There are times where changing a job title might be seen as an attempt to cloud transparency: Lead Marketing Strategist is really just a marketer; Human Capital Engineer is really an HR person. But suggesting that debt collectors might more accurately be labeled “Problem Solvers” doesn’t feel aggrandizing. It feels like an apt description of what today’s collectors do on a daily basis.
Many people both in and outside of this industry point to worsening economic situations for a lot of Americans, and the ever-looming specter of litigation for breaches of compliance, as the reason behind this change from “pay me now!” collections to “how can we solve this together?” collections. And those may certainly be factors; but, more than that, I think what we’re seeing is: it’s a tactic that works. And it works better in the long run not just for consumers, but for the agencies that are working these accounts.
What we find is that when our collectors approach the job from the point of view as someone in a position to help a consumer, the conversation is more productive, our collectors are more productive, and our success rate is improved.
Negative press, of course, can set up those initial contacts with consumers for failure. Along with understandable shame over being in a debt situation, there’s the barrage of media messaging that suggests that collection agencies are “out to get you” and that we’re an industry where everyone does not treat consumers fairly. That’s just not the landscape we’re seeing at all.
So, in looking at your own operation: are you finding that you are training new employees in equal parts customer service and effective collection techniques? Do you think this Problem Solver mode of collections is here to stay? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
About Dennis Guetterman
Dennis has been in the financial, banking, and collection industries for 25 years. He has been Vice President of Financial Services for Array Services Group since 2008.
Array Services Group and its three innovative business units – CareCall, ProSource and J.C. Christensen & Associates – offer professional services in call management disciplines, accounts receivable and revenue cycle management, empowering clients for immediate and future success.