Collector - October 2017 - 8
Tell Me About It
How to use your website to solicit,
track and address consumer
By Anne Rosso May
here are three types of complaints:
those you hear directly from
the consumer, those you miss
completely, and those that are sent straight
to state and federal regulators or consumer
Ideally you want to avoid those last two, but
are you taking any steps to make that happen?
A little over a year ago, BC Services Inc.
leaders decided to step up their approach
to consumer complaints, creating a specific
spot on their website where consumers can
ask for help or express their dissatisfaction.
Here, Compliance Manager Ben
Gauthier describes his company's
experience and offers some suggestions
for agencies looking to launch a complaint
portal of their own.
DECIDE WHAT INFO YOU WANT
State and federal regulators expect
debt collection agencies to self-detect
complaints. This means that in addition to
establishing a process to flag and process
verbal complaints made during collection
calls, you should also create other avenues
to solicit feedback from consumers. A big
piece of this will be your website, which
is probably the first place consumers go
when they want more information about a
company or need help.
BC Services executives designed their
company's complaint portal after researching
regulators' and consumer advocacy groups'
expectations surrounding consumer
complaints. Gauthier said he specifically
drew a lot of inspiration from the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau's own consumer
"I wanted to give ours that same feel," he
said. "I felt it would be helpful for consumers
to allow them to do the same thing as they
would submitting a complaint to a regulator."
BC Services' portal asks consumers to
describe the nature of their complaint,
offering six categories from a dropdown menu: Inaccurate credit reporting,
continue to collect a debt not owed,
unwarranted legal action, communication
with debt collector, did not validate
account, did not cease communication as
requested or other.
"We also have a spot where they can
free-form type what their complaint
or concern is, which allows them to
summarize what they are experiencing,"
The page also asks consumers to list
their name, account number and contact
information so the company can verify
the person's identity. The goal is to allow
consumers to share their concerns and feel
like they are being heard, while providing
enough information for the company to
properly investigate the complaint and
work toward a resolution.
MAKE IT EASY
Your complaint portal is there to better
serve consumers, so make it easy for them
to find on your website. BC Services placed
a link to theirs under the Contact tab on the
home page of its website, right at the top.
This not only makes the complaint portal
a snap for visitors to locate, but also allows
collectors to easily direct consumers to the
page during an escalated call.
Keep the page layout of your portal simple
and the language clear. Drop-down menus
give consumers defined choices that can help
pinpoint the crux of their issue in a way they
might not have realized before. Designing a
space for them to write up a brief summary
of the complaint supplies you with valuable
details for your investigation.