By Eleanor O'Connor – On
We asked six experienced debt collectors from all over the industry: How do you effectively do your job and meet your goals? They each shared one piece of advice regarding the successful debt collection techniques they use to stay engaged and consumer-focused.
6 Successful Debt Collection Techniques for 2021
Try incorporating these techniques into your debt collection strategy to have more effective conversations with your team and consumers in 2021 🗣
#1: Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Staying motivated and working hard will always bring you closer to meeting and exceeding your goals in collections. Shelby Robinson at Williams & Fudge suggests asking yourself, "What is gonna keep them [the consumer] from breaking their payment series with you over breaking it with somebody else?" It's important to prioritize the quality of your conversations with consumers and not just the quantity of conversations you're having.
"How you speak to your consumer is going to guarantee if you're going to have a broken payment in three months when times get tough or if they're never going to break a payment with you," says Shelby. Having consumers that consistently make their payments will be more effective than one-time payments from consumers that eventually stop responding to you.
#2: Be Consumer-Focused
"Put your mind on a serving and/or helping mindset rather than a payment mindset," says John Pavlansky from Debt Recovery Solutions Ohio. Adopting that mindset will help you increase the amount you collect while decreasing the number of complaints you receive from consumers.
Another important tip shared by Diana from CheckMark Collections is to never assume a consumer's preferred language when speaking with them. It's important to always ask what language they prefer to communicate in! If you assume which language the consumer prefers to communicate in on the basis of only their accent, name, or location, it can come off as offensive. When the consumer feels offended, they will be less likely to make a payment.
Brian LeClerc from Marcam Associates also suggests that active listening combined with acknowledging and putting in the effort to understand what the consumer is going through will work towards tearing down any negative pre-conceived notions they may have regarding debt collectors. Transforming a consumers' negative attitudes towards debt collectors into positive ones will help break down any barriers that could prevent a successful resolution.
To summarize, Tammie from Debt Recovery Solutions of Ohio stresses the importance of being sensitive to your consumers' needs in order to reach your goals consistently.
#3: Stay Positive
Unfortunately, the debt collection industry is often stigmatized due to bad actors and consumers facing tough financial circumstances. John's advice is to stay positive despite this. "Having a positive and can-do attitude is infectious," he says. When you focus on staying positive, you'll see your consumers' demeanor change facilitating effective conversations from both yours and the consumers' perspective.
#4: Make Effective Internal Communication a Priority
Effective communication is not only important when dealing with consumers, but also when interacting with your internal team. It deepens relationships and increases your team's overall productivity. "As long as we're speaking clearly and concisely with them [collectors], we're setting SMART goals with them, if they know exactly where they need to reach it's going to be easy for them to reach with our motivation," says Brian.
Brian also emphasizes the importance of being mindful of your tone and ego when communicating with team members. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. The focus of conversations with your team should not be making them ashamed of their mistakes, but rather exploring how to avoid making those same mistakes again.
#5: When in Doubt, Consider a Second Voice
James from CheckMark Collections' surefire way to close a deal with a difficult consumer is to evaluate their demographics and consider whether another collector on the team might be better equipped to handle the conversation. His advice is to "be attentive, pay attention to what's going on with the account, evaluate the situation as-is, look at the demographics, and when in doubt, get that second voice."
#6: Be Transparent & Confident
"Be confident and honest at the same time," Tammie advises. Be knowledgeable on all of the payment options available to the consumer and convey those to them in a confident manner. Honesty builds trust, and that is a key step for having more successful conversations with consumers.
To each of the collectors mentioned, thank you for sharing your most successful debt collection techniques and for improving the reputation of the debt collection industry one call at a time!