The typical debtor is a human in financial stress. A large number of them get several collection calls a week and most of them cringe at the thought of picking up the phone to speak to a debt collection agent. They are often looking for a fight so they tend to be defensive. They are often looking for a reason to hang up.
We work very hard not to give them a reason to disconnect the call. We work just as hard not to give them a reason to throw our letters in the trash. Because you have your own collection problems, we thought you might be interested in what we do to create a positive relationship with your debtors.
First, we make sure to treat them as if they are good, honest people who simply have a temporary shortage of money. Of course this isn’t always true, but people who are treated well react in kind. People move in the direction of other’s expectations. Because we say and do things that let them know we respect them, they tend to act with more respect.
Sympathy doesn’t mean they don’t owe the debt only that you have an understanding of their pain. Courtesy doesn’t mean they get off without paying, only that you respect them as a human being. Respect doesn’t mean you agree with them, only that you understand they may have a different point of view.
By demonstrating these attributes when dealing with your debtors, we establish a positive relationship with most of them and that leads to much more consistent, higher payment plans. Even occasional problems are handled in a positive framework. If a debtor requests a payment delay we usually grant it because it keeps the payments coming in. The same is true for the occasional short payment. Debtors learn to be comfortable when they need to contact us, so the call instead of ignoring a problem.
We would use magic if we could, but we don’t know of any that works as well as showing the debtor you are concerned about their problems and eager to work with them to get this one problem fixed. The extra effort pays off in three ways. We feel good about fixing problems. debtor’s feel good about fixing problems. Clients get over twice as much on their fixed fee or contingent collection returns. Nobody has to lose for our clients to win.