Several departments at third-party collection agencies — client relations, operations, compliance and quality assurance, sales and information technology — pool their resources to seamlessly onboard new national clients before the ink even dries on a new contract. The goal is to complete the implementation process and begin collecting in four to six weeks.
After the “go-live” date, these departments continue to serve national clients on a daily basis with the client relations team acting as the principle point of contact between the two organizations.
What is Client Relations?
Client relations is a function within firms selling products or services that provides business support and customer satisfaction to companies being served.
Generally speaking, client relations departments respond to client queries, assess service problems, resolve issues and escalate client complaints if necessary. In practice, client relations departments attend to hundreds of related tasks for product or service providers.
Client Relations at Debt Collection Agencies
Client relations departments at third-party collection agencies are typically composed of a client relations manager and client relations support staff.
These departments are responsible for scheduling internal and external meetings, updating consumer account information, generating reports, managing letter-writing strategies, coordinating collection notices, and issuing payment receipts. They also handle incoming calls from clients; collection agreements; document inbound and outbound mail, email and faxes; set up new consumer accounts; and assist collection operations as needed.
For example, internal meetings might be attended by the client relations manager, collection managers, the director of operations, and member of the agency’s executive team.
External meetings may consist of weekly conference calls between representatives of the agency (e.g. client relations manager and director of operations) and client representatives from departments such as account resolution, loss mitigation, or recovery operations.
Agencies typically exchange files with clients using secure file transfer protocols (SFTP) in conjunction with encryption and related software.
In the area of account information, the work may entail receiving a new group of consumer accounts to begin collections or entering details about a deceased consumer.
Furthermore, reporting is a huge factor in monitoring debt collection efficiency, and is highly valued by agencies and clients alike.
Client relations coordinates a variety of standard and customized reports and furnishes them to clients via arranged schedules.
Standard reports document information about right-party contacts; bankruptcies; call and letter campaign logs; compliance; consumer payments; dialer efficiency; individual, team and bucket scoring; internal and external audits; and other parameters.
Reports can be customized and delivered in any frequency requested by clients.
Client Relations Manager
As the designated project manager, client relations managers help ensure clients are satisfied with the existing working relationship between the two organizations as well as the performance and responsiveness of the agency.
They serve as a reliable point of contact, take necessary action to improve relations, escalate communications to the executive team as necessary, settle client and or consumer disputes and complaints, and solve problems if issues arise.
Client relations managers may make recommendations, track metrics and analytics, or otherwise serve as an intermediary between the client and the agency.
They also provide guidance to clients, an overview of available options, make service recommendations, and refine services to meet the clients’ needs.
Finally, the work environment of client relations manager includes daily contact with clients via phone and or email.
The client relations function is an essential component of the agency-client relationship.
The client relations manager is generally the point person during the request for proposal (RFP) process, confirming that proposals are completed in full with attached documentation as required by clients.
If proposals are accepted, client relations managers confirm expectations and coordinate nearly all of the steps required to make the account go live: meeting schedules and attendees, operations strategies, reporting protocols and templates, the programming of collection software and other IT functions, file transmission protocols, training requirements and the testing of all systems.
The job requires enormous attention to detail that serves agencies and clients by helping to create working relationships that can span decades.
Client Relations at Optio Solutions
Client Relations at Optio Solutions is a proactive department fulfilling all of the functions described above. The client relations manager has nearly 30 years of industry experience, and is regularly complimented by clients for having high standards of excellence.
Contact us today to learn about Optio’s Client Relations department and how it helps clients garner a favorable return on investment, brand protection and customer retention for national clients in education, energy and utilities, financial services, and retail.