Blog

Helping customers find free financial advice

01Nov

The faster people with unmanageable debt get back on their feet, the better it is for everyone. We understand how stressful and overwhelming the experience can be for many people. To ensure they have all the information they need to make the best decisions for their situation, we actively promote the free financial resources available.

These resources provide free help and guidance on:

  • managing and consolidate debts
  • Asking for help
  • Budgeting and saving tools
  • Legal assistance

 

Sian Ineson, Managing Director said:

“The majority of customers we come into contact with are not aware of that there are free financial resources available to them. Actively promoting these online tools and financial counselling services is an important part of our role, helping to financially rehabilitate customers sooner and to ease feelings of isolation and helplessness. ASIC’s MoneySmart is a fantastic resource, providing fast help to those who need it and providing budgeting tools that can safeguard long-term financial health”  

Other handy resources that can help people manage debt include:

Focusing on Information Security Awareness this October

22Oct Information Security Awareness decorations from around the office

This month we’ve decked out our premises with Halloween decorations as a reminder of how to avoid becoming a technology horror story.

Sian Ineson, Managing Director and Head of Support Services said:

“We’ve seen so many examples around the world of people in businesses clicking on links or taking process shortcuts and landing in a data breach or cyber-attack. Since employees are the most important asset in data hack prevention, we’re conducting in-depth training this month.”

The training will focus on three key pillars, including:

  • Availability – ensuring all authorised parties are able to access the information and systems they need to do their jobs, and that information is recoverable in the event of a disruption
  • Confidentiality – protecting information from disclosure to unauthorised parties, whether internal or external, intentional or unintentional
  • Integrity – protecting information from unauthorised modification or deletion, whether internal or external, intentional or unintentional, to ensure it is accurate and complete

Our people will be learning how to identify and avoid risks, understand why and how CFMG classifies, handles and disposes of information, and how important it is to follow information security policies such as password practices.

“Not only will this training help us to reduce the risk of a data breach or less, it’ll help us improve overall efficiency and help us to deliver even more for our wonderful clients,” said Sian.

Recognising Employees For Doing a Crackin’ Good Job

05Oct

Every few months at Central Finance Management Group we recognise those who have gone above and beyond to deliver incredible work through our Crackin’ Good Job Awards.

Our employees have access to a staff ‘shout out’ wall where they can write a little note of thanks to a colleague anytime and nominate them for an award. Once the wall is looking pretty full, we see which shout outs deserve a closer look. This month we recognise three employees for doing a cracking job this quarter.

Pradha Gurumahan, a Solicitor with our legal firm, Linton Pitt Lawyers joined CFMG in June and has quickly become an invaluable part of the Linton Pitt team.

Navneet Mullee said:

“Pradha is always going out of her way to support her colleagues by putting her hand up to share the workload. She balances competence with friendliness and kindness and we’re so grateful to have her on board.”

Ross Edwards was recently promoted to Acting Head of Collections and has very quickly stepped up to face the new role head on.

Dermot Ormsby said:

“Ross volunteered at short notice to attend a collections conference in Kuala Lumpur where he also had a speaking role on a panel. His performance was stellar and he remained cool, calm and collected showing that he’s up for any challenge.”

Corri-Jade Dalby is a Team Leader in the Collections Team and put in an enormous effort when other management team members and colleagues were out of the office.

Sian Ineson said:

“Corri-Jade did whatever it took to maintain performance and quality while some key players were out of the office. She showed her excellent work ethic by picking up extra tasks and really owning her role.”

Each nomination is judged according to the Central Finance Management Group Family Values. This quarter’s winners demonstrated the following:

  • Deliver Client Service Excellence
  • Every Role is Powerful -> Own Yours!
  • Help Others

 

Stepping our way to better health and wellbeing

02Oct

The team at Central Finance Management Group has been walking, running, jumping, hopping and skipping this month, and making every step count as part of the 2018 STEPtember campaign.

Employees underwent a Vitality health check in August as a part of the new company Wellness Program, which helped the team to set health goals. When STEPtember came around, an overwhelming number of people put their hands up to commit to the step count, and to raise money and awareness for kids and adults with cerebral palsy.

Finishing the month with more than 7 million steps recorded, CFMG’s seven competing groups have had a great time with the challenge, and have noticed a real difference in the way they view their health.

Outgoing Head of Compliance, Jack Elias was CFMG’s top stepper and said since his goal is to be a centenarian, exercise plays a major role in the way he lives his life.

