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The Value of Empathy in Debt Collections

Byron Blog

Monday, February 21st marks the beginning of Empathy Week. Empathy Week was founded in London in 2019 as an initiative to use storytelling through film to cultivate empathy among school children. During Empathy Week, students are shown one short film each day that showcases a unique human experience. The films’ themes are interlaced into lessons, assemblies, and/or tutor times, allowing for their insights to truly resonate.

Empathy is something that I think about a lot — especially the role I believe it should play throughout the credit and lending process. Watch the video to hear my thoughts.


Empathy Week

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Hi everyone, my name is Byron Gifford, and I’m a part of the team at Perficient that specializes in helping financial services organizations transform their credit and lending operations.

Today, I’d like to discuss a very important topic and one that is essential to encompass in our team’s work when we partner with banks and credit providers: Empathy.

Empathy Week starts on February 21st, and while it garners a week of observance, it really must become a framework for how you operate your collections and loss mitigation functions.

One of our goals at Perficient is to help companies optimize and transform debt collection operations, and one crucial component we focus on is infusing empathy in all customer channel interactions.

Now, empathy is largely found and a staple in the lending process.  The sales agent or advisor is trained to focus on “connecting,” “relating,” and finding the right loan solution to support customers and their families. But that attempt to relate or put themselves in another person’s shoes doesn’t always carry through to the loan lifecycle.

And it’s a big, missed opportunity. I know. I’ve been helping banks and credit unions with this building block for over 27 years.

The good news is that it’s never too late to include empathy in your conversations with customers and clients.

Do you know just how powerful it can be in a debt collection interaction?

Let me give you three example statements that you can start using today:

  1. “How can I support you and your family during this time of need?”
  2. “My goal is to serve you and ensure you have all of the information needed to make the best decision for your family.”
  3. “We are here for you.”

The bottom line is that showing your customers that you understand them and are there for them is a mutual win. The customer feels like you care. And your company has a much better chance of getting paid.

Economists believe the storm is coming, and empathy will be the difference between the financial institutions that win and lose. I encourage you to retain and support your customers by leveraging empathy throughout your entire relationship.

To learn even more strategies and insights on bringing your collections performance to higher levels, join me on March 10th for The ROI on Transforming Credit and Lending Customer Outreach, of where I’m honored to be one of the webinar’s hosts. You can register here.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to send me a note at or through LinkedIn.

Thanks for watching, and until next time.

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Byron Gifford

Byron Gifford is Perficient’s lead business consultant for financial services. With an extensive background as an executive leader in the banking industry, Byron has helped several banks improve their loan losses, increase customer retention, and reduce operational expenses through modernizing their collections and loss mitigation process engines. Byron specializes in developing innovative and dynamic contact strategies, creating cultures that deliver a relentless focus on enhancing the customer experience and retention, and implementing automation for business manual processes.

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