To paraphrase a famous quote from Zig Ziglar: there is only one thing worse that training someone and not keeping them…Not training them and keeping them.
For collection agencies, that maxim is definitely true, especially in today’s world of heightened compliance and mastering the art of persuasion, according to a panel of experts who spoke during a webinar last week on the topic of training. The webinar, which was sponsored by Peak Revenue Group, featured many tips and tricks to help develop best practices in training and re-training employees.
One of the most important components of a training system, is a trainer. Simply relying on “Ned,” who’s worked at the agency since Reagan was president and keeps everything in his head is not the best training program, said Mike Hiller, the Vice President of collections at American Profit Recovery.
Collection agencies need a dedicated program and a dedicated person in charge of that program, if they are going to effectively train new employees. The person in charge of training needs to be charismatic, a great storyteller, and good at teaching the art and science of collections.
“It’s not a coincidence that the same trainers produce quality collectors time and again,” Hiller said during the webinar. “How are you making sure you’re hiring the right people and how much are you willing to pay to find out.”
Having the right trainer is the cornerstone of a successful training program. The trainer is often the first full-time employee that a new hire encounters, and it is the trainer that must lay the foundation for the culture of the company.
“For a new hire to be successful, they need to join your culture,” Hiller said. “How do you train someone on culture? You tell stories.”
The primary components of a successful training program can be broken down into two categories: art and science. The science is the hard facts of the business, meaning areas like compliance, and how the software works. The art is the conversation that a collector has with an individual; how the collector persuades the individual to make a payment or make good on a promise to pay. For the three panelists on the webinar, two weeks of training is generally considered enough to cover both areas.
“By the end of two weeks a new employee should have a good understanding of what the job expectations are,” said LaDonna Bohling, a Vice President with Contract Callers. “Some of our best collectors are people who came in with no experience or maybe a little exposure to a call center environment.”
To download a copy of the webinar, which also featured Roger Weiss from CACi, please click here.