KO Customer Spotlight – ECSI

As we celebrate our 3 year anniversary, we couldn’t be more proud of the partnerships we’ve developed with our highly valued clients. We would like to take a moment to spotlight loan management company, ECSI.

I was able to speak with Director of Servicing Operations, Mike Bowman, about ECSI’s service offerings, business challenges and even, what he believes is on the horizon when it comes to staffing and retaining great employees.  I’m excited to share these insights with you!

 

Q. So Mike, what would you say is challenging about managing a call center in the world of loan management today vs. 5-10 years ago?

A. I think you could ask that same question regardless of industry, Shannon. When anyone contacts your call center today they continue to expect correct, friendly, and helpful assistance, but they also don’t want to wait on hold and they want to be able to contact you through the channel of their choice.

In order to accommodate our customers today we use self-help IVRs, live chat, email, and text messaging in addition to phones as communication channels. Three years ago digital communication made up 10% of our overall traffic. Today, it accounts for 40% of our overall traffic!

Q. Wow!  That’s interesting.  I can imagine many of your competitors see that change as well.  How does ECSI ensure what their offering stands out among the competition?

A. We believe our staff is the number one difference. The company spends a lot of time training staff to become industry and subject matter experts in all things loan servicing. Our clients (and their students) get access to highly skilled business partners; people who are knowledgeable but also creative in solving complex and unique challenges.

Secondly, our quality of work. We take great pride in our productivity, but also our quality assurance. While there are a large number of entities that audit us and watch our work, no one is harder on ECSI than ECSI. We invest heavily in checking our work from legal, accuracy, regulatory, and factual perspectives so our clients never have to worry about the quality of work we provide them.

Q. I love that…  “No one is harder on ECSI than ECSI”.  Aside from the training you mentioned, how else does ECSI invest in their staff and keep them engaged?

A. Employee engagement has always been in the top 5 objectives ECSI sets for itself each year. We began a strategic effort to improve employee engagement in 2017 when we noted how high our turnover rate was. We wanted to create a culture where employees didn’t just “stick around” but willingly contributed their very best effort.

Since 2017 our turnover rate has significantly improved and people are staying with the company. For example, during 2018, 52% of our staff had been with the company less than just one year. Now, in April of 2019, just 21% of our staff has been here less than one year.

Some things ECSI does to keep staff engaged are 1) employee led department meetings, 2) career pathing, 3) formal training paths, 4) job shadowing, 5) regular team huddles and employee / supervisor one-to-ones, 6) company meetings, and 7) monthly lunches with our company executive.

Q. Wow!  It sounds like the staff at ECSI has many reasons to stay motivated and contribute.  In working with ECSI, I can say that I’ve felt that positive energy.  I’d also say that in a short amount of time, KO Business Solutions and ECSI have forged a strong partnership. Would you agree?

A. We like the KO Management. They are seasoned service and operations pros. It is not uncommon for our two groups to share ideas, collaborate on service projects, or troubleshoot problems together. Each group has its strengths and we have found that our backgrounds and experiences work well together.

 

Should you find yourself in need of hiring help and are looking for a true partner – not just a vendor, we hope you’ll contact us to talk about your business needs.  I’d like to thank Mike Bowman, Director of Servicing Operations at ECSI, again for speaking with me and allowing me to share his thoughts!  For more information on ECSI, please visit their website.

 

 

Implementing Employee Retention Strategies = #Relationship Goals

It’s no secret that the largest percentage of most businesses’ profit and loss statement is wages and salaries. Attrition within the first 90 days is a bit hit to P&L – up to 33% an individuals’ salary or more if occurred before Day 45!  There are many negatives to losing an employee early beyond financial loss. It can really hurt morale, due to feelings of time wasted and starting back at the hiring drawing board. If discussion and implementation of employee retention strategies isn’t happening at your company, it should be! Here are some reasons why and a solution to consider.

Not Married Yet!

Most companies assume the onboarding process is complete at offer acceptance – but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research shows that the onboarding process needs to continue with frequent contact after hire, especially within the first 45 days and even up to 90 days post hire.

Because in this competitive job market, just because your new employee agreed to your offer, it doesn’t mean they are fully committed.  They’re not married to the job — yet. In fact, 20% of all attrition occurs within the first 45 days after hire, and 17% within the first 90 days.

Why is this? The top three reasons new hires (even very qualified ones) leave too soon include miscommunication regarding job responsibilities, feelings of unpreparedness for the role due to poor training, and lack of a supportive community in the workplace.

Competition is Fierce

The issue of attrition is a long-known one, but it’s worse today than ever before. In this tight job market, unemployment rates are at record low, and job-seekers have many suitors. In fact, unemployment rates are predicted to continue to drop slightly lower in 2019, from 3.9% to 3.6%. Because of this, candidates know they have options, and they’re not only looking for top dollar, but the most ideal overall employment situation possible.

All About Engagement

So if you’ve made a great hire, and you want to keep them engaged and productive, what’s the solution? Should you consider investing more in corporate gimmicks, like free lunches and a ping pong table in the breakroom? Possibly, but surface level solutions won’t work in the long run. Like any successful relationship, commitment and communication is key.

What we’ve seen time and time again is that a happy marriage between a job and an employee requires a clearly defined and regularly practiced employee-focused engagement and training program, not just for 30 days, but during an extended onboarding period, such as 90 days from hire.

During this time, your employee should have the chance to speak with someone regularly whom they feel safe with, in a setting where they can disclose their real concerns and questions. They should have regular opportunities get clarification regarding job responsibilities, check-in on training progress and roadblocks, while feeling truly supported regarding challenges and accomplishments in their new position. Your goal should be to provide an employee to trainer/HR person ratio of 5:1, which will allow for the appropriate amount of time to focus on the development of each new hire.

From what we see day in and day out, this is a far cry from what is happening today in many businesses. A medium-sized company has a training class of approximately 10-20 new hires with only one training manager to oversee them all. This is a recipe for attrition, because new employees, just like new relationships, need time, attention and care if you want them to blossom.

A Solution to Consider

If you’re thinking that all this talk about employee retention strategies sounds good, but that you don’t have the time, expertise or staff to get it done, we have a solution. At KO, we follow retention best practices and have a 5:1 ratio of staff solely dedicated to employee engagement during their first 90 days from hire for all our clients. This means if you begin hiring through us, you will become part of the family and our time-tested, successful traditions. Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways we help clients with employee retention strategies every day.

Hiring Check-Ins: We schedule check-ins with newly hired staff, providing that outlet employees need that is separate from their employer, and where they feel safe to disclose their challenges. We then provide you with feedback and recommendations on a regular basis, so you have the insights you need to potentially make adjustments with retention in mind.

Training: We offer individual training programs custom to each hire, in areas such as technological abilities, communication to customer service skills, TCPA Compliance, call management, first call resolution and handling rebuttals.

Efficiency: When it comes to making the employee training and engagement process efficient, we have you covered. A great advantage is that we can tailor training and communication sessions to meet your needs, including scheduling them outside regular work hours which keeps your new employee focused while on the job.

Worth the Work

And the payoff? Our employee retention strategies are proven to reduce early attrition by 25%! In addition, you can expect to see improved employee satisfaction, productivity, and quality of work.

Employee retention shouldn’t be an afterthought. It needs to take high priority to positively affect your P&L, keep morale high and allow your business to thrive. If you’d like to discuss this topic and how KO can assist your business in finding and retaining high quality talent, get in touch. We’ll help you create some long-lasting relationships to show off and be proud of! (aka #relationshipgoals!)