The Art of Debt Collection
Like anything you would like to be good at, you have to practice. Learning the art of debt collection is no exception.
To be good at collections, you need excellent communication skills, quick thinking ability and impeccable manners all of which can be improved with practice.
One of the top complaints among couples is the lack of effective communication. One talks too little, the other too much and sometimes, neither one says what they really mean. The same could be said when talking about a business relationship.
When communicating with a past-due client, keep your conversations or correspondence short and clear. Say what you mean, stand behind what you say and say it with authority. Be flexible when it serves you but be firm every step of the way, controlling your responses if things get heated.
Sharpen your skills by taking the time to analyze and learn after every interaction. Did you get the response you wanted? Why? Why not? What could you have done better?
By anticipating your client’s responses, you can react quickly and meaningfully. Before you interact with your past-due customer, go back through their file to refresh your memory. Then keep it right there in front of you for ready reference when you make the collections call.
Thinking on your feet gets easier with experience. In time, you’ll begin to see the red flags that you probably missed when you first started making collection calls. Once you learn to ‘read’ your customer, you’ll be better able to respond with meaningful solutions and suggestions to achieve payment.
Sharpen your skills by anticipating customer reactions and rehearsing your answers before you talk with them.
Nothing can send a business owner over the edge like a past-due client with an attitude. You have a legitimate reason to push for payment and yet sometimes, your customer’s responses can feel like an attack.
As a professional, you have one choice: keep your cool – use your manners! This can be a challenge, especially if your customer has always been cordial and professional in the past. Their sudden change in demeanor signals significant stress and has probably put you in the category of ‘just another creditor’ to them. But your determination to remain composed, polite and professional can keep the doors of communication open.
Sharpen your skills by practicing your responses to tough situations. Role-play can be a useful tool to prepare for a tough call. Draw from past experiences to hone your skills for the best possible future outcomes.
The art of effective debt collections is exactly that, an art. And you WILL get better with experience and practice!