“I’ve never finished an exercise session and felt worse at the end, so I know how valuable exercise is for mental health as well as physical. Since I don’t like walking much, I’ve been taking high intensity classes at the gym and upping the time I spend on the bike and rowing machines. I can really notice the difference it has made to my endurance and I’ll definitely be keeping it up.”

With STEPtember’s figures showing that the average office worker only moves 3,000 of the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and spends 75% of their time sedentary, the challenge is a great opportunity to form new healthy habits.

Pradha Gurumahan, Solicitor, Linton Pitt Lawyers came in second place and says that STEPtember has changed her outlook on exercise:

“I’ve always been quite an active person but when it gets cold, I can get into hibernation mode. STEPtember has made me get up out of bed and exercising before and after work. It’s a great way to de-stress, gives me loads of energy, and improves my mood and sleep. After seeing how much it has benefited my physical and mental wellbeing, I’ll definitely be continuing beyond the challenge.”

Altogether the teams raised over $1000 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and had a really great time exercising and competing for a cause.

Connecting with the Global Collections Industry

25Sep

Last week our new Head of Collections, Ross Edwards, and his predecessor, Dermot Ormsby, took to the stage at the American Express Spectrum Conference in Kuala Lumpur. The pair explored innovative ways to create contacts, drive efficiencies and increase collection effectiveness using digital mediums, new technology and social media.

Ross participated in a panel discussion that delved into driving performance in collections teams where he shared some of the challenges that exist in this space, and how CFMG works to maintain its high-quality approach at all times. He also explored some of the opportunities for engaging collections teams.

“While we explore the use of new and innovative ways to drive collections it is just as important that we invest in the right people who are skilled in these new age contact avenues. Communication is somewhat moving from the traditional phone method, and now more than ever, written and technical skills are becoming as important when scouting talent,” said Ross.

Dermot talked about the impact of emerging technology as well as our investment in new digital mediums and contact channels. His presentation evolved to bring social media to the forefront in a conversation around acceptance and regulatory challenges. The group discussed what is happening around the globe and how the collections industry is using social media to drive contacts.

Dermot’s presentation showed that millennials are more inclined to get into debt to maintain their lifestyle and appearance knowing that they may not be able to manage their obligations. This generation is also less contactable through traditional methods given their tendency towards communication preferences such as social media, text and email. This presents challenges for collections teams, as well as opportunities to shift traditional collections methods.

Launching Phase II of Our Wellness Program

Employees are any business’ greatest asset, and that’s why we want to make sure our people are coming into work feeling their best. To achieve this, we’ve implemented a Wellness Program and are encouraging everyone at CFMG to get involved.

Workplace Wellness Programs have been proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase resilience
  • Foster a sense of community
  • Improve physical and mental health
  • Assist with increasing focus and concentration, and management of workload pressures
  • Increase job satisfaction and engagement
  • Improve workplace morale

The team at CFMG will be stepping outside comfort zones and giving yoga and belly dancing a try over the next few months. We’re also going to run a healthy cooking class for tips and tricks on how to make every day a healthy day.

On top of that, our people have access to:

  • Monthly massages
  • Daily fresh fruit
  • Health checks
  • Flu shots
  • Ergonomic workspace assessments and equipment

CFMG has also been welcoming in furry visitors to the office as part of our dog friendly workplace trial. Animals have been proven to improve morale and culture and reduce stress, and with our Head of Support Services, Dr. Sian Ineson, a trained Veterinarian, it made perfect sense for us to trial it in our office.

Keep an eye out for more information on how our wellness initiatives are progressing.

Data Security Strategy – Addressing Your Greatest Weakness

29Aug

With cyber-attacks on the rise, it is essential that every organisation reviews its Data Security Strategies to ensure they are addressing their greatest weakness. The following video highlights the most common weakness and provides 6 Quick Tips to sure this up and reduce your risk.

How a Few Ugly Sweaters Keeps Clients Jolly

31Jul

Most organisations have recognised that becoming more customer-centric is essential to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. What they often fail to realise is that creating a sustainable and impressive customer experience program has to start with your employees. If your team members are not being looked after, it will be next to impossible to ask them to buy-in to genuine customer service delivery, much less an end to end customer experience program.

Financial incentives only go so far, especially when it comes to genuine customer service, and often lead to superficial service quality, ready to sour at the first sign of customer dissatisfaction, which we all know is a key touch point in itself. There are a multitude of resources online with details on how to review and improve your employee experience to drive satisfaction and engagement, and what works for us may not work for you. What we will elaborate on are some of the results, from our own experience as a debt recovery agency, honoured to be entrusted to look after our client’s own customers:

  • It has created a fun, friendly workplace – so when an external party speaks to any team member, across any department, it is obvious they are happy to be there;
  • Client facing team members have the energy, resources and motivation to strive to exceed client expectations;
  • Our contact centre staff members are friendly, more attuned to wanting to help the customer, to actively listen, and to defuse any customers than phone in discontent. These in turn help to protect our clients brand, can rehabilitate good customers in short term financial hardship and;
  • Leads to optimal collections performance, as the boundaries of non-payment are more effectively negotiated and resolved.

