Measure Agent Empathy and Understanding in Collections

What works better, the carrot or the stick?

How can I prove it? How much does it matter?

Perhaps what you want to hear next is that we can help you meet these challenges and assuage these fears. We can — and we’ll get to that. But first, we want to validate you. 

Yes, some agents are far better than others.

Time for that validation. You’re right! Your fears are founded in reality. The good news is that identifying the problems is the first step toward new solutions. So, let’s talk about the problems.

1. An average agent actively engages with a borrower in only 7% of connected calls. The best agents perform at 3x that rate.

How?  Your best agents are able to successfully navigate the first 5 seconds of the call so well that they are able to engage the borrower and validate their identity 2-3x more often than the average agent. Our analysis of 10M+ relevant agent interactions has proven that the connection to genuine honesty and empathy is clear.

2. Of those performing at or below the mean, 67% aren’t expressing empathy in those critical first 5 seconds.

After analyzing the words, tone, pitch and pace from both the agent and the borrower, our research is clear: No matter how you define high / adequate / low levels of empathy, the direct correlation with performance is there. Those that convey high levels of empathy (top 33%) more than 60% of the time, are able to achieve a right-party-contact (RPC) 2-3 times as often as those that don’t. 

For decades, the ‘carrot or stick’ debate has raged. The results are in… the carrot is the winner! By far!

The absence of empathy can come back to bite you, resulting in poor customer experience that impacts everything from reaching the identity verification stage of the call to the subsequent payment rates. Perhaps equally as perilous is that your brand promises aren’t carrying through to service delivery, as these statistics indicate. 

3. While empathy clearly opens the door, being able to effectively navigate complex customer situations is key to getting a payment — and, again, only 33% of your agents excel.

As you know, when agents interact with your customers, they often run into situations that are complicated — beyond what is written down in the training manual. They must quickly and skillfully assess the customer’s problems, probe for even the slightest opportunity to close a payment, and ensure the customer is willing to cooperate. Our research shows that of the 35% of RPCs deemed ‘complex’, only 31% of agents are able to address the customer situation for more than 50% of the time.

Unpeeling What Makes a Fantastic Agent: Insight for Action

While every contact center has some semblance of analytics, the statistics in this blog post show exactly why you need… more. 

Deep insight into conversations, across channels, can support your efforts to gain agent adherence to regulation, shape your communications timelines and strategies, and, eventually, lead to action right where it needs to happen. 

With Prodigal, the right action is right at the agent’s fingertips. While interacting with customers, every agent can get real-time insight into their conversation. Beyond that, Prodigal can surface key tips to ensure no agent misses these important markers of success — from identity verification to empathic engagement. 

Want to learn more about Prodigal’s latest efforts in Insight and Action? Check out our real-time ecosystem.