Saskia Hill - "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."

Saskia Hill : Owner of MCS Debt Recovery
Saskia Hill : Owner of MCS Debt Recovery

SASKIA HILL, owner of MCS Debt Recovery, says that the success of her business has been based on treating her staff as assets and believes that happy staff equate to successful collectors. She says, "Our vision is to be a leading debt recovery company, providing excellent service to our clients, in an environment where our staff can grow and develop."

Says Hill, "We promote a family type culture with both our staff and our clients. The business slogan, 'Walk in as a guest, and join the family', is one that we all embrace."

MCS Debt Recovery was established in 1995. Hill, then the external accountant for the business and staying true to her entrepreneurial spirit, acquired the business in 2009 on the retirement of the founder Jo Tets. Since then, Hill has increased the number of clients and has grown the staff base significantly.

MCS Debt Recovery is located in Cornubia Business Park, accommodating all the staff and includes a generator room, staff canteen and a training centre.

Hill's passion for client service is evident in that she personally liaises with clients. "Our longstanding relationships with our clients demonstrate not only the trust they have in the service we provide, but also their satisfaction with our success rates. We have, for example, been working with one client since inception (24 years). We take pride in the professional services we provide to all our clients. Our team is our greatest asset and combined with the effective and reliable service providers, we are well positioned to grow into the international market."

Hill has attended conferences in the United Kingdom, Australia and USA, bringing back valuable learnings and sharing the progress South Africa has made in both the ICT and debt collection sectors. In addition, Hill served on the ADRA board (Association for Debt Recovery Agents) from 2014 to 2016, contributing to various industry body discussions and changes in respect of the debt collection industry. Through her mentorship, one of her senior managers now serves on the ADRA board.

One of her favourite quotes about employees is from Richard Branson: "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to".

Hill is very hands on in her interactions with the call centre agents. The location of her desk on the call centre floor (alongside the other members of the management team), enables her to constantly monitor collections and engage first hand with the staff. That way, Hill says, she can quickly acknowledge an agent who handles a telephone call well or is able to discuss a difficult call. Hill is as passionate about giving back to her staff as she is to the wider community. "We include our staff in regular charity drives which involve various organisations and communities."

Hill says that a highlight of her call centre journey has been watching the growth of the business. However, this has not been without challenges, as well as many sleepless nights. Being a woman in business and having three children - Lara, Matthew and Ross, she has often had to juggle her time and work long hours to ensure that all her commitments are met.

As a member of the Entrepreneur Organisation in the Durban Chapter, Hill also actively promotes entrepreneurship in South Africa. She says, "I would like to instil a sense of entrepreneurship in my children so that they are equipped with the mindset to have a stronger appreciation and respect for business, and to be diligent in their goal settings."

In her free time, Hill may be found indulging in her love of sport, be it through supporting her children and husband Grant in their sporting endeavours, watching a rugby game, or cycling on a tandem.

Hill concluded by saying that every day is a school day, where we should challenge ourselves to learn something new. We should hold ourselves accountable for achieving our long-term goals. "Don't be afraid to chase your dreams, reach up for the stars while keeping your feet on the ground."

Saskia Hill

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