Students and their parents can ride an emotional rollercoaster when figuring out how to pay for college—from excitement about starting this stage of their lives to stress and fear over the reality of paying for school. Working with stressed borrowers is something you often do, but it isn’t always easy—and a refresher is helpful for the best of us.
- Listen and put yourself in their shoes. The moment you realize a borrower isn’t happy, take a step back. Remember, they came to you for a reason! Take a neutral, helpful tone and work toward getting to the bottom of what they’re really asking about and what they need.
- Keep emotions out of it. Make a conscious effort to stay in control and remain calm during high-stress customer encounters. Borrowers may project their emotions onto you, but it’s not about you, it’s about their current situation. Remain calm and stay engaged during the conversation to continue to figure out how you can help.
- Find a solution. Once you understand what the borrower needs, work together to find the best solution. Knowledge is power. Many times, borrowers aren’t aware of their financial aid options. Supporting borrowers and finding the best solution to help their situation is key to helping them achieve their higher education goals.
- Position your team for success. Put the right people in the right situations. Build on your team’s strengths and help work on their weaknesses. Experienced staff can help with more complex inquiries/concerns, which leaves the others to handle straight forward situations. This makes the most of your staff time and provides borrowers with the best customer service and assistance possible.
- Remember to recharge. Take a break from your environment from time to time. Go outside for a brisk walk or grab coffee with a coworker to refocus and rejuvenate. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance will remove one more stressed person from the conversation when that anxious borrower is in your office.
What tips have you learned that help you work effectively (and more easily) with stressed out borrowers and their families? Share them with our team.