Unique approach to dealing with debtorsí woes
Thursday, 06 August 2009
Leading debt collections firm, Red2Black Collections Limited, has shown an industry leading approach by completing the first ever training programme with the Samaritans to help deal more effectively with the growing numbers of people in debt.
With the debt collections industry facing criticism from a number of sources including the recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Red2Black Collection’s industry-leading move has reaffirmed its reputation in ethical, customer-oriented collections.
“More people are slipping into debt from which they find it difficult to recover,” said Red2Black Collections Director and General Manager Nick Cherry.
“The intention is to give our call centre staff greater insight, improved skills and offer the customer a different view on some debt related issues.
He continued: “As one of our top priorities is customer care we are keen to offer as much help as we can. The training programme was enlightening for all involved and we hope that more debt recovery firms can follow in our footsteps and offer similar training for their employees to make the process more empathetic for all involved.”
Jonathan Moran, External Training Services Manager at Samaritans said: “Many organizations contact Samaritans as they recognise that our ‘Handling Difficult Contacts’ course, which focuses on equipping people with skills to work with those who are emotionally distressed, can improve the service they offer by benefiting their staff and customers from both an emotional and practical perspective.”
Nick Cherry adds: “Experience suggests that at times of increased and widespread economic hardship, debtors fail to respond to traditional collections activity in increasing numbers. Our relationship with the Samaritans will help us to find new ways to reconnect and engage positively with debtors to improve returns and establish a more sustainable approach than the current traditional models.”
The lack of available credit, falling equity and the multiplicity of financial woes besetting the average consumer mean that traditional consequences such as damaged credit ratings, litigation, asset repossession or even bankruptcy no longer deliver the same imperative to pay.
It is this need to find new ways of reconnecting with debtors which inspired Red2Black Collections’ focus on successful ethical collections practices. The company has already enjoyed improved returns by engaging positively with debtors. The new relationship with the Samaritans will help to develop the ethical collections service to be the one of the best in the UK.
The programme - which included training on how to diffuse anger, how to develop trust over the phone and how to hear what is actually being said - has already proved a success with employees, and those at the other end of the phone.
Red2Black Collections employee Susan Maggs comments: “I found the training very useful because it underlined the importance of showing empathy towards people experiencing difficulties.”
Red2Black Collections call centre employee Chris Fox comments: “In the current climate a lot of people are struggling and this training helped to cover the emotional mind-set of our customers. If I can keep a positive tone and listen more during the call this goes a long way to stopping someone entering a distressing time and understanding their difficulties, which helps a smoother process.”
Red2Black Collections is now looking at cascading this training throughout other departments.
Nick Cherry concludes: “We need to remember that in times of difficulty these debts for our business clients could mean the difference between them going into administration or not. This training programme is helping us to offer a better service for all – and try and ensure that customer care is kept a priority especially whilst times are tough.”