Honing Your Listening Skills During Collection Calls

A woman smiling on the phone | Debt collections Michigan

Are calls with your debtors difficult? 

Do you find it hard to reach a resolution with slow payors or no payors? 

During collection calls, you need to maintain control over the conversation, but simultaneously listen carefully to what the debtor is saying. If the debtor is asking for more time, you should remain firm while encouraging prompt payment. 

If the debtor raises a dispute, you need to pay close attention and make careful notes of the exact nature of their complaints. Try to hone in on the specifics of the dispute and figure out how you can address them.

Be prepared for the unexpected. Common problems include:

  • Surprise on their end: You’re speaking with a representative of the debtor who isn’t familiar with the fact that the account is past due. Find out if you can speak to someone else or offer to send over a statement of account or other helpful documents.
  • Lack of documentation: Sometimes what can sound like stalling or a poor excuse turns out to be bad record keeping, and the person paying the bills lacks key documents. Getting paid may be as simple as providing your billing address or furnishing another copy of the statement or invoice.
  • Your customer may be unsure about their exact outstanding balance. You should be able to provide an immediate, accurate balance in the initial phone call along with proper documentation. Conclude the conversation by getting commitment for payment in a specific amount and a date by which it will be paid.
  • Business or personal problems: You’ll hear all sorts of reasons why a customer hasn’t paid, including illness, injury to a key employee, a sudden downturn of business, and the debtor’s inability to collect their own receivables. In your collection calls, take the role of the problem solver and even make polite suggestions, such as: “I understand you’ve had some serious challenges, and I’ll work with you as much as I can. Can we arrange for at least half of this outstanding bill to be paid today with the remaining half in 30 days?” Your willingness to sympathize or bend the rules a bit in some, but not all, occasions can result in payment. 

Whatever the reason for nonpayment, check your notes. If the debtor has used similar excuses in the past, but you didn’t get paid promptly, you need to reconsider your extension of credit. Remind your customer: “I’ve heard that one before, we worked through it, and you still didn’t meet your commitment of payment.”

Hopefully the dispute is minor and can be resolved quickly in the first telephone call, so the entire bill can then be paid. Whatever the dispute, if it applies to only a portion of the debt, seek a commitment for payment of the undisputed amount before concluding the conversation.

Debt Collections in Michigan: We Fight for Your Creditors’ Rights!

Have you tried these call tactics and are still struggling with nonpayment?

Don’t let the stress of trying to contact and get results from a debtor weigh you down any longer! Contact our experienced collection firm to speak with an attorney about debt collections in Michigan today at (248) 645-2440 for an immediate resolution to your collection matters. We look forward to hearing from you!

Muller, Muller, Richmond, & Harms, P.C

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