What does a collection agency know about customer service? More than you think.
If there are a few things that are overflowing here at American Profit Recovery, its respect, and a deep desire to help. That’s helping the business that hires us and their customer that owes them money. They both require our help and some might say, they are both our customer.
Since we are most often talking about helping a business, stay in business, and what we can do to help them, let’s focus on the consumer for a moment.
While in many cases, a consumer gets into our system because of an oversight or even a minor dispute, many times, they are facing financial challenges. And in a lot of cases, they don’t know where to turn. So they ignore both the business they owe the money to and the debt collector. It is our job to open the lines of communication as best we can. And we cannot do that by being rude, unreasonable or not understanding of their situation. We need to be great at customer service.
Because they might be in a difficult situation at this time in their life, what they don’t realize is that once we can develop a dialog, and get to a point where we can respect each other, they will be far better off when we come to a resolution. And we can only do that when we agree to communicate. One of the hallmarks of great customer service is communication.
At this moment, they are our customer. If we are to help them, and achieve our goal for the business that hired us to help them resolve the debt, we are going to have to employ some customer service.
But I want to add something very important here. This is not some fake smiling face on the other end of the phone. Everyone here understands the importance of what we do here. And our collectors are all genuine people. They are not robots and they also have families and obligations. They know that they are talking to an individual that might be having a hard time not only paying that business but they understand, the family basics could also be suffering. It doesn’t help the situation at all if our collectors don’t take these factors into consideration when talking with a consumer on the phone.
Ultimately we act on behalf of the business that hired us to recover their money. We are contacting and dealing with their customer. And even though they owe that business money, they want them treated with respect and tact. They are still customers.
“It was a pleasure speaking with you.” Those types of quotes come from consumers after they have gotten off the phone with our debt collectors. Yes, you read that right.
How we help business:
On the other end of the phone often times there is a frustrated and confused business owner, CFO or accounts receivable professional. Customers are not paying on time, not paying at all, and cash flow is starting to take a toll. And they need help.
We might even get some of that frustration thrown at us because the business has tried to resolve these issues without alienating their customers and now their aggravation has boiled over. They too have tried to take care of their customers with great customer service, even when times are bad. And they can feel disheartened.
Our customer service starts with our team showing that we understand their struggles. It also starts with letting that business know that hiring a collection agency isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not the end of the line and in fact, should be a fundamental component of your accounts receivables program. You might think that after sending a customer into collections, you’ll never see them again. That’s not true in many cases. And we have to get that message across.
When a business does use the services of American Profit Recovery, our customer service team brings them through an extensive preparation to our systems including our online APRweb portal. We take as much time as they need because that’s where a business enters their accounts and monitors progress. Our customer service team is top notch and can anticipate every question. The sooner we get that business proficient with APRweb, the sooner they can start recovering their money.
But that’s not where it ends. Debt collections can be a complicated process. And our customer service team needs to be right by the side of our customers all the time. An account in collections can take a number of turns and our pros know just how to assist that business every time.
Great customer service is tested when frustration is part of the equation. We expect when we check in to a hotel that we’ll be greeted kindly and accommodated because maybe we have been traveling all day and we are in no mood for any more stress. Airline representatives are always trying to make an uncomfortable situation better. It’s how they deal with the issue that resolves it.
And when it comes to money, there can be tension on both sides. It’s our job to minimize that anxiety and guide each party through a successful outcome. If you are a business that hires us, we are there for you. If you’re a consumer trying to get out of a difficult situation, we are ready to assist.
It all comes down to having a philosophy of providing the best in customer service no matter who we are helping. A positive outcome is our goal.