Working in collections is hard. Even for front line agents who love the work and thrive in the industry, negative customer interactions can make it hard to stay motivated. This is a problem. After all, job dissatisfaction among employees can lead to a negative work environment, high turnover, and lost revenue. Fortunately, agency owners and managers can have a big impact on how to keep front line staff motivated to create a winning team.
No one wants to feel lost or overwhelmed in their job. No matter the business, employees feel more satisfied and confident when they understand what they’re doing. Thorough, proper training can go a long way toward empowering a collector in their position. Provide new hires with plenty of background training and real-world contextual examples for the situations they will encounter.
Also be sure any policies and procedures that pertain to an agent’s job duties are easily available for them to reference. This empowers collectors to help themselves before asking management for clarification. Helping your staff to feel empowered allows them to problem-solve without so much hands-on attention from management. According to the Huffington Post, it is also one of the top 5 ways to motivate employees.
Identify and Correct Problems
Not every answer can be found in a manual. There may be times when your agents seem to be doing everything correctly, but they are still struggling with their calls. CAC President Kelly Parsons-O’Brien discussed this topic during a webinar hosted by Accounts Recovery earlier this year. She recalls an employee who was having trouble. Her “talk-off sounded so good, but she wasn’t collecting any money,” sayd Parsons-O’Brien. “But when you go in and listen to the recordings, you can see she was missing opportunities.”
These points in the management process are the key to a healthy team. Take the time to acknowledge those who are doing well, but don’t overlook those who are struggling. They may just need a little extra coaching to become top performers. In the same webinar, Parsons-O’Brien also mentions that she’s able to monitor her agents closely from a standing desk on the call floor. Managers are busy, but finding ways to remain available for coaching is well worth it.
Make work fun
Making your agency a fun place to work is a sure way to excite employees about their jobs and being part of your team.
Bonuses and incentives are a common way to keep your front line collectors happy. Remember, though, that a heavy emphasis on a bonus could lead to some people bending the rules when it comes to their calls. Make adhering to compliance policies part of the requirements for incentives and you can motivate your staff to collect more while easing compliance worries.
Bizfluent suggests fostering a playful work environment through games during staff meetings or scheduled throughout the day. “The more you can motivate the staff just ahead of or in the middle of a shift, the more likely they may be to follow protocol and be more patient and willing to work with customers for the rest of their time on the clock.”
These games can be more than just to have fun. Look for ways to tie in compliance trivia or common call situations during activities. Offer small prizes to keep your employees interested, and you can create a light, positive atmosphere while you’re still educating your team.
Happy, confident and knowledgeable employees are around for the long haul, and are instrumental to a thriving agency.
For additional information, tips and strategies for debt collection professionals, check out the PDCflow Blog.