Saskia Hill - 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

Saskia Hill - 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
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 accountant for the business and staying true to her entrepreneurial spirit, acquired the business in 2009 on the retirement of the founder Mr Jo Tets. Since then, Hill has increased the number of clients tenfold and has grown the staff employment number from 40 to 220.

MCS Debt Recovery has also moved from small, rented offices to larger, owned premises. The business is now located in an 860m² building in Cornubia's light industrial area, 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 when required. "In our 22 years of existence, we have never lost a client, which is as a result of our business ethics and practices, as well as the fantastic relationships we have with our clients. We have consistently remained top achievers with our biggest clients who are in the financial services, retail, education, government and vehicle tracking sectors."

Hill subscribes to the Amazon Leadership Principles, one of which is to: "Insist on the highest standards. Leaders have relentlessly high standards, many people think these standards are unreasonably high", Hill believes that having high standards and paying attention to detail has enabled the company's growth.

Hill has attended debt collection conferences in both the United Kingdom 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.

"We are proud to have representation by Lee Anne Dhorie on both the current ADRA and Council for Debt Collectors' boards. This enables us to keep abreast of all industry changes and allows us to contribute significantly to legislative changes," said Hill.

One of her favorite quotes about your 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. 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 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. She reflected, "I miss being able to attend all the coffee mornings with my friends, but I wouldn't change my life at all. My friends and family are a huge support to me."

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." Hill has recently returned from an Entrepreneurs' Organisation Global Learnership Conference in Canada where 2 000 international entrepreneurs met. "It was an incredibly rewarding and inspiring week to network with business owners from around the world."

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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