Our collections centre boasts around 140 operatives and is a crucial part of our business. The key objective in the department is to speak to our customers to find the right solution to their financial issues and get them back on track. But what is it like working in such a fast paced and busy environment? Dean Virdee, a customer service agent provided his thoughts on the life in our collections centre…….
I have worked at BW Legal for two and a half years. Prior to this I initially worked in customer services and then moved in to debt recovery at the same company. My initial role in customer services was a good introduction to working in a telephony environment and helping customers.
I joined BW Legal in 2015. This role was quite a change for me having not had much exposure to the legal sector. The training was quite intense as there was lots of new procedures and rules to follow because of BW Legal’s focus on doing things the right way when it comes to consumer collections.
At first the role was quite daunting. There is a lot of responsibility in dealing with customers fairly and ethically. I knew that if I misinformed a customer or instigated an incorrect action on a matter, it could have a detrimental effect on a customer and their credit file.
Due to the training provided and also the help and support of my new colleagues, I overcame my initial apprehension and worries. The one thing I remember more than anything else is how friendly and welcoming everyone was, from the COO, the solicitors and of course my colleagues within the collections centre. The management team are very supportive and there is not the “us and them” culture found that you find in other companies. We’re all pulling in the same direction – to try and assist our customers to find the best way forward whilst keeping our client’s objectives in mind.
Our department at BW Legal is fast-paced, with new clients on-boarding all the time. As we treat clients individually, we have to learn new rules and procedures to make sure that the collection approach we adopt and the information we give to our clients’ customers is accurate and effective for our clients. I have noticed that doing things this way gets much better results than simply applying a standard debt collection process across all clients.
BW Legal always seem to be at the forefront of industry innovations and I like being part of that. For example there is a lot of helpful technology we can access internally which guides us how to do our job properly. There are also plenty of means by which customers can communicate with us, such as the online portal, which makes it possible for customers to service their own accounts 24 hours a day – pretty much like online banking, which I think is great.
My role is pretty varied. I get to speak to all types of characters. Debt does not discriminate and can affect any of us at any time. One call could be dealing with a ‘live’ account for one of our clients, then next could be trying to help a customer after legal action has been taken. It is imperative we give unbiased information that is factually correct and that we do so with empathy for each separate individual’s circumstances.
I think the perception of the work we do is that we are only here to collect as much money as we can for our clients and that we receive bonuses based on recovering larger sums of money. That’s a very old fashioned viewpoint. We are help customers reach an affordable and sustainable outcome. If a customer is provided with an affordable repayment plan then they are far more likely to maintain the same and are more inclined to contact us when things may change. This means we are setting the right arrangement for the right customer.
We pride ourselves on finding solutions that please our customers, clients and us as a business. This way, everyone wins. My role is essentially here to give the factual options available to customers and find the best solution for their particular set of circumstances.
One of the most challenging, but also rewarding, areas of my role is dealing with vulnerable customers. In these situations we need to ask a number of questions to gain a full understanding of their situation. I do understand that many people are going through very difficult times in their life and debt can cause further issues that may impact their health and wellbeing. It can be distressing to listen to what some people are going through but I always try to show empathy where appropriate. BW Legal are therefore very focussed in training us how to deal with vulnerable people, how to show empathy to them, and how to escalate internally if we are concerned about a customer’s welfare.
The rewarding side of this, is when a customer is made to feel relieved that you have helped them in what is a difficult time for them. We also provide telephone numbers for independent organisations that may be able to assist them, many of these can be found on our website.
There is no better feeling of a job well done than when a customer calls back to thank you for helping them and explains their health has improved as a result of how we have dealt with them.
Progression in the business is very evident. I’ve seen and heard of a number of colleagues progressing their way up the career ladder here. In the future, I would like to move in to the training side of the business. I want to be able to help new and existing employees like my colleagues helped me.
I currently help with training by having new starters listen in to my calls. I enjoy being able to impart my advice and work experiences on them and feel a great sense of joy when they get on the phone and deliver outstanding results for the business, clients and customers and knowing I was a small part of helping them on that journey.
Being part of one of the largest, forward thinking and award winning debt recovery law firms is hugely rewarding in so many ways.