Design and implementation of a Training Programme to set up a ‘virtual’ collections agency within the billing service function of two Water Companies.

The client wanted to achieve the following:

  • Move away from relying upon expensive and administration-intensive external collections agencies (where returns were running at 11% and commissions were between 35-50%)
  • Train staff from within the credit control and customer service call centre departments to ‘mimic’ the out-bound activity of a collections agency
  • Achieve 15% returns by using internal staff to collect arrears owed to the organisation

Key features of the programme:

  • On-site research
  • Final briefing
  • Design and preparation of the training materials
  • Orientation briefing for delegates
  • Two day classroom-style ‘arrears’ training
  • One day ‘management’ training (for team leaders)
  • Coaching and assessment for the arrears collection staff
  • Coaching for the team leaders
  • Evaluation and awarding of certificates

Client quote:

“In the three batches targeted so far we have had payment rates of 28%, 22.6% and 13.9%. These are higher collection rates than we ever achieved using an agency.”

“So far we have collected £350,000 which quite simply is money we would not have collected were it not for this project.”

“By doing the collecting ourselves and not using an agency we are in control from start to end – one clear advantage is how much we now know about our customers”

“I am delighted with the success – it was a very positive experience and people learned a lot from it – it was well focussed and helped people move outside their comfort zones”

NB: All 40 staff completed the two day training and have each received a coaching session and out of these 38 have been assessed as meeting the required standard.

During the training the three groups developed a set of ‘call guidelines’ that have now been accepted as ‘best practice’ for all outbound telephone arrears calls – thus ensuring a consistent and standardised approach.