In Default – The payday loan industry has one of the worst ethical business reputations going. The industry has been heavily criticized for irresponsible lending, applying outlandish interest rates, charging excessive fees, aggressive debt collection and even occasional fraud. The government has stepped in and put in many radical regulations, and as a result, payday loan banks cannot even operate anymore in a growing number of US states.
Enter Advance Financial – Advance Financial is a chain of over 50 payday loan centers headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. For the past two years, Advance Financial has been reinventing itself with an aggressive strategic plan to build a world-class Customer experience business. While impressive, the more surprising question is WHY? Advance Financial’s sales growth in the last five years has been amazing. In the last three years alone their increase was 250% including the number of locations and profit. All this in spite of the payday loan industry being notorious for horrible Customer service. When Advance Financial reached out to The DiJulius Group nearly two years ago about hiring us as their Customer service consulting firm, I asked CEO Tina Hodges the following questions: “Your company is rocking and rolling, sales are up, profit is great, no one else is doing this; so why the need to change and tamper with success? It will be a lot of work, it is a long-term commitment, and why do you need to become the first world-class Customer service payday loan bank?” Here is how Tina answered my questions.
Customer Service Vision – Their Customer base is one that often times may have fallen on hard times. As a result, Customers may feel like they are not treated well. Advance Financial wants to make sure every one of their 500+ employees, in over 50 locations, acts as an ally for their Customers. A place where their Customers can come in, be respected, see a friendly face and be treated like a friend; hence, Advance Financial’s Customer Service Vision Statement: Friends Helping Friends
Revolutionizing Payday loan industry – Advance Financial has done so much in less than two years.
- Named a CXO (Chief Xperience Officer) and a Customer & Employee Affairs Director
- Created a Day-in-the-life of an Advance Financial Customer video that all new employees must watch in their orientation
- Created a Customer Service Vision statement with pillars and Nevers & Always and rolled these out to the entire company.
- They created an online training certification of games like Jeopardy, Memory and Wheel of Fortune, ensuring their employees retain their Customer service training, while making it extremely entertaining.
- Created a new Customer experience at every encounter
- Have Secret Service Agent teams, made up of front-line employees throughout all their locations, to support this project and audit the experience.
Tina Hodges & Brittni Walker – This is why we are so excited to have Tina Hodges & Brittni Walker present at the 2013 Secret Service Summit in Cleveland, November 4th & 5th. They will be sharing how they are creating a Customer service revolution in the Payday loan industry and making the Customer experience Advance Financial’s strongest competitive advantage.