Collector - November 2020 - 28

Failure is not an option, so let's study our
systems and rebuild them.

COLLECTOR DEVELOPMENT
Collector development that focuses on
call flow and building consumers' trust
and motivation is going to be the norm in
the coming years, and we're going to see a
quantitative difference between collectors
who have been trained in those areas and
those who haven't.
Collector development, intentional
training on the skills that will best support
collectors to be successful in their jobs,
can be broken down into these three
categories: communication, critical
thinking and negotiation.

mismatched communication leads to
conflict, delays, confusion and mistrust.
With the industry and global push
toward empathy, structured communication
training is going to become even more
important. That's because it's not enough to
tell someone to be empathetic; you have to
show them how.
There's also an opportunity for managers
to get creative and hold communication
contests to motivate collectors to adopt new
concepts. The reality is a collector's voice is
an agency's most powerful asset and is often
the least invested in.
Employing critical thinking skills is
another important piece of collector
development. As a collector, critical thinking

"It's not enough to train your collectors on
your expectations for bringing money in;
you need to teach them how to negotiate."

When it comes to communication, even
the best collectors can get lost in a call or
lose control of the conversation and never
collect payment. We can set collectors up to
succeed by evaluating whether the phrasing
and messaging they're using with consumers
is creating conflict or connection and by
promoting language that creates connection
and motivates consumers to pay.
From a management and scaling
standpoint, providing collectors with
structured communication training
that teaches them exactly how to build
consumers' trust and motivation will save
your agency valuable time and energy,
meaning your collectors will get up to speed
more quickly and fewer calls will have to
be fielded by supervisors. Communication
training will also create consistency.
Consumers aren't going to talk to multiple
collectors at your agency and get different
information. That's significant because

28

involves being able to analyze and evaluate
conversations with consumers in order to
better respond to their situation.
Training on critical thinking is easier
than you might think. For example, the
Observe, Orient, Decide and Act (OODA)
loop theory-a decision-making strategy
developed by John Boyd, a fighter pilot and
military strategist-is powerful for collectors
because it reinforces the importance
of slowing down and thinking things
through before making a decision instead
of observing a situation and immediately
reacting. As a collector, it can be easy to get
caught up in heat-of-the-moment stress,
but following OODA helps to eliminate
restrictive behavior.
The final key piece of collector
development is negotiation training. It's
not enough to train your collectors on
your expectations for bringing money in;
you need to teach them how to negotiate.

For instance, many collectors tend to
negotiate from the bottom up, meaning
they'll immediately accept a low payment
arrangement offer from a consumer (like $50
per month). Well-trained negotiators start
from the top down, which means they start
out asking consumers to pay higher amounts
each month, so the debt is paid off quicker.
Collectors who negotiate from the bottom
up instead of the top down are leaving a lot
of money on the table.

MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Just like building a house, a productive
and successful business must start with
a solid foundation that gives it structure;
a base from which to grow. For agencies,
that foundation is policies, processes and
procedures.
ACA International provides an excellent
template for this through the Blueprint
Quality Management System. Blueprint
breaks down the essential elements of
how to structure your agency, stressing
the importance of task-oriented work
instructions and the value of documenting
everything.
For those who aren't familiar, work
instructions are a detailed list of directions
guiding a team member, step-by-step,
through a specific task to its completion.
If you don't have well-documented work
instructions, now is a great time to create
them. And for those who already have
work instructions in place, remember to
reevaluate and update them based on what
we've seen with COVID-19.
Work instructions provide massive
value because they streamline training
and create consistency to help you avoid
mistakes and delays. Rather than relying
on word-of-mouth instructions that can
be misinterpreted or easily forgotten, any
team member who reads a work instruction
is provided with the same accurate
information, every time. If you want to scale
anything, consistency is key.
Additionally, work instructions can ease
new team members' anxiety over the training
process and reduce their dependency on
management for routine tasks.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - November 2020

Collector - November 2020 - Cover1
Collector - November 2020 - Cover2
Collector - November 2020 - 1
Collector - November 2020 - 2
Collector - November 2020 - 3
Collector - November 2020 - 4
Collector - November 2020 - 5
Collector - November 2020 - 6
Collector - November 2020 - 7
Collector - November 2020 - 8
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