We just passed the first anniversary of one of my proudest professional accomplishments: The creation of an online training program.
My program, The Collection Advantage, teaches collectors to create empathetic and high-converting scripting that will increase revenue and decrease complaints.
Every agency that has gone through the course has appreciated the communication principles. Some even say it has transformed their personal lives.
The truth is that this program wasn’t built overnight. It actually took me 15 years to perfect the concepts and use my own collection agency as a test lab for the ins and outs of effective communication in such a stigmatized industry.
When I was still a new agency owner, I had five main problems I wanted to solve, and over the past 15 years that I’ve been creating The Collection Advantage, I learned how to solve all of them.
Maybe you’ve seen some of these problems at your own agency. The good news is that I’ve already solved them, and I’m excited to share my results with you.
Stick with me, and I’ll guide you through my journey creating The Collection Advantage and the incredible results I’ve seen so far.
My reasons for creating The Collection Advantage were:
Reason #1: To Strengthen Collectors' Negotiations
A while back, I noticed that one of my collectors was consistently collecting more than another one, and I couldn’t immediately figure out why; both of them were kind and compassionate on phone calls, so it just didn’t make sense.
When I was troubleshooting, I finally found the root of the problem: One of them was negotiating from the top down, and the other was negotiating from the bottom up. That’s when it hit me: Negotiation training for the collections floor is essential to increase overall recoveries.
After that, my office manager and I got to work creating challenges to give our collections floor to strengthen everyone’s negotiations. Now, I have a similar challenge in The Collection Advantage program that truly helps collectors make the best possible payment arrangements that will help consumers pay off their accounts as quickly as possible. It’s a win-win for the agency and the consumer.
Reason #2: To Maximize De-Escalation Techniques
Something that surprises people about me is that I used to be an aggressive collector. I was the collector who raised her voice. I was the one who made sharp comebacks. I was the one who got angry when consumers were yelling at me.
After years of these stressful phone calls where I kept matching the consumer’s aggression, I decided I wanted the next person who called to be happier by the end of the call. That’s when happiness became my new North Star.
The first step for me was eliminating negative words. I created a “Do-Not-Say List" that banned six words from my agency: no, not, can’t, won’t, however, and unfortunately.
The results were transformational. My collectors learned how to replace negative language with positive language. They learned to de-escalate even the most difficult phone calls. The days of matching the consumers’ aggression were gone for good.
The most amazing part of this story is that my revenue went up by 34% in the first year of using the Do-Not-Say list. This simple technique gave my collectors more power to de-escalate hostile conversations. And my techniques just kept improving from there.
Reason #3: To Improve Onboarding and Training
Onboarding and training is something I take a lot of pride in. At my agency, new hires go through a 90-day training process where they learn every position of the job. We make sure we have documented work instructions for every task as well. I knew I needed a way to streamline training my communication principles as well. That’s where The Collection Advantage came into play.
When I created The Collection Advantage, I found fantastic ways to streamline the communication training process. From fun weekly challenges to supplemental worksheets to engaging videos, the content in the course has been instrumental in giving new hires confidence on the phone with consumers and giving them much-needed skills to excel in the industry.
Reason #4: To Reduce Stress
When I talk to people who aren’t in the debt collection industry, a lot of them ask me the same question:“How do you sleep at night?”
The truth is, for several years, I was losing sleep over being a debt collector. I was constantly worried about lawsuits. I was worried about complaints. And, I was worried about the consumers I talked to each day because I knew their debt was creating a psychological burden that was difficult for them to handle.
I knew I needed to find a way to reduce stress at my agency. As it turns out, empathy training works wonders.
As soon as my team and I began to work toward building empathetic scripting, all of the stressors of the job started to become less and less prevalent. The best part was that consumer complaints decreased and consumer compliments increased. Consumers were thanking my agency for working with them to find a solution and actually listening to what they had to say.
I’m hearing the same thing from Collection Advantage clients. Several people have told me that the program has changed their day-to-day professional lives. Supervisors have told me they’ve had fewer stressful supervisor calls, which has helped them focus more on leadership development. Collectors have told me it’s become easier for them to handle difficult calls because they have the tools they need to finish each call with a solution that works for the agency and the consumer.
At the end of the day, the principles I teach truly help to reduce that everyday stress and enhances people’s workdays.
Reason #5: To Transform the Negative Stigma Attached to the Collection Industry
Several years ago, I was struggling to align my own personal development journey with my career as a debt collector. I needed to find a way to excel in my career and my personal development.
Over the 15 years of developing my program, I slowly found a way to do just that. I was encouraging my collections floor to speak empathetically with consumers, and it felt like my purpose was being fulfilled.
Even though I was making small changes at my own agency, I still had that nagging feeling that comes from the negative stigma in our industry. I decided to make it my own mission to transform the entire industry one call at a time.
That’s when I got to work to transform The Collection Advantage into an online training program that any agency can purchase. I wanted everyone to have access to the simple strategies I created that I knew would bring positive change.
Now I’m one year into my program. I’ve worked with some amazing agencies across the country, and I’ve watched so many collectors become expert communicators.
It’s Your Turn
If you’re tired of these everyday issues, I have the answers for you. I spent the past 15 years developing these principles, and I’d love to share them with your team.
Book a call with me today so I can help your agency create empathetic, high-converting scripting and teach you to solve all of these issues. I would love to talk with you and your team.
To see this post as it was originally written, visit maryshores.com.