Back in the 80s, doing business was like playing Monopoly. We were all focused on strategizing and making it out on top. Back then, people made decisions based on pride and responsibility.
Now, we’re going through a paradigm shift, and people tend to make decisions based on how they feel instead. And this new era of feelings-based decision-making has been expedited by COVID-19.
Now more than ever, people crave human connection, which drives decisions such as who people are willing to do business with.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve heard about this “new normal” over and over. The problem is, the definition of the new normal has continuously evolved, and it feels impossible to keep up with it. If you've felt in over your head trying to understand what the new normal will involve, just know that many people feel the same way, so you're not alone.
The good news is, regardless of how the new normal looks, collection agency owners can stay ahead in a few different ways.
Using these methods to stay ahead, we’re able to easily keep the consumer experience at the forefront of our minds, which will help us stand out in this paradigm shift, no matter how the new normal evolves. To explain, let’s dive right into the first method agency owners can use to stay ahead in the new normal: Delivering on brand promises.
Deliver on Your Brand Promises
Brand messaging has always been important. We use it to attract new clients, make an impact in our communities, and ultimately stand out as a unique agency in a highly competitive market. The thing is, it’s important to always deliver on the brand promises we make, especially as we enter a paradigm shift.
Let me explain what I mean.
During the holiday season last December, I read an article about how a collection agency was sued for marketing itself as “compassionate” while still using aggressive collection tactics to collect medical debt at the height of the pandemic. In other words, there was a disconnect in their marketing and how they were actually interacting with consumers.
This can affect an agency's bottom line because consumers and clients are expecting a certain behavior, in this case compassion, and when they don't feel that behavior is being met, the consequences can come with a price tag.
So, how do we make sure to keep our brand promises while still bringing in revenue?
The key is to invest in strategies that allow us to do both and be very clear about our capabilities when we craft our brand messaging.
For example, at my agency, we use my Collection Advantage program to train every staff member, which ultimately teaches my team to be compassionate and good communicators, both of which my consumers and clients expect due to my brand messaging. This strategy keeps my brand promises and keeps our revenue coming in since we focus on building deep connections with clients and consumers. It's truly a win-win.
Note: You can use The Collection Advantage at your agency too! If you want a streamlined communication approach, let's chat. Book a call with me today.
Be the Megaphone
I wholeheartedly believe the leaders in the debt collection industry are the megaphones who speak through the collectors.
In other words, if your agency has communication standards that start with the leadership team’s expectations, your consistency and authenticity will shine through, and your agency will benefit from it.
Think about it: If all of your collectors speak to consumers differently and offer completely different solutions, consumers will feel frustrated when they call multiple times and hear something different each time.
On the flip side, if owners and leaders use their visionary voices to set communication standards and amplify their mission and values through the collectors, the consumers will have a much more cohesive experience. And, your brand messaging will match how your collectors are interacting with consumers on the phone.
The best way to make this possible is to make sure the entire company is familiar with the leadership team's goals and objectives. We're actually going to dive into this more in the next method: Creating a Core Four.
Create a Core Four
In our industry, consistency is key. We’ve already talked about the importance of using a communication strategy to keep your collections floor consistent and to reflect the leadership team's voice. Now, let’s talk about another concept to promote consistency I’ve used at my own agency that has worked wonders. It’s called the Core Four.
The Core Four is a simple concept, and the results are amazing because it can really streamline your goals. Let me explain.
When things seem overwhelming and too many projects are clouding your everyday work, find four key areas you need to focus on in your business.
Channel all of your strategic planning into these four areas. If something comes up that isn’t part of the Core Four, don’t pursue it. Get it off of your plate somehow. Maybe delegate to someone else. Maybe put it off for a few months. Whatever the case may be, just make sure to focus on the Core Four.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to create a Core Four for your agency:
Who are you at your core?
What are your core value and your mission?
How can your intentions be run through the filter?
A great way to organize your Core Four is to create a vivid vision. Cameron Herold wrote a fantastic book about vivid vision, which you can find here.
In summary, a vivid vision is a document that encompasses all of your goals over the next few years. I created a vivid vision about a year ago, and I added my Core Four to the document and distributed it to my staff. That way, everyone on my team is on the same page, and we can make sure to portray the Core Four in every aspect of our work to remain focused on our mission.
My current Core Four are…
If you want a quick and easy guide to creating your vivid vision and Core Four, you can download the one I created here. Make sure to check out Herold’s book as well when you get the chance. It’s definitely a top-tier resource for industry leaders!
I have great news! I was recently a guest on Fair Debt, a new podcast in the industry revolutionizing the conversation around debt. We talked about the concepts outlined in this blog post and much more. If this piqued your interest, this podcast is for you. My episode is live, and you can listen to it now!
Find the podcast here (or below), and make sure to stay tuned to listen to Lex’s future episodes!
To see this post as it was originally written, visit maryshores.com.