Business Article

 

Top Notch Client Services Is Essential For 

By Mark V. Matz
Debt Collection Professionals Chief Marketing Officer of Viking World Corp
President of the National Board of Collection Attorneys

Many people today lament the decline in customer service.  Just go into any big box store and try looking for some knowledgeable staff to answer a question. Try calling a customer service phone line and navigating an endless series pre-recorded options that never connect you to a live person.  With the patience of the public wearing thin, making sure your debt collection operations are exceeding expectations is a key to your success. 

But even today, there are companies that work hard to make sure their customers and clients are not only provided with the best quality of goods and services, but that people who keep them in business are listened to when there is a question or problem.  So what can attorneys and collection agencies handling debt collection can do?  That’s simple, emulate some of the practices and philosophies of enterprises in other businesses.

Before you have a client, you have a prospect.  That prospect will evaluate you based in many instances like many people do; on first impressions.  Take a look at who is answering your phone or what message your website conveys.  When you first discuss the bad debts of your prospect, be sure you have the time to focus on their needs.  We’re all rushed and pulled in many directions, but making your client feel important is vital.  Keep in mind that the key to your success is found in the old saying; “you never get a second chance at a first impression”. 

Empathy for your client is another thing that may not always be a natural feeling.  Every day you spend time working on claims that may seem like the same old thing, many times trying to collect from the same debtor.  But to your client, it is their money (often earned with lower profit margins than in the past) that they need to keep their doors open and pay the salaries of their staff.  Recognize the anxiety of client and act not just as the person who will collect their debt, but as counsel who can help them avoid making mistakes when granting credit the next time.  We all know that no matter how hard you try to avoid it, there will always be bad debt.  It doesn’t hurt to help educate your client in how to avoid it.  When they have a problem in the future, they will turn to you.

Communicating with your customers and clients is what builds and strengthens any relationship, especially with new ones.  Be sure that all claims are reviewed and acknowledged quickly.  Find out the method of communication (and frequency) that will be mutually agreeable between you and your client.  Of course, there are times when there is nothing to report.  But make your client aware that there maybe these times while you’re actively working to collect the debt, that there may not be anything viable to report.  Naturally, there will be times when the issues are resolved quickly.  But in this economy, it is more likely that more time and effort will be needed.  You must take time to let your client know what the process and possible time lines of your efforts on their behalf will be.  If they are frustrated and anxious, remind them of what you’re doing for them and be realistic of the amount of time often needed for resolution of their debt.  With today’s technology, online systems are more available that allow your client to view what’s happening with their claims.  If you can, provide this access.  If needed, be sure to provide regular reports.  Of course, when you get a communication asking for something it is essential that you provide an answer quickly (even if that answer is that you received the request and will get back with them soon).

In the debt collection industry, those companies and people who forward us business are considered clients.  The word client is generally used in an industry providing a service instead of a product.  It is important to remember that clients often make references to their peers, so how you treat the ones you have may determine the new ones whom you hope to provide service.  Clients are people, and people talk.  Bad news travels faster than good, so make sure all that anyone can say about their experience is positive.


Meet Mark V. Matz

Mark V. Matz - began working in the broadcast media for WGN Radio and Television in Chicago, IL (a part of the Tribune Company) back in the late 1970's as part of the team on the then number one rated radio program. He later worked in the station’s Sports Department working for Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcasters Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray and Lou Boudreau - before moving into the Finance Department at WGN, reaching the title of Credit Manager in 1986.

Moving beyond broadcasting, he went to work in the credit industry on the association side of the business before branching out to provide marketing services to a number of members of the industry ranging from attorneys, collection agencies and law list publishers. Mark served on staff as Marketing and Membership Director for the CLLA and remains active with the association; including serving as Co-Chair of the National Marketing Committee and on the Midwest Regional Executive Council. He also served on the Creditors’ Rights Executive Council, as Secretary of the Association of Law List Publishers and in various positions on other CLLA and Commercial Collection Agency Association committees. Mark has written numerous articles and spoken at a number of educational programs on marketing, finance, credit and collection issues during his thirty-plus year career.

Currently, Mark is the Chief Marketing Officer of Viking World Corp, the parent company for many businesses which provide marketing opportunities for collection and legal entities throughout the United States. Mark is also pleased to serve as the President of the National Board of Collection Attorneys, a membership based organization which provides maximum web exposure for its elite collection attorney members through the utilization of premium online marketing and promotional techniques. 

 

 

 

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