Commercial debt collectors often have to walk a very fine line. More often than not, they’ve been instructed to collect on their clients’ debts at any cost. However, they’ve also typically been instructed to try and maintain customer relations and to not give the business a “bad name” by being overly aggressive in their debt collection efforts. That’s a pretty difficult line to walk, but amazingly, with a little “know-how,” it is possible for debt collectors to walk it.
Be a Helpful Informant
To begin with, when debt collectors first start attempting to collect on a debt, they are encouraged to act like “helpful informants.” In other words, they should simply send out invoices or make other contact that gently “reminds” the client he or she still owes money.
Sometimes, this soft reminder from a collection agency can serve as a wake-up call and get people to pay up quickly without having a negative reaction toward the business that they owe. Thus, always take this simple, “friendly reminder” approach first. It works more often than one might think.
Take it on a Case by Case Basis
Though it can be time consuming, debt collectors should really handle each client on a case by case basis. They are encouraged to look up each client before making a call or sending a letter (this is where good record keeping really comes in handy!) and to base their approach with that client on information they have on file.
Obviously, this means that debt collectors will treat clients who have recently lost their jobs a bit differently from clients who are ignoring the collection efforts and/or who have no good reason for not paying up.
By treating each case individually and knowing what to expect, it’s not only easier to be more successful at collections but also to approach the client in a way that will make him or her feel comfortable and understood.
While every debt is important and worth collecting on, some debts are definitely more likely to get paid than others. Thus, debt collectors are encouraged to “zero in” on clients that are more willing and able to pay than those who simply can’t pay or who probably won’t pay, based on past behavior, things they have said, and more- debt collectors can learn a lot just by listening!
These clients who will “pay up” are often the easiest to deal with, will garner the most profit, and will never cause a problem with customer relations or company reputation, so always focus on them first and foremost.
Debt collection can sometimes get a little more personal than it should with irate customers sometimes hurling insults and losing their cool.
That is why it is so very important to train debt collectors on how to stay calm and collected, no matter what. Make sure they know never, ever to use profanity or threats and to treat clients with respect, no matter how difficult it may be.
At the end of the day, in order to keep everyone else happy, debt collectors may have to take a little flack, but, in the end, they’ll get rewarded for all their hard work…and so will the companies they work for!