So, before you set out on weaving customer-centricity into your strategy, the place to start is with your employees. Look after them.

 

The Long, Lost Art of Listening

04Jul

Conscious listening is becoming a forgotten art. If we can’t train ourselves to actively listen to our customers, colleagues, suppliers, friends, family members or anyone else, how can we hope to understand them?
Why Don’t We Listen?

The fact is, it’s getting harder to listen. As a society, we are bombarded with sensory data from all manner of channels and wigits, which has reduced our ability to notice and appreciate things in life that are quiet or subtle. It has driven us to need constant stimulation, made us impatient and fostered a ‘cult of self’ mentality, encouraging an inflated sense of our own self-importance. Compounding this, we are no longer reliant on listening as a significant mode of recording information, and most schools don’t teach it. In summary, our cultural landscape places very little value on listening as a skill, and we are not being taught otherwise.

Benefits of Being a Conscious Listener (with a focus on those relevant to the workplace):
  • you hear what’s being said, as well as the subtle things that add meaning but are not spoken
  • people feel that they have been heard, which increases their satisfaction with the exchange
  • it promotes a culture of respect, which has obvious benefits to all stakeholders
  • you are more likely to reach the best outcomes, rather than relying on the usual persuasion by argument
  • you create a space for other people to use, to express their own ideas or views, which they may not have voiced otherwise, often adding valuable insight from different personality types
  • provides more opportunity and better reception of it, when you tactfully voice diverging opinions or views
  • most importantly, you achieve a deeper level of understanding
 
How to be a Conscious Listener

Most literature available recommends a 2-phase approach, which is to a. practice listening exercises, and b. adopt a best practice approach to the listening process.

 

1. Listening exercises help to re-calibrate your body’s ability to appreciate the subtle sounds, they can include:

  • Mindfulness walks, where you clear your head as much as you can and simply focus on the sounds you hear
  • Sitting for 3 minutes of silence per day
  • Focusing on a particular sound, and making an effort to enjoy it thoroughly (eg. water filling a bath tub, turning on a gas stove)
  • Practice listening with different filters/perspectives (eg. as a colleague, as a competitor, as an examiner, as an intern)

 

2. Best practice listening process:

  • Pay attention – make eye contact, avoid distractions, and unless you are the timekeeper or the chairperson do not interrupt the speaker. Watch their body language, and be mindful of your own.
  • Show that you are listening – make small noises of acknowledgement like ‘ah’, ‘ok’, ‘yes’ or nod your head.
  • Summarise what you have heard to ensure you have understood. 
  • Ask Questions.
  • Respond, where appropriate – offer your own view or alternate information. Always assert your opinions respectfully.

 

In summary, if you are setting personal development goals for FY2018, spare a thought for including one on actively working on becoming a conscious and engaged listener. Everyone will thank you for it!

NSW Young Credit Professional of the Year Our Own Jack Elias

23Jun

Our Head of Compliance, Mr Jack Elias, has been awarded the honour of NSW Young Credit Professional of the Year 2017. The program is the largest and most prestigious Youth Credit Award program in Australia. It recognises the achievements of the new generation of industry leaders, and provides opportunity for support and shared learning from other recognised young talent, as well as experienced Credit Practitioners who are interested in assisting young Credit Professionals to achieve their potential.

We are very proud of Jack’s achievements, both in and outside of the workplace. Inside the office Jack has been instrumental in reviving our business management system so that our overall approach is one of proactivity, operationalised innovation, and always in the true spirit of our family values.

Outside of the workplace Jack has also shown himself to be of exceptional standard. Having trekked in Nepal shortly before the devastating earthquakes in 2015, he and his partner made the decision to act. Together they created the ‘2 Pairs Project’, and employ local Nepalese jewellers to design and make handmade jewellery. 100% of profits from every item sold is donated to rebuild schools and education programs in Nepal.

“2 Pairs Project exists to provide children and communities with opportunities to create a brighter future and stop the cycle of poverty…Our jewellery extends beyond sentimental value and impacts the lives of Nepalese children by equipping them with the most powerful tool on earth: education.”

https://2pairsproject.com.au/

Well done Jack.