How to become a better customer collection agent
Being a collection agent is not an easy job. You certainly have to be thick skinned and be ready to deal with every excuse and delay tactic under the sun. It also helps if you are a people person to skillfully deal with every type of debtor. One day you may get someone screaming at you and shouting profanities and the following day you get someone crying down the phone giving you their life story and how tragic things may be.
Others may turn their anger around on you and make it feel as if it is your fault they cannot pay, even although you are only doing a job. Unfortunately, bad debtors tend to lie about the real reason for non-payment, it is therefore up to you as a professional collection agent to get to the real reason for non-payment as quickly as possible and then resolve it.
Keep accurate records
It is important that you retain as much information as possible in relation to your customer and your products and service. This includes tracking any information relative to the account, including email addresses you have for your customers. It is so important to keep the information on your suppliers form as up to date as possible.
When on the telephone to late payers or bad debtors, you must be prepared and have all the information you require to back up your requests for payment available at your fingertips. You should be ready with times and dates for deliveries, any dates previously provided as a payment date, and any excuses that have been used in the past. This way you can ascertain when the person is lying and helps illustrate to your debtor that you are in control of the account and you are working on this conscientiously.
Be positive and professional
People on the other side of the telephone often mirror the emotional state, mood or tone of the person on the other side of the phone. Therefore, it is important to always sound upbeat and positive. Never underestimate how important this is when trying to create a positive environment with your tone on the telephone. A good attitude can go a long way to getting the formation you need from your debtor. You must come across as you are providing a solution for them rather than a problem. Listen to what they have to say regardless of how far fetch then bring it back round and explain the facts about the current situation. Say you can appreciate what they say however facts remain the same. It is important that you get across on your call how serious the situation is without being too pushy or not pushy enough. You should ensure you always come across in a calm and professional manner, debtors do not react well to rude or obnoxious people.
Before you end your call, always get some form of commitment from the customer, whether it is payment on full, a payment to account or a confirmed date for payment. You need to come off the call with something. At the end of the call reconfirm everything that you have agreed on the call. Always remember that if the debtor fails to follow through on their promises, they have to know there are consequences, which will impact the case. You need to ensure they know you are serious, and you will do what it takes to recover the debt.
No matter how robust your credit control processes you will always come across a bad debtor or late payer of some sort. As a credit professional you have to get to the heart of non-payment as quickly as possible. It is difficult juggling tasks, the need to recover a payment and maintaining a good relationship with your customer. It can take time and experience to deliver successfully time and time again. This is the main reason why more and more companies enlist the help of a third party like Darcey Quigley & Co.
To discuss any of these items in more detail or for free general credit management advice, then please give us a call on 01698 821 468 or email us at [email protected]