How can you deal with vulnerable customers?
One of the benefits of the new guide is that it’s based on first-hand experience of real collections professionals. This helps to ensure it takes a practical and realistic approach to vulnerability – and in a way that is commercially viable.
The Credit Services Association (CSA) highlights that the 21 steps in the guide are not just recommendations. They should also be seen as strategies to help staff cope with specific challenges that many credit and collections professionals deal with on a daily basis – such as customers facing problems like terminal illness, bereavement, addiction and mental health issues.
One unique aspect of the new guide is that it provides advice for supporting team members who work with vulnerable clients. After all, dealing with difficult situations can also take its toll on workers, and this important issue is rarely covered.
Section 17 of the report explains: “Working with customers in vulnerable situations can affect staff emotionally, physically and professionally. With an emphasis often placed on empathy, active listening and connecting with customers, this can impact over time on staff well being. Clearly, staff affected in these ways will be less able to effectively support the customers they work with, or to contribute to the teams that they work within.”
Some of the specific points highlighted in the guide include having to deal with one distressing call after another, making an emotional investment in customer discussions and handling matters that ‘hit home’ personally.
Recommendations for supporting team members more effectively include:
- Recognising potential impact.
- Speaking to staff about specific challenges.
- Creating a team support network.
- Offering one-to-one peer support.
- Providing access to both internal and external personal support.
Ensuring teams have the right tools to hand can also be an important part of supporting staff. For example, OnGuard credit management software can help to reduce stress, ensure work is carried out effectively and streamline processes so staff can take time to provide a high level of service to every customer.
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OnGuard offers software that enables you to combine customer relationship management with credit management. The result is a truly relationship-focused approach to all of your customer service functions – something that will be sure to help your business see future growth.