It’s collection call day. You’ve pulled your paperwork together, you’ve reviewed your notes and you’ve mentally prepared to make the collection call. You’ve dealt with this late paying customer before, so you think you know the drill. The call starts okay until the waterworks begin and the hard luck stories start to flow. Now what?
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: There are 2 types of hard luck storytellers. There are those who are playing with your emotions in the hopes of putting off paying as long as they can and there are those who actually do deserve special consideration. And this is tough, because those with legitimate issues are often reluctant to discuss them and are embarrassed to be upset on the phone with you in the first place.
To help you determine which kind of hard luck debtor you’re dealing with, you must listen patiently. Take written notes and listen for changes or discrepancies in the story. Write down any claims you may be able to verify later. When you hear an endless stream of out of the ordinary hard luck claims, it’s a red flag that you’re probably dealing with a player.
Regardless of which type of debtor you’re dealing with, keep yourself open to payment suggestions as you tow the line of professionalism and courtesy. And remember: your customer who deserves special consideration really wants to pay you to relieve that sliver of stress for themselves. Working with them in any way you can will serve both parties and preserve your business relationship.
How do you deal with a your hard luck story tellers when collecting a debt?