We catch up with Garth on a busy afternoon. He is sitting behind his desk with a long list of names and telephone numbers to get through. There are about 8 other people at different desks that seem to be doing the same. This is Garth’s domain; he is the customer services manager for a payday lender.
The lists of people that the employees are busy calling are customers of a large Payday loan company. The customers have one thing in common: they have missed a payment or a few or defaulted on repayments of their loans altogether.
Garth explains that a single employee can call up to 100 people a day depending on whether the clients call back. We stand in, listening as Garth takes a call:
“Hello, please can I speak to Mr. X? Oh, is he in the bedroom? Yes, I see. Can you please ask him nicely to come to the phone? He is where? I thought I heard you say was in the bedroom…”
Being a customer services manager for a payday lender – is it a high-stress job?
After listening to how Grant dealt with the client on the phone, it was clear that the client had no intention of talking to him. With many clients not wanting to engage in conversation about their debt and how to sort it out, one would think that the phone operators would become frustrated, angry, and even aggressive. This is clearly not the case. The staff is composed. There is a friendly atmosphere and none of the aggressive shouting and slamming the phone down that we have been led to believe. Maybe Garth is an extra special customer services manager for a payday lender because the reported abuse of payday lenders over the phone is not coming from this office.
A few phone calls that a manager for a payday lender can expect to make
Garth settles down to begin his day and we decide to follow him for the first calls of the day. He explains that there are basically three types of clients. One that takes out a loan and pays it back, one that takes out a loan but needs help to pay it back, and lastly one who takes out loans and cannot pay them back at all.
Our first phone call is to a client that has let her loan roll over the maximum of times and never repaid a single pound. The records show that she has been called 10 times and has eluded the phone calls. Today’s phone call is no different.
The next client’s phone line is switched off so Garth tries to reach him at work. He is informed that the client is not in the office. Garth requests that he be called back, but this tactic has not worked before and Garth does not expect any change.
The following client has taken out a debt management plan to help with the large debt he is in. He has, however, only paid 1.49 pounds into the plan so far. This does not look promising.
Grant, the customer’s services manager for a payday lender keeps a big sign on the wall of the office.
“Always communicate with customers in a fair and accurate manner. Identify yourself fully.”
Well, there does not seem to be any threats and abuse leaving this office via a telephone line.