debt Collection CallsMaking the Debt Collection Call

Some people would rather do anything, including washing a cat, rather than making the call to remind customers about the money they are owed.  Let’s continue our series on best practices for receivables management, to help make that collection call as productive, and painless as possible.


1.  Call at the right time.

There’s no denying, collection calls can be one of the most stressful parts of the receivable process.  Discover the “sweet spot” that time you know you are most likely to contact with your client.

2.  Be in control, “tranquilo”

Stay Calm!  If you lose your professional edge, it will become inordinately harder to successfully collect.

3. If you are nervous, consider a dry run.

If you are new to making receivables calls, try a practice run.  We suggest making a list of what you need to cover  (see the next point) and actually put the phone to your ear and call no-one, just practice your delivery until it sounds natural calm and in control

4. Structure the call to accomplish your plan.

Have a Plan.   What do you want and need to accomplish from this call?   What will you say to move you towards completing that plan.  If collections calls are the hardest part of the job, then certainly you want that effort to be productive.  Write down the goals of the collection call, and stick to the script.  This is your money you are trying to collect.

5.  Get a promise before ending the call.

A collection call without some promise, any promise, is not a successful call.  If you can’t get a promise for full payment, get a promise for partial payment.  If you can’t get a promise for partial payment, get an agreement on when the next time to call in order to avoid an escalation in the debt collection process.  The most important part of the call, is getting a commitment of some form towards moving forward in resolving the debt.

6.  Talk to someone with enough authority to make a commitment.

The largest mistake anyone can make is to talk to someone with no authority to make you a promise.  Know from when the relationship was good who to contact when there are problems.  Don’t waste your time with people that are unable to get you payment.  Always work with decision makers, or all the angst and effort that goes into the collection call is entirely wasted.

7,  Prepare  for the most sincere, and bizarre excuses ever.

When you work in the debt collection industry long enough, you get used to hearing the “standard suite” of excuses, and you also come across some of the most amazing and unique excuses, some might say fantastical.   Get used to these excuses, begin to prepare for them, don’t be thrown off track.


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