(Paraphrased from “Tips for Successful Debt Collections” by Dean Kaplan of The Kaplan Group)
Here are some suggestions made by Dean Kaplan of The Kaplan Group that will help encourage success in the business of collecting debts for clients:
- Before contacting a debtor, be prepared!
The more you know about a delinquent customer, the more knowledgeable, professional and personal you’ll be when you speak to them.
- Document everything.
Take really good notes as you’re talking to the customer…good to have in case there are any future debt disputes. Input everything into the system, PCS reporting at TekCollect, while the conversation is fresh in your mind.
- Be kind and practice self-control.
You have the ability to set the tone for your first contact with the debtor. When you start your conversation with a non-confrontational tone of voice, the customer who owes the debt may not get defensive. Once you’ve confirmed you’re speaking to the right person about the unpaid bill, you can ask if there’s anything you can do…if they need any additional information. Be caring and compassionate, yet detached as your job as a debt collector is to collect the debt in full as soon as possible.
- Avoid confrontation and don’t allow harassment.
Listen very carefully and try to find out if the debtor’s excuse for non-payment is legitimate. Often, your gut instinct will tell you if they are being honest with you. If the debtor becomes abusive, it’s up to you to stay calm. You may even suggest calling back later when his emotions are more calm and collected.
- Give options and keep lines of communication open.
Once it’s established that the customer owes the debt, then try to collect it in full. If the customer is having trouble paying off the debt, it may be possible for him to make payments over time. Again, listen carefully and try to come up with an arrangement that will suit the debtor as well as your client. If you keep the lines of communication open and they are aware that you’re trying to work with them, their situation may change financially and they may be able to take care of their debt sooner rather than later. Debt collections are common especially during difficult economic times. Using these techniques may make these negotiations go a bit smoother!