You might perceive that all calls from a collection agency are nothing more than a standoff between a consumer and a debt collector. However, that is far from an accurate representation of how today’s interactions with consumers unfold. In fact, here it is quite the opposite.
And despite the media’s perception of the collection industry, when we get people on the phone, and we get to a place where a cordial conversation begins to occur, we go to great lengths to get to know the consumers we are calling.
Let’s use the example of any interaction between a consumer and a business. Is that consumer going to be receptive to what they hear from the business if they are treated poorly? If you raise your voice and have unrealistic demands, do you think you will get anywhere? And if you are not open to compromise, do you really think you will get a deal done?
The answer to these for most is obvious. You will not achieve much with a consumer unless you are opening the lines of communication and creating a dialogue with that person. One of the most effective ways to create that dialogue is to listen. Whether you are in sales, customer service or any other position that deals with the consumer, your job is to listen.
Listening is the best way to get to know somebody.
And sometimes listening involves letting someone blow off some steam. For most consumers, being behind on their financial obligations is stressful, to say the least. It can also snowball into a situation that of course, they do not want to be in. It’s up to us to hear them out. And it’s also imperative for us to understand that once the initial anger has subsided on a collection call, the two parties can get to know each other and begin the process of resolving the issue together.
For our collectors, we begin to understand their personal situation and learn more about what might have led to our phone call. Our goal is to get to know them as best we can to help them resolve their issue. When our collectors create the environment, consumers feel comfortable opening up to them. Once that happens, we can make progress.
One of the benefits of working in this industry is that our team meets all types of people over their day. They have a genuine interest and hearing their stories and learning more about them. Our collectors never rush to secure a payment from a consumer. They want to know more about that consumer, and they want to understand what is going on in their life that could have resulted in a delinquency on that payment.
Take for example somebody who may be in medical collections with us. We have met some amazing people who have had challenges that just need more time to get caught up with their medical provider. And with the ever-changing world of health insurance and understanding what is covered, there can be much confusion and a legitimate reason why a bill has not been paid. We would never know this unless we had a respectful conversation with that person.
These situations also call for compassion on our part. And compassion can only start when we get to know somebody and understand what they are going through. We work in other areas which require us to understand the situation better and implement a delicate touch such as in Funeral Home collections. We need to understand what that family is going through to create a solution based off that conversation. If that person needs more time to pay, we understand through listening.
We meet new people every day because that’s our job. And when you meet somebody, you want to learn more about them. The professionals we hire have an instinct and a desire to learn more about the people they are dealing with. They do so because they want to help.
And for consumers that are struggling to pay their bills? It’s not such a bad thing to meet a collector and get to know them. They may be surprised at the common ground they will find.