Thousands of clients have already made the call to Accredited Debt Relief to receive their free consultation, but how can they know they’re getting top-quality service? We interviewed Quality Assurance Manager Colleen Knutson to learn more about Accredited Debt Relief’s quality assurance team, as well as how they ensure that clients are receiving consistent and trustworthy support.
Working at Accredited Debt Relief
How long have you worked at Accredited Debt Relief? What has your career here looked like?
I’ve been a quality assurance manager at Accredited Debt Relief for two years and three months now. Previously, I’ve worked in all areas of contact centers, including sales, operations, service and quality assurance (QA).
It’s super exciting to see how Accredited Debt Relief grows and how we’re driving that change. We’re constantly improving our processes.
What does a typical day in the workplace look like for you?
My team always starts with a check-in every morning, and we set up our goals for the day. Throughout the day, I’m calibrating on any issues that might pop up with the team, reviewing results from the previous day, and addressing any hot topics that require immediate coaching. Also, we develop and delegate audit requests, review call recordings, create and review QA evaluation reports and manage our voice analytics tools.
Our teams have been steadily hiring to keep up with the demand for our program, which is great. Each week, I conduct a new-hire user training on our user analytics tools and the important role that quality assurance plays at Accredited Debt Relief. I emphasize that we’re here to help them develop their skills not only from a Certified Debt Specialist standpoint, but also from a quality standpoint.
What do you love about Accredited Debt Relief’s San Diego office?
The fact that it’s in San Diego is obviously my number one — it’s beautiful every day! You can take a walk around our building almost 360 days a year without a jacket. As for the office itself, everybody is friendly, they’re smart, they’re just good people. It’s a cheerful place to work. There’s a lot of comradery.
We also have a really strong collaborative management team – they’re helpful and upbeat, and they’re constantly acknowledging their teams’ efforts and lead with a positive approach to coaching. If somebody’s saying something incorrectly, for example, it’s more like “let’s talk about it, let’s find different ways to approach this to say the same thing and get the same end results.” I think that contributes to an environment where everyone likes what they do and each other.
The product we offer to our clients is excellent. We know it works and that our program helps. Some of the stories that our Certified Debt Specialists and QA teams hear, they just break your heart. So I think when someone at our company is able to improve a client’s situation by enrolling them in the program, it really makes them feel good, too.
Top-Tier Quality Assurance
What is quality assurance? What does your team do?
Quality assurance is a process that assures a certain standard of service is being delivered in each client interaction. QA is part of everyone’s daily life… as a company or a customer, or even a parent – could you imagine letting your 8-year-old leave for school without checking their outfit or their homework or their lunch? We do the same thing; our role is to achieve or exceed set standards.
We take the requirements from agencies that regulate the debt resolution agency, like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and we combine them with a variety of best practices to set a high standard of honesty, integrity and transparency. Then we track and trend our team’s performance against our standards.
The cool thing is we have a brilliant team of sales operations, training and legal leaders who have built all of these requirements into our training presentations and continuous learning. When our Certified Debt Specialists adhere to the scripts that have been created for them, we’re spot-on in meeting those governmental requirements that hold that standard for us.
Quality assurance doesn’t make the rules, but we do ensure they’re followed. There’s a heightened level of confidence and trust when clients know the company they’re working with is held accountable to a high standard. And that typically starts with being truthful – we’re going to do what we say and achieve those results.
How does quality assurance help Accredited Debt Relief and their clients?
We view ourselves as partners with our Certified Debt Specialists. Together, we’re creating a better experience for the client.
Primarily, our roles are to review the client’s experience, from their first call to graduating from the program, and eliminate anything that could have an adverse effect. Our “quality quest” is to protect the company, our clients and employees by avoiding risk and evaluating performance, providing feedback and ensuring we meet the expectations of the federal and state agencies in each area that we serve.
It’s imperative that the message our teams convey is consistent, truthful and conspicuous. We don’t just find an issue once, communicate it and move on to the next issue. We share our findings, confirm with the manager that coaching has taken place, give the team member a couple of days to practice, and then circle back to ensure they implement that correction. So it’s not just like we’re finding things and moving on. We’re going to make sure they’re taking the right steps because that was the feedback that was given.
Tell me more about your job as quality assurance manager. What are you responsible for?
I manage a team of quality assurance specialists. Some of the responsibilities I have are to develop and maintain the quality assurance criteria, and that’s based on the compliance requirements from different agencies and the evolving requirements from the operations team.
We also conduct call and performance evaluations to ensure our Certified Debt Specialists are representing and providing complete and accurate information throughout the client’s entire journey. Not only do we listen to the consultation calls, but we listen to the onboarding calls and debt resolution calls. We aim for seamless communication all the way from when we first say “hello” to a client to their program graduation.
With that, we track Certified Debt Specialist performance, identify trends and training needs, and give feedback and coaching strategies when needed. We always want to make sure we’re in sync and provide transparency for those kinds of expectations.
What is your favorite part about working with your team?
My QA team rocks — they’re superstars. I’m truly blessed to work with a talented group of quality assurance specialists here in San Diego and Houston. They each have years of experience in contact centers and in quality assurance. They’re experts in their field, they have this great attention to detail, and they truly care about the client’s experience. They’re not just doing a job; they add value by communicating opportunities for our team members to improve, because they know improvements go all the way up to the client.
I love when we collaborate on a project or report and how eager they are to be helpful and drive positive changes. Accredited Debt Relief is lucky to have them.
What kinds of qualities do you look for in a quality assurance team member?
It’s essential that they have attention to detail. We’re listening to the same types of calls — it’s those nuances we’re making sure we’re aware of. Attention to detail and having an analytical capability are important.
We’re proactive, responsive and accessible — not the type of QA team that’s in a back office dinging people for errors with no explanation. In fact, we want the agents to “embrace the ding” so they can learn from it. We believe you can’t grow if you don’t know. There’s no point in us clicking a box saying you did something wrong if it’s not being communicated in a respectful and positive way.
Quality Debt Relief
What are the biggest hesitations you hear from clients about starting a debt relief program?
There’s a lot of different things. Two common thought processes are, “you used the money, you pay your debts,” and “this is a trick if I can pay less than what I owe.” But the reality for some of those credit cards is that you’ve already paid your debt back and they’re now just charging you additional interest. Because you keep paying those minimum payments, though, you’re not going anywhere.
Many people don’t want to close their credit cards because they’re a safety net. Especially now — nobody’s using cash anymore, and it’s like not having plastic in your pocket makes you feel exposed or vulnerable.
I’m often surprised by how many credit cards people have and the low minimum payments they make on each card. There’s a codependency, almost, with some credit card companies. Somebody’s gotta break the debt cycle. Cash is still king.
What signs should someone look for when exploring their debt relief options and consulting with different companies?
You want straightforward answers to the tough questions. They need to be direct. Whether it be credit impact, timeline, next steps with creditors… if a company hesitates or they’re dismissive of your question and don’t provide a direct, easy-to-understand answer, then you should move on.
What’s the best advice you would give to someone who’s considering enrolling in a debt relief program?
Know your debt details and your situation. You should know how much you owe, what you aren’t paying and what you should be paying. Then you should do your research and read reviews.
I’d also say to stop procrastinating. The sooner you start, the sooner your debt will decrease and your savings will increase. The stress of carrying all that debt will dissolve. If you’re serious about this, do it now.