Training a team in the business of debt collection
Denise Bechard – Debt Collection and Disputes Manager RICOH FRANCE
When the decision was made to bring back debt collection within RICOH, the issue of team training became crucial. What know-how should be given to people from diverse backgrounds, with essentially administrative skills but no knowledge of the business of debt collection? An account of acquiring these skills by Denise Bechard, RICOH’s debt collection and disputes manager in France.
How did bringing back debt collection in house go ?
Denise Bechard : « On the basis of volunteers internally. The team was formed by several employees from the sales administration department, others from telesales, etc. They all had training needs in the specific work of debt collection, in terms of both the communication – negotiation aspects and the legal aspects of the contract. »
So you organized training ?
D. B. : « The training took place on site in our day to day environment. The team developed a method of working: how to react quickly, prepare the interviews, be able to listen, use the “right words” identify the right person… but also, and very importantly, the legal basis of the contracts, the centrepiece of our organization. Training the staff gave them security and provided the team’s foundations. And even more so because the trainer was both accessible and highly professional, and knew Ricoh really well. The team was confident. »
What in practical terms was included in the programme ?
D. B. : « La formation s’est déroulée sur place, dans notre environnement quotidien. L’équipe a acquis une méthode de travail : comment réagir rapidement, bien préparer les entretiens, savoir écouter, utiliser les « bons mots », identifier le bon interlocuteur… mais aussi, et c’est très important, les bases juridiques des contrats, pièce centrale de notre organisation. Cette formation aux bonnes pratiques du recouvrement a sécurisé les collaborateurs et assuré les fondations de l’équipe. D’autant que le formateur était à la fois accessible et très professionnel, et connaissait parfaitement notre dossier. L’équipe était en confiance. »
Can you quantify the results of the training course ?
D. B. : « Apart from the fact it allowed us to set up a strong in-house team, I’ll give you one figure: in 6 months, we reduced our DSO from 57 to 43 days! We are therefore completely satisfied. »
« The team has acquired a working method but also, and very importantly, the legal basis for contracts, which is central to our organization. »