A day in the life of Katie Hooper

A day in the life of Katie Hooper

Collections Team Leader, Devonport.

Hearing “I work in Collections for TasWater” will always receive different reactions from people as the role of “Debt Collector” is not always portrayed in a positive way.

However, this is where Katie comes in with her highly skilled Collections Team. Katie and her team are committed to changing the image of a typical “debt collector” and move towards turning difficult conversations and circumstances into positive experiences for our customers.

Katie has 14 years experience in the collections industry. She started working at Cradle Mountain Water eight years go where she was initially the only Collections Officer.  Katie is now part of the Customer Support and Collections Team at TasWater where she leads four Collection Officers situated in both the Devonport and Launceston offices. 

Katie’s day starts out like most average Tasmanians, with a hot drink in hand. She starts 30 minutes before the rest of the team to ensure that she has adequate time to assess the team’s daily workload, her own work load and the daily tasks are allocated accordingly.

“No two days are the same,” Katie says about Collections.  “One day we may be doing a high volume of outbound phone calls, and the next we may be issuing legal proceedings against a customer”.  “We have numerous tools available to us to engage with a customer including outbound calls, SMS and email. However, if a customer chooses not to engage with us then unfortunately we do need to use some of our other tools such as referrals to a collection agency, restriction of a supply and, at times, legal action”.

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Katie also holds weekly toolbox meetings with her team members.  The role of a Collections officer can be an emotional roller coaster as the team are speaking with customers who may be going through a difficult situation and as Katie explains we do hear a lot of hard stories and unfortunately at times we do bear the brunt of people’s frustration which can at times be hard on my team members.  During the weekly toolbox meetings Katie will always start by asking the team to share a positive story. “By sharing a positive story, we are able to reflect on the good for the week, but we also learn from the hard days that we have had, which in turn is a positive” says Katie.

Due to the complexity of some of the customers and situations, Katie ensures that she always makes herself available to her team through phone, video conference, email and of course face-to-face to ensure that each team member feels adequately supported.  With any issues that arise, Katie will work with the team members together to come to a solution. As Katie says, “I want to empower my team members to use their judgement and the skills that they have. I believe by doing this it makes for a more positive work environment, but it also means a positive interaction for our customers as the team members are empowered to really help our customers.”

As Katie explains “I am very fortunate to have such a highly skilled and knowledgeable team, however there are some customers that I manage exclusively, as well as liaising with our Collection Agency and the Law firm that manages our legal cases and of course there are always meetings with other departments.”

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It is clear by speaking with Katie that Collections is something that she is passionate about, and it is this passion that has led to Katie working in a Subject Matter Expert role for the past eight weeks.  This involved reviewing TasWater’s collection process, looking at how things are done, why we do them this way and is there a better way it can be done. As Katie explains “I’m always looking at how we can improve, how can we do better by our customers and what can I do to make my team’s life easier. I’m not talking big changes, just minor changes here and there which will have a big impact and I find it really exciting.”

Katie’s advice to anyone who is experiencing financial difficulty is please engage with TasWater, we have many options available to assist our customers. We can work with you to find a solution that suits, including our Customer Support Program.

To learn more about the TasWater Customer Support Program please click HERE