+44 (0) 191 217 0775
The Credit Services Association (CSA)
Blog: Finding a ‘win-win’ for all those involved in debt collection
Damian Hughes, international speaker, author, sports psychology consultant and Professor of Organisational Psychology and Change, will be the keynote speaker at the Credit Services Association’s UK Credit & Collections Conference (UKCCC) in September 2016. Here, he shares how insights from his latest book, ‘The Five STEPS to a Winning Mindset’ can create a ‘win-win’ culture for all those involved in the debt collection process.
What can the debt collection sector learn from the world of sport? Perhaps more than you would think. The future of debt collection depends on creditors, collectors and customers working together for a common good. Leadership and culture are undeniably central to this.
In my latest book ‘The Five STEPS to a Winning Mindset’, I introduce the key principles that all great leaders apply to their personal and professional life to bring about positive change.
In such a heavily regulated sector, debt collection can be a minefield – for creditors, collectors and customers. Communicating one simple message at a time is important but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be short. In fact, the devil is in the detail.
Debt collection is a process and customers need to be taken through it one step at a time.
Like elite coaches, in order to get people thinking – in this case about their personal finances – we need to spark their interest and do something outside of their expectations to capture their attention. We can engage people over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge – and then filling those gaps.
When it comes to finding a solution to a debt problem, psychologically it’s much more satisfying and validating to let the customer find the solution themselves rather than attempt to solve it for them. Giving someone control over sorting out their finances and filling the gaps in their knowledge with useful information that gives them a range of options will produce a mutually beneficial winning formula.
Debt collection involves dealing with real people on a hugely emotive issue surrounding their personal finances. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions so it is important to not only treat customers as humans but to show them that you are human too. If they feel that they can relate to the people they are dealing with, they will be more responsive and open to discussing and finding a positive outcome.
Great leaders are able to explain themselves in clear, understandable language.
Whether it is implementing the latest regulation, training teams or dealing directly with customers, practical solutions will always get a better outcome than the theory.
Stories give us a richer, more complete mental catalogue of situations and personal circumstances. Taking the time to fully understand customers is now key in the debt collection journey. A ‘tick box’ approach doesn’t open up dialogue and isn’t conducive to encouraging the information sharing necessary to find the right resolution for everyone. Sharing stories is something that sports coaches naturally do as part of training sessions to gain rapport and understanding amongst teams. It’s also important that creditors and collections professionals share not only data but richer stories that provide insight into the customer journey that everyone can learn from to improve practice.
Find out more about Damian and the other speakers on the UK Credit & Collections Conference website and sign up to hear his keynote speech first hand.