Can we all agree – bill collectors have one of the most difficult professions out there? Add in customer stress that naturally arises from having conversations about money, and call center collection agents and agencies can find themselves working overtime to create a better experience and relationship with their customers.
The secret: use proven call quality assurance strategies to create a better collection experience for everyone.
Today we’ll explore how managers who implement call quality assurance can increase customer repayment rate while avoiding a negative reputation and a choppy call experience.
But First, How Did We Get Here? From TCPA to TRACED Act
TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)
Collections activity went a little wild in the past. New technology and an unregulated businesses meant that customers received too many calls, creating aggravation that was compounded by little guidance for agent and technological behaviors.
In 1991, Congress then passed TCPA, which regulated the call center/collections industry to limit calling practices on the American consumers’ behalf.
The TCPA became stricter with every subsequent amendment, increasing fines and penalties for call centers. So proactive call center managers sprang into action and found innovative solutions to stay compliant without crippling their business’ effectiveness.
The TRACED ACT – TCPA Upgraded
Following the improvement that TCPA gave to the industry and customers involved, illegal robocallers started making use of the advanced technology to mislead and steal, causing further action to limit the amount of illegitimate calls being placed.
This action took the form of The TRACED ACT (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) in 2019. TRACED now gives the FCC (Federal Communications Committee) the ability to fine call centers up to $10,000 per illegitimate robocall.
All of these laws filled with thousands and thousands of words communicated one truth: Call center executives needed to heavily invest in call quality assurance and other technologies – to comply with the law and to make customers happier.
What Does Great Call Quality Assurance Look Like?
Call center managers need to maintain constant vigilance over service levels and compliance.
But they can’t do it on their own.
That’s where a designated call quality assurance (QA) agent comes to the rescue.
QA agents usually monitor every step of the call process, from recording the call, how the caller and agent interact, and what happens at every call’s end. Overall, they help develop best practices by scrutinizing workflows, processes, and agent key performance indicators (KPIs).
A great QA agent works to ensure all these factors work in harmony to guarantee the best experience for every stakeholder involved.
So, how can a detail-oriented QA agent (or manager) facilitate better calls while staying compliant?
Gaining Customer Consent Is Everything
Managers and QA agents need to stress the importance of gaining customer’s express consent to be called by collections agents.
For example, agents should ask for the customer’s permission to continue contact them on the number they are currently speaking.
Also, when initiating the debt or agreement that creates a business relationship, language must be included to ensure your ability to contact them – this is call Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC)
Why? Collections agencies are increasingly relying on automation to contact debtors, making it even more important that they obtain express customer consent to avoid massive fines and a financial catastrophe.
When it comes to live calls, QA agents who monitor conversations need to know when collections agents are following the law, operating in a gray area, or clearly breaking it. This process can be part of an agent’s quality assurance evaluation.
Practicing the Perfect Delivery
Being a collections agent is one of the hardest call center jobs. Sometimes making contact with a debtor is a success in itself, due to how difficult connecting with them can be.
One way agents make every connection count is by practicing calls with a peer or manager – down to having each person sit on a separate phone and enact the best practices that make collections work for customer and agent.
Rapport is essential – agents will collect far more if the customer knows that they are being heard, that their concerns and plans matter and that they are making every effort to pay.
One well-handled call, in other words, can make the difference between a promise to pay, a live payment and a call that wastes everyone’s time. Here are some ways to facilitate that during a practice call.
- Practice active listening
- Emphasize listening comprehension by summarizing the customer’s thoughts
- Eliminate interruption behavior – this is fatal to rapport
- Ensure they pause and make a statement of listening, like “okay,” “I hear you,” “I understand, so this or that is going on,” etc.
- Discuss how to handle refusals with tact and practice tactical replies
- “I understand you can’t pay the full amount, what amount could you pay?”
- Reinforce the importance of open-ended questions like that above.
These strategies will prepare agents to tackle inevitable roadblocks and find repayment solutions on the fly.
Explore Call Quality Assurance Lifesavers – How BI Builds Peace of Mind
Implementing the right call quality assurance strategies can radically improve the customer experience and solidify your reputation as an adept yet reputation-building agency.
These strategies also make any collections agent’s job easier – increasing the chances of maintaining a great team while remaining compliant, while also making incentive programs more successful and establishing your reputation as a go-to source for repayments.
Using powerful BI (business intelligence) is also another way to enhance call quality assurance.
From voice analysis to regulatory compliance to workforce optimization, BI expertly empowers call center managers, saving them time and money.
Ready to learn more?
Download TCN’s free report detailing the tools and strategies that make TCN collection clients excel.