddle their players regularly during games to address strategies that aren't working, figure out the best plan and put it into action. In addition, these leaders play the role of a fan, cheering the group on and offering them support. In the context of debt collection, striving to take on a similar role may help to staff perform more effectively. Plus, it never hurts for the office to feel positive.

In addition, Rudd explained that it is crucial to keep experimenting with new technologies and plans. By integrating the optimal solutions, systems may work better. Something as simple as ensuring that all technologies are updated and compatible can prevent downtime, maximizing the hours workers can spend interacting with employees rather than fighting against poor-quality computers. And in the realm of planning, switching it up can also be effective. Collectors should try out new schedules for dialing because, just like during a basketball game, if you fall into consistent habits the other party may catch on, Rudd claimed. If contacts aren't answering calls, the money probably won't be recovered.

The Globe and Mail noted that, for both professional debt collection agencies and in-house departments, it's crucial for teams to stay cool under pressure. Brad Lohner, president and chief executive officer of Credit Process Recovery Inc., told the news source that one crucial mistake collectors make is allowing frustrated debtors to tempt them into anger. Lohner advised that experts pay close attention to the person on the other line, and if it seems they're becoming overly flustered, to call it quits. In order to avoid a confrontation - which could involve Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations, such as the use of abusive language - it is better to offer to call back at another time and hang up.

Maria Tatangelo, a general manager who often deals with collections, told the news provider that another way to keep customers calm is to be flexible and communicative. There may be possibilities to put together a plan to pay debts in installments, which can be more favorable to individuals who owe money. The important thing is to work with debtors, not against them. Leaders should help the collections team to understand that their role in the process is complex, and that playing hardball is not always the best strategy.