Collectors Have All The Fun
As a Collection Manager you are constantly juggling your responsibilities, making sure that you are meeting your goals, but also making sure that your staff is happy. CMs can do this by using contests for collectors, or implementing a generous bonus structure to keep the hard workers motivated. Something that happens a lot is the way the rest of the company feels about all the extras and fun the collectors get to have, and may at times frustrate the administrative and support staff who feel that their value isn’t appreciated. They start asking themselves; “Why do the collectors have all the fun?”. Some managers may say that one group of employees are more important to the organization than others, but at the end of the day, EVERYONE counts. So that leaves the question of how do you show it?
Collectors can fall into a category of employees known as the Income Generators (IG), and support staff and administrative employees can fall into the non-income generators category, or simply an overhead expense. Every business should analyze their staff’s return on investment. In our post about goal setting (HERE), we talked about setting effective goals for collectors based on the desired ROI. So how do we analyze an employee’s ROI if they aren’t an IG? Some managers in the collection industry struggle to find ways to measure results of their non-IGs. If their work doesn’t equate to a dollar value, what do I measure? It’s really not that tricky, and can actually be a wonderful tool for increasing the efficiency of your support staff and your office all around!
Everyone who works for a business has the overall goal of reducing the cost of their work and increasing their productivity. It’s easy to answer the question; Who’s the best collector? because everything they do results in a number or stated value, and all you have to do is find the person who collects the most money. Any real CM knows that you can’t stop there, because there are collectors who may out-collect the entire company but are still on the top of the list for the chopping block. Other factors like; compliance with disclosures/scripts, overall talk off approach and attitude, customer service skills, brand awareness, attendance, etc. can make a good employee great. If you’re really trying to pin point who is number one, you have to break it down to average dollars per call, average talk time to collect, average number of calls before payment, etc. This way you can maximize that employees time and efficiency, but that’s a Collection Management discussion we’ll save for another day.
So how do you find a measuring system for administrative staff and support staff? Right now most managers are asking themselves who their best non-IG employees are, and more likely than not, it’s the person who they personally deal with most frequently who doesn’t make many mistakes. That doesn’t mean that the person you don’t deal with on the regular isn’t a fantastic employee, but without the objective and obvious results driven environment the collectors have, it’s easy to overlook quality staff members due to the lack of review of their work. These positions are what we like to call “Hygiene Staff”. No you didn’t read that wrong, hygiene like personal hygiene. Why do we call it that? Well, here’s the idea; in the collection environment, collectors are the stars. There is immediate gratification and excitement related to their performance; a big payment, a closed deal, a BIF. Well, for the admin and support staff, they’re success isn’t even noticed, but their errors are always exposed. Insert the “hygiene” element. The roles these staff members play is like simple hygiene; shower, shave, deodorant, brushing your teeth, etc. The more mistakes you make with your hygiene, the stinkier and less put together you will be. The reason it relates to the support staff is because you very rarely hear someone say; “Hey Jimmy, great job today putting deodorant on, I’m so grateful that this place doesn’t smell like an onion factory. Keep up the great work.” but you can believe that if Jimmy stops wearing deodorant, the entire office will know to avoid him like the plague.
So how do we reward the staff members who are only noticed when they make mistakes and rarely celebrated for doing a good job? It’s quite simple actually. First and foremost, we need to now what it is they do exactly. So let’s solve that problem by asking them to make a list of their tasks and how much of their day they devote to that particular task. Then, after you review it, you can tell them that over the next two weeks you will pick three days at random and ask them to submit their results of their daily work. Pick three random days, wait until the end of the day, and then review their results and determine their average output. Now you know that employee’s average outputs, and hopefully the three days you picked gets you an average day for that employee. Make sure you avoid days with long meetings and emergency situations. Now, just set a goal. Tell the employee you want to see their performance increase by 15-20% in a month, but don’t just send them on their way, help them find ways to be more efficient and get more done. You can easily monetize this goal too! Setting thresholds for each percentage increase; 15% increase is $50 bonus, 25% is $100 and so on. The idea here is to make sure your support staff knows that it’s not always about doing “extra”, it can very much be fixing their own workflows so that they can do more. You can even offer a bonus like $200 for any new policy or policy change that increases department efficiency. Get people to buy in to making their job more efficient, and reward them for doing so.
The best advice we can give the non-IG staff managers is that EVERYONE, especially in this industry, is motivated by bonuses and contest opportunities. That’s the nature of the game. So don’t be afraid to be creative, and the better your support staff get at their jobs, the higher your ROI will be, and the more likely it will be that the rest of the office will be that much better.