When it comes to collecting unpaid debts, there are several mistakes collection agencies make. One of the greatest errors is poor communication. Agents who behave impolitely or unprofessionally can lead to greater problems in eliciting payment. Another issue that can reduce the success of any telephone debt collection strategy is the inability to accept a payment over the phone. This is one area in which credit card processing collection agencies can increase their revenue over their noncard processing rivals. Here are some top tips to help boost your collection agency’s success.
It is generally recognized telephone calls are the most efficient and effective method of collecting unpaid debts. However, it is important to remain professional when having these potentially challenging conversations with debtors. It goes without saying that collection agents should avoid distractions while talking on the phone. However, having a friendly tone can make a big difference to the way your call is received.
- Calling at the correct time is also important. You need to know what time is best to catch the debtor and whether he or she is more likely to be available in the afternoon or the morning. Ask the debtor at an early stage what would be the best hour to reach him or her, so you can save time and effort.
- Always record telephone conversations whenever possible. However, make sure you have the debtor’s permission before doing so. If this is not possible, take extensive notes while you talk. This avoids any repetition or contradictions in the future. Also, send the debtor an e-mail following the call to summarize the conversation, as well as any commitments discussed during it.
- When leaving messages for debtors who are not available to come to the phone, it is essential to abide by the law. Never disclose any private information regarding debts to any third party and always assume a voicemail message will be heard by other people, as well as the debtor.
- Avoid apportioning blame. This only increases unwillingness to pay. Always speak calmly and listen to everything the debtor says. If he or she claims to have insufficient funds to make a payment, ask for proof and ask him or her to suggest a solution. Of course, ensuring you convey the importance of the matter is vital. But, if you try to force the debtor to agree to a payment agreement he or she can’t afford, he or she will be less likely to work cooperatively with you.
- Have a convenient way of accepting payment immediately over the telephone. This will greatly increase the amount of money you can receive immediately. Rather than relying on the debtor to arrange payment by himself or herself later, you can immediately enter his or her card details and get real-time authorization of the payment.
Tips for Email Collections
While the telephone is recognized as the best way of eliciting collections payments, e-mail has a role to play, too, especially when you need to create a paper trail for the transaction. Here are some of the best tips for receiving payment via e-mail.
- Get professional help to compose e-mails if you aren’t good at writing yourself.
- Ensure the contents of your e-mails are professional and polite and use language that would be used on the telephone. Avoid a light-hearted approach and keep all messages brief and to the point.
- Respond to any e-mails rapidly to create the right impression.
- Create a subject line that is short and factual to increase the likelihood of the recipient opening the e-mail.
- Never send your e-mail to third parties. All e-mail communication is permanent and that means you could put yourself at risk of being sued for the disclosure of information to third parties.
Communicating with debtors is an exceptionally tricky task. However, if you are one of the credit card processing collection agencies that maintains a professional attitude, implements an automated phone (IVR) payment system and adopts best practices, you will guarantee you maximize your collections.