Just what exactly is the problem with today’s customer contact centers? With so many software solutions designed to make customer contact centers hassle-free for both employees and customers, the modern contact center should be a breeze to negotiate. Yet customers are constantly complaining about poor customer service and wait times, while staffers complain about the constant pressures of their job. What’s really going on here?
Customer contact center jobs are bolstered by a wealth of software business models to make things easier, however employee turnover continues to be inordinately high — in fact, as high as 30-45%. Comparatively speaking, the average employee turnover rate for other industries is around 18%. And as any successful company knows, high employee turnover has a direct negative impact on customer retention.
Accounts Receivables Customer Service: Walking a Tightrope
Receivables management contact centers can be especially problematic, because often burned out employees spend their day contacting frustrated customers who owe money — but these customers are also the financial backbone of the operation. Managing this delicate situation is akin to walking a verbal tightrope and trying not to stumble. It’s no wonder that the“debt collection” category is at the top of the list each year for most complaints with the FTC.
When companies outsource receivables management, the situation becomes even more precarious, because as a business, you need to know that you can trust the service center to be tactful, diplomatic and helpful when dealing with your customers. Because of the nature of their job, receivables management contact center employees are in a unique position; yet it’s imperative that they manage customers with a combination of graciousness and professional expertise — which is communicated all the better if it’s done with a tactful dash of good humor.
Using the Zappos Approach
Think about it for a moment: What would it be like if Zappos or Southwestern Airlines ran a receivables management customer contact center? Both of these companies are renowned for their good treatment of employees, and as such, are popular places of employment. Not surprisingly, both companies enjoy low employee turnover, and also enjoy high customer loyalty and retention.
Zappos, for example, recently outdid itself when a glitch priced all of its stock at $49.95 for six hours. When the mistake was caught, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh decided to honor all of the purchases — even though some of the items originally sold for more than $2,000.
Zappos states its philosophy on its website: “We expect every employee to deliver WOW.” Yet according to employees, the wow factor at Zappos is a two-way street. For the past seven years,
Zappos has been included on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Employees are treated as individuals, each with a unique talent to contribute to the company. And because they’re respected and treated well, they’re eager to make a positive impact for their employer.
While this type of philosophy isn’t typically something you’d associate with accounts receivable companies, maybe it should be. With this level of positivity, individual respect, and motivation, accounts receivables customer contact center employees could overcome any perception they might have of themselves as “glorified debt collectors.” They should instead see themselves as playing the role of financial managers, working with customers to solve problems and keep a continuous cash flow coming into the business.
Likewise, management needs to perceive their employees in the same light — as part of a financial management team working to keep the cash flow steady and strong. This new perception — accompanied by more respect and better treatment — will impact customer relations as well. According to the Temkin Group’s 2016 Employee Engagement Study, companies known for excellent customer service have one-and-a-half times as many engaged employees as companies with a bad customer service record.
The numbers tell the story. By upending their approach and focusing more on employee satisfaction, accounts receivables companies can reap the benefits in a higher rate of customer satisfaction as well. And as Zappos can attest, happy customers and happy employees are a winning combination for any business.
Tavelli Co., Inc. has over 37 years of unparalleled experience in the debt collection and receivables management industry. Our mission is to achieve the right balance between getting clients paid and being empathetic to debtor circumstances, through implementing innovative practices, hiring experienced people, and improving business decisions through analytics. We provide peace of mind to all involved by collecting money with no complaints. Tavelli Co., Inc. takes the time to carefully listen to your customers and share their feedback with you through meaningful data and transparent communication, so you have access to the information you need to make quality decisions and improve your processes in the future. Contact us today and let the debt collection experts at Tavelli Co., Inc. help you set your business up for success.
IMPORTANT: Information provided by Tavelli Co., Inc., any employees of Tavelli Co., Inc., or its subsidiaries is not intended as legal advice and may not be used as legal advice. It is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area, nor should it be used to replace the advice of your own legal counsel.