Your Repossession Office
Operating A Professional Repossession Office
No matter what happens in the field with your agents, your office will always be on the front line with the lenders. Your agents will rarely have interaction with your clients, unless a debtor calls the lender and puts the agent on the phone with the collector. The professionalism of your company will be revealed each day from the time the bell rings until quitting time. Your office will set the tone of your whole company. If they are sloppy and unprofessional, I promise you will lose business.
When a client contacts you office, they need to know that they are calling a professional company and not just the “repo man” Even if you company is a small family run business, the lender should never feel that impression. They should not be able to tell the difference of calling your office or the office of a Fortune 500 company.
You need to hire and train professional office staff that are capable of interacting with lenders that will be contacting your business. They need to be able to have the interpersonal communication skills to relate information about accounts accurately and efficiently. Your staff needs have phone etiquette, patience, computer skills as well as an ability to keep track of multiple accounts that your company is working. When a lender calls, they do not want to be on hold for hours, confused by updates that are inaccurate or lied to. Dishonesty is the one thing that will do irreparable damage to your company. I know that lenders can be overly persistent about their accounts, but is their job. Your job is to get their collateral secured, or at least have good information as to why it has not been picked up yet. If your office staff is on the ball and professional, then you have won the most of the battle already.
Have The Essential Office Tools That You NeedThe second thing to running a successful office is to have updated equipment and technology. I understand that you are attached to that 1950’s manual typewriter, but it is time to move on! Your office should have up to date computers, software, fax machines, and phone systems. Always have plenty of toner for your fax machine and printers. Think about purchasing a back up fax machine. You will be embarrassed if a lender is trying to fax you orders and you have to tell him that you are out of toner or your fax machine is broken.
Nothing irritates a client more than to be talking with someone in a repossession office and hear them shuffling through hundreds of papers to find an update or a condition report. If someone on your staff is going to be talking to lenders, then they need to have a computer and an efficient data base of all of the accounts that your company is running. However, it does no one any good to have an awesome data base of information that is not been updated. You need to have an employee entering new updates and condition reports every morning, so your staff is able to access that information form the data base when the client calls.
Another thing that lenders will not tolerate is always getting voicemails. You need to purchase a phone system that will accommodate multiple lines and also roll over to available lines when others are busy. You need to have enough staff to keep up with the call volume that you have as well. You can gauge how many lines and how many employees that you need in your office by the average number of calls each day. If you have 30 messages on your voicemail every hour, then it is time to add staff and phone lines! Also, do not have a cell phone an office number. Nothing says that you unprofessional more than when you are on the phone with a lender in your truck and the girl working the driver though at Burger King asks if you want to upsize your order!
Lastly, you need to have set office hours. You just can’t “shut the office down” because things are slow. You never can tell when your office will get busy. Or worse than that, the largest lender in the country calls your office to offer you a lucrative contract and they get a voice mail because you closed early. You also may want to consider your hours based on the location of the lenders that use you. If you have major clients on the East coast and the West coast, then you might want to open earlier and close later to accommodate them.
I know all of these things can be expensive and we hate to spend money if we do not have to. All I can say is that if you spend your money wisely, it can and will make you money. You do not have to gout and buy ten computers and hire eight more people for your office. Hire more people and buy more office equipment as you need to.
Please fell free to start a thread in the forum if you have any further information on this topic that you would like to share.