Techniques To Get The Most Out Of Your Debt Collectors

By Dean Kaplan+

Maximize your productivity

In the same way production lines maximize productivity in manufacturing, these tips can help you maximize productivity in your collection agency.

When you want to improve the job performance and satisfaction of your debt collectors, there are several strategies that appear to work.

Self-esteem

Nowadays, self-esteem is touted as essential to a person’s happiness and success. This is because everyone wants to feel important and valued. In the debt collections arena, improving self-esteem among collectors can lead to greater productivity and debt collection success. Here are some tips to help improve self-esteem:

• Ask your debt collectors for advice. Even if you feel you know the answer to your question, ask for their opinion. This makes the collectors feel that you value their input.
• Always use the collector’s name when you are talking to him or her. Make it a point to remember each collector’s name, and knowing some personal information about each person is even better.
• Steer clear of arguments. Discussing subjects is fine, arguing is not. When you argue, the person you are talking to might infer that you think he or she is wrong. When a person feels criticized, self-esteem goes down.
• Make it a point to “catch your collectors being good” occasionally. A compliment goes a long way to enhance self-esteem.
• Be a good listener. Don’t do all the talking. Let the other person talk and show interest in what he or she is saying.
• Keep collectors informed about all the information or issues that pertain to their jobs. Show them the same respect that you would like to be shown.
• Find a way to repeat a smart remark made by a collector to others. This will show your regard for the person and puts them in a good light with others. This does not mean you should show favoritism.

Teach your Collectors to Become Good Listeners

Many people are ill-equipped when it comes to good listening skills. Being a good listener enhances job performance because fewer mistakes are made due to misunderstood or lack of information. In addition, debt collectors do a better job on claims when they are listening carefully to customers and giving customers the impression that they care about what is being said. Below are some tips on improving listening skills:

• As soon as you pick up the phone to place your call, be ready to listen. Sit up straight and focus on the person you are speaking to.
• Avoid being distracted. Remove anything from your immediate vicinity that will take your attention away from the phone call you are on.
• Take detailed notes when you are working a claim. These notes will be invaluable when you are inputting your data into your debt collection software after the phone call has ended.

Planning

Teach your collectors how to plan each of their debt collection calls. By gathering all relevant information ahead of time, the collector will be well prepared for the phone call and will have greater collection success. Here are some advanced planning tips for collectors:

• Planning requires collecting facts and data. Collectors should have all contact information, invoices, payment history and guarantees at their fingertips before any phone call is made.
• Collectors should know the company’s credit policy inside and out. By understanding the internal credit-related “rules” enforced by the company, he or she will be able to talk knowledgeably with the customer about payment terms.
• Collectors should be knowledgeable about the current credit available to the customer and any issues relating to future sales or shipments that the customer should be told. If a credit stop has been initiated, this may help to motivate a slow or no-pay customer to get payments going again.

Ways to Keep your Collectors Motivated

Within any organization, employees must feel essential to the process. If employees do not feel needed and necessary, productivity and ultimately profitability will suffer. Here are some tips to keep collectors and employees in general, motivated:

• Keep your collectors informed. Take the time to tell collectors all the information they need to successfully do their job.
• Challenge your collectors. This will enable them to grow and evolve.
• Create a supportive work environment where collectors can feel proud of the job they are doing.
• Give collectors praise when they are doing a good job.

Debt collectors can contribute significantly to the profitability of a company. Use these tips to keep your collectors on task and motivated.

For information on debt collection strategies, check out our post on Basic Strategies To Promote Debt Collection Success.

Also be sure to check out our articles on understanding and measuring collection productivity.

The Kaplan Group is a boutique collection agency specializing in large (over $10,000) debt collections due from businesses. Founded in 1991, the company has a stellar reputation (A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau) and is recognized as one of the leading collection agencies for results on large and complex matters.

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