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Two Ways to Improve Collections Efficacy

Posted on  18 March 11  by 

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Note: This post is the third in a four-part series based on CCC’s research, “Pillars of a Customer-Driven Collections Strategy”. In this series, we’ll discuss the research findings and best practices that can help your organization adopt a more effective approach to debt collections—moving away from a pure quantity focus and toward a quality, customer-oriented collections strategy.

Building strong cross-functional collaboration is one of those ever true key tenets of management literature.

In the past I have addressed how improved collaboration can help drive better customer insights and help organizations make better use of CRM investments, not to mention elevate the role of the service and support organization.  I want to continue the dialogue here by focusing on another, critical cross-functional collaboration opportunity whose impact is often underestimated: collections.

While it may seem that collaboration with collections is a lower priority, managing the collections process more closely can actually result in a win-win-win—better revenues, greater efficiency, and a better customer experience.  In fact, companies that do not make partnering with collections a priority risk operational inefficiencies, increasing delinquent account volume, and mitigating collections success.  In today’s hopefully recovering economic climate, that can translate to big revenue.So how to improve collaboration with collections in a scalable manner?  A couple of ideas:

1. Create incentives that foster collaboration—Too often individuals have little reason to collaborate as collections issues are a more distant occurrence.  Yet companies can foster greater collaboration by implementing metrics that align staff in different functions more closely with collections.

For example, to prevent sales staff from targeting customers that are risky, companies can mandate that if a customer terminates sales within the first six months, sales forfeits the sales-based incentive pay.

2. Communicate the interconnectedness of roles—Collections is often a siloed function within the service and support organization, and this can be exacerbated when the function is outsourced.  Given the many interconnections between service/support and collections, organizations should work to help frontline staff understand its impact on collections.

For example, if frontline staff fail to adequately solve customers’ issues with billing statements, accounts can become delinquent, resulting in a poor experience for customers.

Collections may not be the most glamorous of functions, but it is a critical component of doing business.  The more cross-functional collaboration that occurs, the more effective collections will be.

Stay tuned to CCC Buzz for the final installment of our series on debt collections, and be sure to review our research brief to learn more.

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