Collector – September 2019 - 44

BUSINESSOPERATIONS

Staying on Track
How to keep collectors focused and motivated.
By Terry Collins

O

ne of the many challenges managers
face today is keeping collectors
focused. Collectors are often asked to
handle a variety of tasks that can change with
each customer contact. Add to that the stress of
frustrated consumers, the white noise of their
coworkers' conversations in the background
and the fatigue of talking on the phone all
day, and you have a tough work environment.
Providing exceptional customer service can be
difficult when collectors are not laser focused
on their work.
Fortunately, there are several ways managers
can help reduce the impact of everyday
distractions and interruptions to keep their team
on track and working at peak efficiency.

IDENTIFY AND MINIMIZE
DISTRACTIONS
Let's face it: We work in a fast-paced, everchanging environment, and distractions can
be detrimental to the overall performance
of your entire collection team. It's important
to identify potential distractions, and if
possible, reduce or eliminate them. This is
no easy task, since distractions can be highly
individual. One person may find that having a
conversation with a coworker between calls is
invigorating, while another may feel it throws
them off their game.
More often than not, collectors can help
you identify obstacles and things that distract
them from their daily work. Having regularly
scheduled team meetings can give managers
the opportunity to talk with collectors and get a
better understanding of the issues they each face.
This "joining" also gives the collector a better
sense of being heard by management, especially
if the collector can see that their concerns are
being considered and evaluated by management.
It is important to convey to associates that not all
distractions can be completely resolved. While a
manager may be able to reduce distractions like
co-worker chit-chat or cellphone usage, there

44

are some things that are simply inherent to the
contact/collections center work environment.
If the collector is being distracted by something
you consider unavoidable, it's important to
discuss what's going on so the collector can
understand how these distractions fit into the
work environment.

STAY ON TASK WITH CHECK
POINTS
Creating check points with collectors can
be a helpful tool in determining if changes
made to improve focus are having the desired
results. Check points can come in the form
of informal feedback conversations or a more
traditional scheduled group meeting. Either
way, managers should continue to provide
opportunities for collectors to give constructive
and informative feedback. These appropriately
scheduled follow-ups can help reinforce the fact
that managers are listening to team members
and are concerned with their performance
within the organization.
Check points can also help determine
if additional changes are needed or if the
changes implemented are ineffective. Getting
good feedback during these check points can
help managers and collectors avoid making
insufficient, or even damaging, changes.

MOTIVATION BY INCENTIVE
Like distractions, incentives can sometimes
be difficult to manage. Just as not all
collectors are distracted by the same things,
not all collectors are motivated by the same
incentives. It can be challenging to find the
right mix of incentives that will result in the
desired performance outcome.
Incentives can come in the form of money,
time away from work, privileges or other
perks not available to all. Whatever incentive
program you present must not only be fair to
all participating, but the program should also
be focused on a specific area of the collectors

work performance. When collectors see the
direct correlation between their increased
performance and the incentive, they are more
apt to continue with their positive behaviors.
Here's an example. A financial services
company wanted to improve the quality of
customer calls from a collections call center.
The company historically had a practice of
reviewing customer contacts and scoring
those contacts on a monthly basis. The
overall average quality score was one of five
performance attributes measured for the
collectors' monetary incentive program. To
increase call scores, the company drilled
down on call quality and call score for a
three-month period. During this time, an
incentive rewards program was put into
place where each time a collector received a
call quality score above 96%, that collector's
name would be placed into a box. At the end
of the three-month period, the company
would hold a drawing and the person would
receive a monetary reward.
At the end of the first 30-day period,
there were 52 entries based on quality
scores and at the end of 60 days, an
additional 91 entries were added, an
increase of 75%. At the end of the third
month, there were 82 entries, representing
an increase of 58%.
How do you achieve success? By having
a well-trained, highly motivated and
focused staff. Reaching that pinnacle with
your team is only the first part of the
organizational goal-maintaining it and
continuing to improve on that success can
be achieved by identifying and removing
the unique distractions that your team
faces each day.
Terry L. Collins is the first vice president,
collections and recovery manager for
Trustmark National Bank. He can be
reached at TCollins@trustmark.com.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector – September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – September 2019

Ask the Experts: Raising the Bar
Staying on Track
Work Ethic From the Ground Up
Calling Concerns
Robo-Dispute Purveyors Found Guilty of Fraud
Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Meet ACA’s 2019/20 Board of Directors
Collector – September 2019 - Cover1
Collector – September 2019 - Cover2
Collector – September 2019 - 1
Collector – September 2019 - 2
Collector – September 2019 - 3
Collector – September 2019 - Upfront
Collector – September 2019 - 5
Collector – September 2019 - Industry News
Collector – September 2019 - 7
Collector – September 2019 - 8
Collector – September 2019 - 9
Collector – September 2019 - 10
Collector – September 2019 - 11
Collector – September 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – September 2019 - 13
Collector – September 2019 - FYI
Collector – September 2019 - 15
Collector – September 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – September 2019 - 17
Collector – September 2019 - 18
Collector – September 2019 - 19
Collector – September 2019 - 20
Collector – September 2019 - 21
Collector – September 2019 - 22
Collector – September 2019 - 23
Collector – September 2019 - 24
Collector – September 2019 - 25
Collector – September 2019 - Meet ACA’s 2019/20 Board of Directors
Collector – September 2019 - 27
Collector – September 2019 - 28
Collector – September 2019 - 29
Collector – September 2019 - 30
Collector – September 2019 - 31
Collector – September 2019 - 32
Collector – September 2019 - 33
Collector – September 2019 - 34
Collector – September 2019 - 35
Collector – September 2019 - 36
Collector – September 2019 - 37
Collector – September 2019 - Calendar
Collector – September 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – September 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – September 2019 - 41
Collector – September 2019 - Ask the Experts: Raising the Bar
Collector – September 2019 - 43
Collector – September 2019 - Staying on Track
Collector – September 2019 - 45
Collector – September 2019 - Work Ethic From the Ground Up
Collector – September 2019 - 47
Collector – September 2019 - Calling Concerns
Collector – September 2019 - 49
Collector – September 2019 - Robo-Dispute Purveyors Found Guilty of Fraud
Collector – September 2019 - 51
Collector – September 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – September 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – September 2019 - Membership
Collector – September 2019 - 55
Collector – September 2019 - Last Word
Collector – September 2019 - Cover3
Collector – September 2019 - Cover4
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