Collections is a tough job, no matter how good the pay or benefits. It is a constant merry-go-round of people who are rude, vague or just otherwise not interested in talking with your staff. Initiate a few fun games that will not only allow your collections staff to unwind and have some fun, but also will be educational in nature.
Collections staffers have tough jobs because they are forced to deal with often-cranky customers who already have shown a lack of willingness or ability to pay their bills. If you come up with fun ways to get the staff motivated, it may mitigate some of the stress associated with collecting money from people who are not so willing to give it up.
Play motivational games at staff meetings to get employees eager to tackle the day ahead. You can also schedule breaks for staff a few at a time and take a game break, just to give everyone a reprieve from answering the phone. The more you can motivate the staff just ahead of or in the middle of a shift, the more likely they may be to follow protocol and be more patient and willing to work with customers for the rest of their time on the clock.
This is a play on the traditional game of Pictionary and can be used to demonstrate common excuses used by customers. Play this one at a meeting and after someone gets the right answer, and then quickly discuss ways to combat common excuses for lack of payment. For example, someone might draw a picture of a person with a hard hat, tools and a broken heart to symbolize loss of employment. Talk about ways to deal with customers who may be dealing with job loss when you call for payment. One of the greatest motivators for a collections staff is knowing what to say when presented with tough situations; it ensures that they are saying the right things to get the best results for the company.
Because collections staff deal with a myriad financial issues, you can take a number of different games and tailor them to the industry, so be creative in coming up with games to motivate your collections staff. For example, create a "Monopoly" board with collections issues and terms for each place on the board and allow staff to play it during downtime. Provide a monetary incentive for the winner and use the game to educate everyone about the industry in which they work.
Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.