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Jodie Bedoya (Director of eMatrix) and Alex Daniel (Principal trainer and coach at eMatrix) recently ran a workshop with Wannon Water on the topic of Family Violence. With the rise of about 6.7%* in family violence incidents reported to police between June 2019 to June 2020, it is so important and positive to see that more organisations in Australia are starting to embrace the topic in their staff training programs.

While raising awareness of family and domestic violence at the workplace is essential, for staff in the Hardship and Collections team, it is now not enough just to have awareness. According to Jodie, “organisations should be looking to move beyond awareness towards better outcomes for customers and better protect staff with tools to protect themselves mentally and professionally”.

Alex further added, “the severity of the topic means, staff in those roles need to understand the rules of engagement. What does that mean? It means training staff to identify the red flags and having the right tools to open to the next level of conversation with clients. After all, it is still a collection call.”

Intrinsically, there will always be challenges for organisations in identifying family or domestic violence due to its complexity and subtleties, and it can be confronting when a customer shares intimate and personal details.

The solution is practice, open discussions, reviewing real scenarios and on the spot coaching. There is no black and white solution; there are many grey areas in conversations relating to family or domestic violence.

Staff at Wannon Water were quick to ask questions and eager to engage in role plays throughout the 2-hour virtual classroom training. By limiting the participants to a maximum of 8 in each group, the training ensured the best interaction, engagement and learning potential.

According to Alex, “Everyone has a different style of handling calls. So finding a way that works for the collector whilst utilising the tools provided to them, is key when dealing with these types of challenging calls”.

Alex shared some tailored examples when participants were not entirely comfortable with the sample language presented at the workshop. He added, “It is about getting comfortable with the set tools, one at a time. Understanding what is in the collector’s headspace and their hesitation in using those tools enables us to help them identify a personalised way to suit their personality”.

This method of coaching enabled individual staff to understand better how it can work for them by making it their own and visualising wins in their calls.

Customers will be willing to tell you only what they are ready to share. There is no straight path. Collection and Hardship team members need to use their intuition to create human connection and trust. In most cases, many staff run on autopilot. Through professional coaching, organisations can equip staff to become more powerful communicators and understand the need to ask the right questions whilst keeping the customer and themselves safe. Most importantly, it is about keeping staff prepared when a family violence case presents itself.


Click here for more information on Family Violence training.