In debt collection, making phone calls to customers can become very frustrating very fast. You have probably heard every excuse in the book, from “I never got the bill” to “My dog ate the check”. Once you’ve heard the third lame excuse you might start to get annoyed with your customers and cop an attitude. It can be understandable, but it’s not going to get you anywhere. In debt collection, your calls have to be strategic, which is why we’ve created the debt collection calls playbook.

Follows these steps on your debt collection calls to remain calm and collect payment from all your customers.

PREPARE

Never go into a call cold! Every customer is different and could be in a different stage of payment. You don’t want to treat a customer who is only a couple days late the same way you treat a months late customer. Do a little research on each customer before you call to make sure you are aware of the situation. This way you are mentally prepared to deal with whatever comes your way.

BUILD CREDIBILITY

The way you speak can change everything about the way a person perceives you. Studies show that your tone of voice can also convey whether someone will take you seriously or not. Speak to your customers professionally and try to seem engaged with the conversation. After making so many calls a day your voice can tend to go flat, so be sure to put some energy in your voice. This way, customers will take the payment more seriously.

ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP

If customers actually feel a connection with you they are more likely to feel obligated to pay. If you take the time to listen to a customer and show empathy for their financial struggles, you can get a better understanding of the time frame they will pay in and what method. If that customer is treated coldly, they will not want to pay the bill, but if they feel like they are talking to someone who cares, they may go out of their way to find the funds.

INSTILL URGENCY

If receiving the payment doesn’t seem important to you, it won’t seem important to the customer to pay. Make the customer feel like there is a reason to pay now. Emphasize late fees or the possibility of it falling to a third party collection agency, which could affect their credit score. Give them a reason that it will benefit them to pay now.

ESTABLISH A PLAN

If a customer has no way to pay you everything they owe right then, come up with a plan. Receiving a third of the money now is better than none at all. Come to a mutual agreement with the customer on a payment plan so that you can at least start to recover some of the money you are owed now.

CLOSE THE CALL

Just as the sales department closes calls by ensuring they know where the customer is at in their consideration of purchasing the product, debt collection calls need to ensure the customer plans to pay as soon as they hang up the phone. Make sure the customer knows that consequences they face if they do not follow through.

Debt collection phone calls are never fun. Customers usually aren’t in the greatest mood to get a phone call from someone collecting money, which never leaves you in a good mood either. It’s important to keep your cool and by following the steps in this debt collection playbook you can better deal with customers to get paid faster.